Our feline friends are an important part of our lives, providing constant love and joy. It is our job to provide the proper care so they can remain healthy and happy.
Vaccines protect animals from specific viral and bacterial infections. These diseases are deadly. The vaccine is not a treatment, but a preventative.
- Kittens should receive the combination 3-in-1 at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age. This protects against Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (sometimes called Distemper). After initial kitten vaccines, the vaccine is boosted one year later, then every three years for adult cats. Even indoor cats need to be protected, since these diseases are airborne, and your pet can be unknowingly exposed if you’ve come in contact with the virus.
- NYC law requires all cats older than 3 months to be vaccinated for Rabies. The rabies vaccine is usually given at 4 months of ago, at the time of the final FVRCP vaccine, and then needs to be boosted every year.
- Outdoor cats are also vaccinated against Feline Leukemia (FeLV). This immune system virus can be transmitted when one infected cat licks another, and is often deadly.
Female cats are spayed (ovariohysterectomy – removal of the ovaries and uterus) and males are castrated (removal of the testicles). In addition to preventing unwanted kittens, spaying females helps prevent breast cancer (in cats, this is fatal 90% of the time) and pyometra (an infected uterus), a life-threatening problem in older cats that must be treated with surgery and intensive medical care. Castration can prevent urine spraying, decrease the urge to escape outside, and reduce fighting. It also reduces future prostate and urinary infections. Spaying and castration can be done when the kitten weighs 2 pounds and should be done by 6 months of age.
It is a myth that spaying or neutering an animal will change their behavior. Surgery will not affect their behavior. Any variation in activity and playfulness is a result of age: as kittens mature into adult cats, they will become more sedentary naturally.
Both males and females can develop lower urinary tract inflammation. Signs of FLUTD are: frequent trips to the litter box, crying, bloody urine, and straining to urinate. If your male cat looks ” constipated”, he may have a urethral obstruction and cannot urinate. FLUTD can be fatal. Urethral blockages are rare in females, although about 5% of all cats are affected by FLUTD. Cats should get the majority of their calories and nutrition from wet (canned) food to help prevent lower urinary tract problems. Certain prescription diets can prevent this condition.
Healthy teeth and gums are an essential part of your cat’s overall health. Infected gums can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which can then travel through the bloodstream and attack the vital organs. Have your cat’s teeth professionally cleaned annually.
We recommend that you feed your cat a name brand canned cat food, such as Science Diet, Iams, Purina, etc. two to three times daily. Supermarket brand are often too rich for the average cat. They are higher in calories and fat than premium brands. Milk is not necessary and can cause diarrhea. Also avoid offering table scraps. Cats can become finicky eaters if they are given too many different foods.
Make sure you only give prescribed medicines to your cat. Check with your veterinarian if you’re unsure. Certain kids of medications are fatal to cats, including Tylenol and aspirin.
Scratching and Playing
Cats need to scratch. When a cat scratches it pulls off the old outer nail sheath and exposes the sharp smooth claw underneath. Buy or build a scratching post that is tall enough so they cat can stretch completely when scratching, and stable enough so that it won’t wobble when being used. Cats also like scratching pads. Praise your cat for using the post or pad; rub your hands on the scratching surface and gently rub your cat’s paws on the surface. When the cat starts to scratch the furniture or rug, gently say no, pick up the cat, and bring him over to the post. Also, purchase a cat dancer or similar toy; older cats can become sedentary and need encouragement to exercise and play.
Clean completely once or twice a week. Scoop out at least once daily. The litter box should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. Do not use deodorant or scented litters.