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Are you thinking of getting a new pet, perhaps a cat ? We adopted a new kitten last weekend and the thought occurred to me..do folks know how to pick the right cat for their family?Does the family know what to expect as they adopt this new furry friend?

If you are, starting off the right foot with the care for your feline friend is crucial for having a long-lived relationship.  So,  before you bring Morris or Felix home to stay, please take note of a few suggestions for raising a healthy cat.

In the USA alone there are over 95 million cats in cat households.  Whether the cat will be a single cat in a one pet household , a member of a multipet household, or even a barn cat, starting off on the right foot establishing good habits in important.

Firstly, when you aquire your new cat or kitten, brush it daily. Not only does this allow you to bond with your feline friend, it is helpful in reducing the potential for hairball ingestion, as well as minimize allergens emitted in the air, in addition to keeping your cat’s coat healthy! If you feed your cat while you brush him or her, this can associate the brushing with a “positive” experience!

Second, be conscious of what you feed your pet. Minimize the volume of dry food in your cat’s diet, as dry food is composed of plant originating carbohydrates which have been proven to cause obesity resulting in  Type 2 Diabetes in cats contribute to obesity in the less  active indoor cats. In addition,  unlike dogs, cats get a large portion of their daily water intake thru their diet, thus wet food increases the daily moisture intake , keeping your cat healthier longer. Especially, as cat’s age, appropriate water intake is critical to daily health.

Thirdly, be aware of your cat’s water intake. Watch and take note of your cat’s daily water consumption as well as urination.  As cats age, diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, and hyperthyroidism , all cause cats to drink excessive amounts of water, so the more conscious a pet owner is to their cat’s daily water intake and output , the quicker a diagnosis and treatment plan can be made.

Fourth, have plenty of litter boxes in your home. As a rule of thumb, cats require one box plus one additional per cat in the household. Put the boxes in easily accessible areas, for example upstairs and downstairs, so a cat is not going to be tempted to start bad habits such as urinating in inappropriate places in the home. Clean the litter daily as well, as be sure the box is not too high for an aging cat to get in an out of, as well as be aware that some of the clumping cat litter can adhere to cat’s paws and cause them to ingest large volumes of clay. Furthermore, dusty and scented litter can trigger allergies as well as asthma in some cats, so again, be aware of the types of boxes you have and the litter you put in them.

Fifth, don’t assume if your cat is urinating around the house it is “behavioral.”

Many male cats on high ash commercial diets are prone to a syndrome called Feline Urological Syndrome resulting in life threatening bladder infections and stones which can block the ability of a male cat to urinate which leads to renal failure and death. Thus, be sure your veterinarian does a complete exam on your cat as well as a urinealysis to rule out underlying disease before you “assume” the problem is behavioral.

Next, be sure you spay and neuter your pets. Unneutered cats tend to “spray” to mark their territory which can result in unnecessary odors in the home. In addition, they are more prone to cat fights resulting in more trips to the veterinarian. Female cats can be prone to developing breast cancer later in life if not spayed, in addition, can contribute to the pet overpopulation problem we have.

Finally, be cognisent of your pets exposure to disease and ask your veterinarian to taylor your pet’s vaccinations to what their individual needs are. For example, an indoor pet many require less vaccinations than say an outdoor pet, that is continually exposed to feral cats and wild animals.

Most of all, enjoy your new pet and best of luck with your new family member!

We look forward to seeing you!