Pets are so much more than ‘just animals’, they really are part of the family so ensuring their health and wellbeing throughout their life is of the utmost importance. When your pet relies on you for everything it needs, from nutrition to safety to medication it can be a lot to think about and consider. I know that for me, sometimes I can get quite over whelmed thinking about everything I need to do to keep them safe and healthy. Different pets will of course have different needs, and if like me you’re a cat owner here are some of the points to consider to give them the best life you can.
Get Pet Insurance
Cats are adventurous creatures, even house cats can get up to all kinds of mischief, mine are house cats and still manage to get into all kinds of trouble, most recently killing my plants by wanting to sleep in the pots. And along with general illness and disease (which cats can get just like humans) it’s important to make sure you’re financially protected. Vet visits, medication and even operations throughout your cat’s life can run into many thousands of pounds. If you know you don’t have that kind of cash to spare- and let’s face it, most of us don’t- then pet insurance is a must. Choose your policy carefully, don’t skimp by going for the cheapest one. Make sure they’re covered against everything, so that you don’t end up out of pocket later down the line if you need to make a claim.
Buy The Best Quality Food You Can Afford
Higher quality cat food will contain higher quality ingredients and will provide many health benefits for your cat. Cat food like orijen for example focuses on fresh ingredients, human grade meat and is high in protein, whereas cheaper brands will often be bulked up with all kinds of nasties. Things like cereals are often used which can cause allergic reactions and digestion problems in cats. A good quality cat food should be grain free- small amounts of fruit or vegetables can be useful in providing vitamins and minerals although it should be predominantly protein such as meat, fish and eggs. A cat that has been fed a good quality diet throughout its life will be happier with less health problems and be likely to live longer. I also try to make sure mine get some sort of fresh meat a few times a week, usually that means leaving them some chicken or bacon on the side of my plate and putting it in their bowl once I’m done eating. Doing it that way teaches them that if they are good and wait patiently rather than begging for food, they get a nice treat.
Provide Toys and Stimulation
Cats are independent by nature, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need stimulation and human companionship. Especially if your cat stays indoors, it’s easy for them to become bored which could lead to them becoming frustrated and destructive, resulting in them clawing you or your furniture. Not all cats will like playing with toys, and some will only bother with certain toys. But buy a selection and see what your cat enjoys, and make time to play with them. Keep them mentally occupied for a happy and content cat. Providing them with things like scratching posts to keep their nails sharp will prevent them from doing so on your furniture! Mine have a scratch post each as well as several mice toys and balls, though they never play with them and prefer stealing my deodorant lids.
Take Them For Regular Checkups
Taking cats for regular checkups, even if they seem perfectly healthy allows your vet to keep tabs on them and potentially spot problems early before they have chance to escalate. This could include things like ear and eye infections, their weight and their behaviour. You can’t necessarily tell that a cat is ill just from looking at them as they hide their pain well, and so going to the vet just gives you peace of mind and allows them to make sure everything is ok. Once or twice a year should be enough, although if you spot any changes in your pet’s health you should always take them to the vet immediately. This includes if they suddenly starting acting differently to how they usually are.
Make Sure They Are Regularly Groomed, Flead and Wormed
Some cats will require more grooming than others, fluffier breeds can be prone to knots and matting in their fur so it’s important to regularly brush them to keep their fur smooth and comfortable. My cats both have short fur so they more or less look after themselves but I still brush them maybe once a week just because they enjoy it. All cats will need to be wormed and given flea prevention treatments regularly. Go for an ‘all in one’ worming tablet that kills all types of worms, and a ‘one spot’ flea treatment. This literally involves putting one spot of the liquid onto the back of your cat’s neck with a pipette, and will kill fleas and ticks as well as prevent your cat from getting them in the first place. Lots of people do this by grabbing the cat and holding it down, causing it a lot of distress. Personally, I just keep it on hand and wait until one of my cats comes and sits with me for a fuss and then stroke them for a bit, put it on, and stroke them some more. Its so much less stressful for the cat and I don’t get scratched while doing it. Flea collars as an extra line of defence can also be useful.
Provide Your Cat With High Up Places To Sit
Cats love to be high up in a room, there are a number of reasons for this. Cats are descended from an animal called Proailurus which lived in the rainforest and climbed trees. Being high up is also considered as a high status to cats, and it also gives them a good observation of the room. In their history, cats were both hunters and prey animals at the same time and so prefer to have a clear scope of the area they are in. It also accounts for the fact that have a skittish nature despite the fact they are predatory animals. You can provide your cat with high up places to sit by having wall mounted shelves installed for them, or clearing space on top of high furniture for them to sit. My cats like sitting on the top of out doors so we make sure we have stools near each for for them to get up and down. We also have a sofa with a high back where they like to sit so we make sure not to put any throws or anything that might cause them to fall.
If you haven’t been doing some of these things for your cat, don’t worry! It doesn’t make you a bad person just because you didn’t know. Just try to incorporate this stuff into your cats life to keep them happy, safe and healthy!