More Cat Care Information:

For any pet owner, providing a loving and comfortable environment is just one small way of returning the unconditional love and devotion our four-footed companions endlessly provide. For some of these faithful friends, as the years creep closer to old age, they can begin to show signs of achy joints and various level of discomfort associated with arthritis. Perhaps you have noticed that they are a little stiff after a nap, or that they appear to have some pain or stiffness in cold or damp weather. Whatever you have witnessed, seeing your loved one in pain breaks your heart and you simply want to provide some level of relief. Of course, your vet must be an integral part of any dog or cat's physical needs program. But in my quest to provide as much relief and comfort possible for my aging pals, I have found a few low tech tips that are particularly effective at providing relief.

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.

Just like in humans, one of the best forms of relief for joint pain is providing warmth. You may think this sounds non-sophisticated, but it works. It is particularly important to provide warmth to your pet's body during colder temperatures or on damp days. This type of weather can cause joints to become especially stiff or swollen. The heat works to relax muscles and their spasms which are caused by the pain. Relaxed muscles relieve stress on the joints and provide overall improved joint flexibility. The heat also allows blood vessels to expand increasing circulation to the affected areas. Although a hot water bottle can be used, this is a very temporary heat source, quickly dissipating and requires constant attention. The best way to provide continual warmth is through a heated dog bed or a heated cat bed. Once your pet begins to feel the soothing warmth on his sore and painful joints, his heated pet bed will became an oasis of relief. The heated pet bed will also give your dog or cat relief from sleeping on the hard surface of the floor which tends to only aggravates the arthritic condition. Arthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints and if your pet continues to sleep on floors that are hard and cold this could actually cause the arthritis to worsen. Lastly, the soothing warmth will have a calming effect on your pet and allow for a restful sleep.

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.

An essential part of the plan I have placed my aging pets on is nutritional supplements. Just like in humans, nutritional elements can affect the wellness of your pet's body and its ability to support joint health. The most common natural supplement recommended for the relief of arthritis in dogs and cats is glucosamine. Glucosamine is the primary glue that keeps connective tissue and bone together and may help alleviate joint pain and discomfort. It has also been reported to be useful in the prevention of arthritis. Additionally, Sea Cucumber and Shark Cartilage are both reported to be excellent sources of a host of minerals and protein that may supply the therapeutic protection for joints and the surrounding tissues our pet needs. I have given all three of these supplements to my arthritic pets and have found positive response and relief for my pets each time I have used them.

I believe one of my dog's favorite forms of relief from arthritis pain is slow and gentle massage. Slow and gentle massage is the only type of massage we should conduct ourselves. Anything more intense should be done by a professional or under instruction from your veterinarian. Massage not only provides a loving bond between you and your pet, but it loosens and relaxes the muscles which will tighten with the onset of pain. The blending of massage and a heated pet bed will definitely provide a winning combination.

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).
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