If you love cats, you want to have your cat healthy and happy as long as you can. To help prolong your cat’s lifespan, there are many simple things you can do every day.
Get your cat their shots. Diseases that cats often get are fatal, like upper respiratory disease and and feline leukemia. Since cats often wander all over, they have a great chance of catching illness from fellow cats or wild cats. Keep your cat always updated on shots to prevent undue illness that is easily fatal.
Keep toxic houseplants away from your cat’s reach. Since cats are naturally curious, they may choose your plants to dig and bury, or chew on plant leaves. Many plants are dangerous for cats, so keep them all out of reach.
Feed your cat higher quality food. Cat food alone is often not greatly nutritious, and to make cat food more healthy for your cat, add salmon oil to their food, and feed them cooked, lean chicken without seasoning and add it to their food.
Avoid giving your cat dairy products. Cats love dairy, and love milk, but it doesn’t digest well and can lead to diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration, which can lead to a vet visit and possible death. If giving your cat treats, stick to fresh cooked meats, like lean chicken or turkey, mixed with fresh water. Tuna fish is highly fatty and often too salty, so it is not healthy for your cat.
Keep that litter box clean! Your cat CAN get sick from a filthy litter box, and can get infections in their claws from a litter box that is unclean. If your cat has been ill, they can re-catch their illness from their own feces, and go through another bout of illness. Bleach out your cat’s litter box once a week to keep it fresh, and scoop out litter every day. Provide a clumpy litter that doesn’t create a lot of dust when poured or scratched at so your cat is not inhaling litter debris.
Keep fresh water available at all times. Refrain from using a self-watering dish, where water gets stagnant. Always rinse out your cat’s dish when you refill it, and don’t allow water to sit all day long. Pour yourself a glass of water but don’t drink it for 2 hours. Tastes like dirt, doesn’t it? Don’t make your cat drink old water.
If you allow your cat outdoors, have them wear a “breakaway” collar with your contact information on it. If your cat wanders off, someone finding them can contact you, and if your cat gets stuck in a tree or crevice, they won’t choke on their collar as it will release with them tugging on it. Our cat jumped out of the tree out front and nearly strangled as her collar got stuck on a small branch. She was literally hanging herself, and had we not been right there (she was jumping out into our arms), she may have died. Scary.
Have your indoor cat wear a collar as well, with a bell on it. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve stepped on our cat as she’s always underfoot. Now that we have a bell on her, we always know where she’s at, so we won’t squish her.
Cats love warm hiding places. Keep your dryer door shut and your cupboards closed. My sister’s cat once went a round in the dryer for about 5 minutes because she jumped in when my sister was changing loads and my sister didn’t see her. Luckily, my sister heard the yowling commotion and got to her cat in time. But cats often lose their lives getting stuck in heater and dryer vents, under homes, and locked inside cupboards.
Another reason to keep your cupboards closed? All the toxic items you keep under your sink and in your laundry room. Cats have extremely sensitive organs, particularly their kidneys, and even a single aspirin can be fatal to them.
Play with your cat for mental well-being and exercise. I recommend keeping your cat indoors (we only let our cat outside on a 15-foot leash under our supervision), but if your cat is not allowed outside they need to be played with often for exercise. Often having 2 cats settles this issue. In our case, the cat bothers the dog all day long, pouncing and biting and playing. A laser light or a ball work wonders in entertaining your cat.
Taking safety precautions, keeping your cat’s shots updated, and keeping their diet healthy and providing fresh water are just a few great ways to keep your cat with you for a long, healthy, happy time!