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Written by leading veterinarians to provide you with the information you need to care for your pets.

The Daily Vet by petMD

The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets.


The New Year is just around the corner. It’s a time for renewal and a time for re-examining our lives and resolving to make positive changes. So, here are some resolutions that you might consider on your cat’s behalf.


Periodic Regular Veterinary Visits


I know that taking your cat to the veterinarian may be a hassle. Still, it’s a necessary hassle. Even if your cat is not due for vaccination and even if you think your cat is perfectly healthy, these visits should still be considered mandatory for your cat.


Cats are masters of hiding symptoms of disease. Your cat could be in pain or sick and you might never even realize it. However, your veterinarian, with the aid of a thorough examination and probably also some routine lab testing, is trained to detect subtle signs and symptoms of disease that might not be readily visible, even to the most astute pet owner.


Your cat should receive an examination by your veterinarian at least once yearly. Middle-aged to older cats may need more frequent examinations and many veterinarians recommend visits every six months for cats in this age range.


Provide a Comfortable Carrier and Allow Your Cat to Acclimate to It


This may seem like a trivial matter but getting your cat used to being in his carrier can make veterinary visits much easier. It can also make the difference in being able to get your cat out of the house in the case of an emergency. This video, provided by CATalyst Council, offers tips for choosing a carrier and acclimating your cat to it.


Feed the Right Diet


The old adage “you are what you eat” is, in some respects, accurate. A quality diet is one of the most important factors in keeping your cat healthy. Remember that your cat’s nutritional needs change over time. The diet you fed your cat when he was a kitten will no longer be appropriate when he is a senior.


There are literally hundreds, maybe even thousands of choices when it comes to cat food. I can’t tell you which food or even which brand is best for your cat. There are many different factors involved in making that choice. However, remember that flavor is not necessarily the best way to choose a food. Texture and smell are actually much stronger motivators for your cat than is taste.


If you are in doubt about what type of food your cat should be eating, discuss the topic with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian is the person most familiar with your pet’s individual nutritional needs and can help you choose an appropriate diet.


Provide Plenty of Exercise and Enrichment for Your Cat


Living indoors is the safest lifestyle for your cat. But indoor life can also create boredom and inactivity. Combat that by providing plenty of toys for your cat and spend ample time playing with your friend. Your cat will remain fit and avoid obesity. At the same time, you’ll be deepening the bond between you and your cat. Don’t forget to provide plenty of perches where your cat can survey his surroundings as well as scratching surfaces where he can sharpen his claws, mark his territory, and stretch his muscles.


Protect Your Cat from Parasites


Fleas, ticks, roundworms, hookworms, heartworms…all of these are parasites which can infect your cat. Even indoor cats are not immune to most of these parasites. Fortunately, there are a number of safe effective medications that can protect your cat from these pests. Check with your veterinarian to determine which is best for your cat. Don’t forget to have your cat’s feces checked periodically as well for intestinal parasites.


Keep Your Cat’s Mouth Healthy


An estimated 85% of cats three years and older have dental disease. That’s a staggering number. And dental disease is, in many cases, a preventable condition. For some cats, brushing is a possibility. For those that don’t allow brushing, there are other alternatives that can help, such as dental chews, specially formulated foods, and oral gels and rinses. Look for the VOHC seal on these products and consult with your veterinarian about how best to care for your cat’s teeth.


These are a few of the resolutions that you can make that will improve the overall quality of your cat’s life and keep your feline friend happy and healthy longer. What resolutions will you be making for your cat?


Dr. Lorie Huston


Image: Hannamariah / Shutterstock


Comments  1

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  • Caring for Fluffy
    12/31/2013 06:21pm

    To the Site Admin: Yesterday the website refused to let me post. Every time I attempted to click on "Post Comment" it took me back to the login screen even though I was already logged in. Today I was able to post on Fully Vetted, but the Daily Vet is not.

    I'll try a third time.

    My Fluffies get a full checkup every 4th month which includes a thorough exam, a full blood panel and blood pressure. I don't hesitate if the doctor suggests a dental. (caring for their teeth at home isn't an option)

    My Owen has HOCM and has a cardio checkup about every 9 months with a board-certified cardiologist. In January, he'll have his cardio checkup as well as an ultrasound with a radiologist. I don't remember which blog post it was, but it was about kitties and vomiting. Owen is kind of a "barfy" kitty so we want to see if he has anything going on in his tummy that we can alleviate. The checkups are back-to-back so Owen will have a rough afternoon and I'll have an expensive one, but it'll be worth it.

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