At first glance, your cat may seem fine. They polish off every meal, play with their toys and act like their usual, pleasant self. But cats are masters of deception, and your fur baby might be in more discomfort than they want you to believe. Don’t wait until warning signs arise—take the initiative by incorporating preventative health measures for every part of their body.
Here are some basic tips for promoting full-body wellness in cats.
Keep your cat mentally sharp by incorporating daily play time. Purchase toys that stimulate their natural hunting instincts like catnip-scented mice and bright ribbons that dangle from a wand. Anything that makes noise is a great option, as are motion-sensor toys that come alive when kitties walk past.
Cats love a challenge, so make them work for their food! Foraging engages a cat’s brain and delays the progression of cognitive decline. Encourage your kitty to forage by filling puzzle toys with treats. These products dispel boredom and reward cats for their hard work. Owners can also try splitting the cat’s meal into several food bowls and placing them around the home.
Healthy skin and coat
Regular brushing is a crucial step for skin and coat health. Brushing evenly distributes natural oils to rehydrate dry fur and eliminate flaky skin. Grooming tools remove dead hair, which can further avoid itchiness, avoid mats and give their coat a more polished look.
Pet parents should also consider giving their feline friends a daily skin and coat supplement. They’re a great source of essential fatty acids derived from cold water fish. Fatty acids contain anti-inflammatory properties that calm itching and redness. This key ingredient also restores a shiny, luscious appearance to your cat’s fur.
Mobility and joint health
The best way to avoid arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases is through weight management. Excessive weight puts unnecessary stress on the joints, causing them to weaken over time. Keep your kitty’s weight under control by feeding them a healthy diet with the right portion sizes. Make sure your cat gets daily exercise to balance calories in with calories out.
In addition to managing their weight, exercise comes with other benefits for your cat’s joint health. All that running, jumping and playing increases flexibility. Joints that are more flexible have a reduced risk of injury. Healthy joints are made up of stronger tissues that are better protected against degenerative diseases.
Heartworms are a common parasite among cats and severely hamper their heart health. As the name suggests, these parasites dwell in the cat’s heart as well as their lungs. Heartworm disease that isn’t detected soon enough can become fatal. Cat owners should put their feline friends on a monthly heartworm medication to avoid this deadly infection.
As strange as it may sound, clean teeth also play a huge role in maintaining a healthy heart. The bacteria from dental disease can spread to major organs in your cat’s body. Reduce the risk of dental health problems with treats and food that mechanically remove plaque buildup. Don’t forget to schedule annual cleanings, too!
Good digestive health
A probiotic supplement is the key to proper gut health in cats. They’re packed with “friendly” bacteria that counteract the bad kind in your cat’s gut microbiome. A balanced microbiome minimizes digestive problems like constipation, diarrhea and tummy aches.
Proper hydration is also essential for combatting constipation. Unfortunately, encouraging a kitty to drink is difficult. Their ancestors lived in the desert where they adapted to the scarce water supply. Owners can add water to their cat’s diet by feeding them wet food. Additionally, cats are more inclined to drink from running fountains that supply fresh, filtered water.
Paw and nail care
Whether your kitty roams outside or not, every cat owner should wipe off their paws on a daily basis. A clean, damp cloth can remove dirt and toxic substances lurking in the home. Cats may become ill if they lick a cleaning solution or laundry detergent off their paw pads. Also, be sure to remove debris such as litter because this can cause discomfort.
If your cat will allow it, trim their nails once every few weeks. Cats are good at sharpening their nails on scratching posts, but owners are responsible for keeping them at a manageable length. Nails that grow too long can break off, causing your kitty pain every time they walk. Owners with finicky felines can enlist the help of a professional groomer.
Pet parents have to consider many different aspects of their cat’s mental and physical health. This may sound daunting, but it all comes down to a healthy diet, grooming habits and plenty of play time. Regular checkups with a vet provide valuable insight about other ways to keep your feline happy and healthy.