5 Ways to Help Your Cat Stay Disease Free

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How to Ward Off Dangerous Diseases

Your cat may be your steady companion for the next 20 years, if you’re lucky. Follow these steps conscientiously and you can ensure that she stays healthy and happy for all of her nine lives.

1. Visit Your Vet Regularly

Annual checkups are probably the best way you can help your cat fend off unwanted illnesses. These exams will allow your veterinarian to more easily spot problems at their earliest stages, when they can often be handled simply and cost effectively. It's also important to note that cats age much faster than us, so missing even one yearly appointment could be like you not visiting the doctor for over 5 years! Regular veterinary checkups become even more important as your cat ages. In fact, the American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends senior cats get a veterinary exam every 6 months.

2. Buy Quality Cat Food

Nutrition is vital to the health and wellbeing of a cat. That's why you should settle for nothing less than the best cat food for your cat. Not sure which cat food is the best? Consult your veterinarian to choose a high quality, complete and balanced food that meets your cat's specific life stage and health needs. Quality cat foods are often specifically formulated with antioxidants and fatty acids to help boost your cat's immune system.

Read here for more tips on choosing the best cat food.

3. Use Treats Wisely

If used correctly, treats can be a great asset. However, it's best to only provide healthy treats and to keep them in moderation when compared to the rest of your cat's diet. According to Dr. T.J. Dunn, Jr., "Treats should not make up more than 10% of your cat’s daily diet because they are not balanced." Too many treats may mean your cat gets too much of something (typically calories) and too little of the essential vitamins and minerals she needs.

4. Play Games and Exercise with Your Cat Regularly

According to the Association for Pet Obesity and Prevention, more than half of our cats are either overweight or obese, which can lead to a host of health issues, including arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. Promote healthy living by spending at least 20-30 minutes a couple of times a day exercising or playing interactive games with your cat. It will not only help your cat reduce stress but also keep your cat's mind and body stimulated and fit.

There are many types of toys available, so experiment and find out what type of toy your cat likes best. Some cats prefer toys with feathers that mimic a bird, while others prefer those that more closely resemble a mouse or small rodent. Laser pointers can be entertaining for some cats as well.

5. Create a Stress-Free Environment for Your Cat

Cats are just as susceptible to stress and anxiety as we are. Even worse, stress can affect your cat’s health negatively, manifesting itself in a variety of ways, including illnesses like cystitis and inappropriate elimination. Doing the little things around your home like cleaning litter boxes regularly and providing plenty of perches and scratching posts, as well as an ample supply of water (sometimes in the form of a water fountain), can do wonders to reduce your cat's stress.

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