An ounce of prevention for a long life together
Proper nutrition, vaccinations, disease screenings and dental cleanings are all vital.
Proper nutrition, vaccinations, disease screenings and dental cleanings are all vital to ensuring good health and longevity—routine preventive care is key to a better quality of life overall!
A complete, balanced diet is important in all stages of life and will provide all the daily requirements of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your cat needs to help keep fit and healthy. Store-bought brands that are AAFCO-approved (Association of American Feed Control Officials) will give your cats what they need. But if you’re unsure about the type of food to choose, ask your veterinarian for guidance.
Because kittens are very susceptible to contagious diseases and parasites, preventive practices need to begin in the first year of life. Have kittens tested and treated for worms and protozoa that invade the intestinal tract. Left untreated, these invaders can cause anemia and even death. And because it can take several weeks after infection for symptoms to appear, multiple fecal tests are encouraged within the first 16 weeks of your cat’s life to help detect illness in the earliest stages.
Continued parasite prevention in adulthood is important to help avoid diseases transmitted by fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Mosquitoes transmit heartworms, ticks carry infectious organisms that cause Lyme disease and Ehrlichia, and fleas can carry hemobartonella, a blood parasite that causes anemia in cats.
Schedule any needed vaccinations to help protect your cat from contagious disease. For kittens, this begins at around 6 weeks old—when they lose the maternal antibodies that had helped keep them healthy since birth—and should be boostered every few weeks, until they are 3 – 4 months old. For adult cats, vaccinations need to be boostered every one to three years depending on the specific disease risk in your area. Your vet can help determine the necessary schedule for your adult cat.
Catching a problem before there are any obvious symptoms can greatly improve the prognosis: Symptoms mean there is damage already being done to the body. Early detection of illness and diseases starts with regular wellness examinations, and some veterinarians will recommend twice-yearly visits for these check-ups. During these visits, your vet may perform tests for early organ dysfunction or metabolic disorders like diabetes, thyroid disease, or Cushing’s disease. Older cats will have their blood pressure checked and may have an ECG performed or an X-ray taken if a heart murmur is detected. And be sure to alert the vet to any changes in your cat’s eating, drinking, bowel movements or activity levels at any time between visits.
Perform consistent dental care to help protect your cat’s teeth and greatly reduce the risk of infection from the oral cavity into the heart and major organ systems, too. In addition to regular teeth brushing, your cat should have a professional dental cleaning, which uses ultrasonic scaling and high-speed polishing to remove the bacteria and tartar that can lead to infection, pain, and tooth loss.