Cat Maintenance

More Cat Care Information:

Here are some diseases that you should watch for and their symptoms.

General Cat Care #1: Before You Bring Your Cat Home
You will need food, food dish, water bowl, interactive toys, brush, comb, safety cat collar, scratching post, litter and litter box.
General Cat Care #2: Feeding
An adult cat should be fed one large or two smaller meals each day. Kittens from 6 to 12 weeks need to be fed four times a day. Kittens from three to six months need to be fed three times a day. You can either feed specific meals, throwing away any leftover canned food after 30 minutes or free-feed dry food (keeping food out all the time).

Feed your cat a high-quality, brand-name kitten or cat food (avoid generic brands) two to three times a day. Kittens can be fed human baby food for a short time if they won’t eat kitten food softened by soaking in warm water. Use turkey or chicken baby food made for children six months and older. Gradually mix with cat food. Cow’s milk is not necessary and can cause diarrhea in kittens and cats. Provide fresh, clean water at all times. Wash and refill water bowls daily.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is the disease most feared, and in fact, is the leading cause of death in cats. It is caused by a coronavirus infection and the worst is that the symptoms are very common with other ailments, so it's really hard to tell.

There is also Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) which is similar to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). Like the human version, is a life long infection that moves slowly and can kill the cat.

Cats can also be infected with Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV). FeLV is a retrovirus that causes terminal cancerous and noncancerous diseases. Fortunately, you can try using detergent and bleach, as well as warmth and drying to cure the virus. The virus is spread by saliva, tears, urine and feces of an infected cat. Unlike the other two diseases, it will not live that long in the environment and it is contagious only when the infected cat stays with another cat for a long period of time.

General Cat Care #3: Grooming
Most cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath, but they do need to be brushed or combed. Frequent brushing helps keep your cat’s coat clean, reduces the amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs
General Cat Care #4: Handling
To pick up your cat, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck (behind the ears) or by the front legs without supporting the rear end.
General Cat Care #5: Housing
Cats should have a clean, dry place of their own in the house. Line your cat’s bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Please keep your cat indoors. If your companion animal is allowed outside, he can contract diseases, get ticks or parasites, become lost or get hit by a car, hurt in a fight or poisoned. Also, cats prey on wildlife.

Worms are also another problem to cats and this is caused by a fungus infection that is spread by spores. Because it is self-limiting illness, you don't need to do anything to make it disappear. It will eventually go away, but it may take a few months.

If your cat is overweight, it probably already has feline diabetes. The symptoms of this disease include excessive urination and thirst plus noticeable weight gain or loss. Vets are not sure what causes this, but there have been some scientific studies that have shown a connection between pancreatic disease, hormonal imbalance and certain medications.

The symptoms of most of these diseases are very similar. These include diarrhea, vomiting, lameness in one leg lasting for longer than 5 days. Also decreased vision, excessive panting, a seizure, blood in the stool or urine, hair loss, and persistent coughing or gagging. To find the proper answer, your cat needs to see a vet to be tested.

Your veterinarian will sample blood, urine and feces. Any input from your observations will also help. When results of the tests are finalized, proper treatment can begin. Keep in mind that each case varies, and what works for one cat may not work for another.

Your cat can remain healthy if given constant attention. This can be done by feeding him high quality food and providing fresh water. In addition, your cat needs proper exercise, grooming, and make sure your pet stays indoors. And importantly, regular visits to the vet.

General Cat Care #6: Identification
If allowed outdoors (again, we caution against it!), your cat needs to wear a safety collar and an ID tag. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. An ID tag or an implanted microchip can help insure that your cat is returned if he or she becomes lost.
General Cat Care #7: Litter Box
All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. A bathroom or utility room is a good place for your cat’s box. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary. Then do so slowly, a few inches a day. Cats won’t use a messy, SMELLY litter box. Scoop solids out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent (don’t use ammonia) and refill at least once a week, less frequently if using clumping litter. Don’t use deodorants or scents in the litter or litter box (especially avoid lemon scent).
Updated: February 24, 2017 — 5:40 pm

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