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Tips On How To Be A Great Cat Owner
January 15, 2024

Did you know that there are almost 60 million pet cats in America? It’s not hard to see why kitties are such popular pets. You won’t need to walk or train Fluffy, and she’ll handle her own grooming needs. Plus, most kitties spend most of their time sleeping. Talk about an easy keeper! However, our feline overlords do need more than fresh water and kibble to stay happy and healthy. In this article by a local Bellevue, WA vet, you’ll read some ‘purrfect’ advice on how to be a great cat owner. (Maybe ‘servant’ is more accurate.) 

Give Your Cat Quality Food

Feeding a kitty isn’t rocket science, but there are some things to consider. Fluffy’s diet should be based on her age, health, and lifestyle. You will also have a few decisions to make, such as whether to feed your cat wet food or kibble and whether to free-feed Fluffy or give her her meals at certain times. Consult your vet for specific advice.

The trickiest part here may very well be choosing the right brand. Companies have got advertising gimmicks down to a science these days, and many employ slick tactics to make their products look great … even when they aren’t. 

We’d recommend that you read labels carefully. As with human products, pet food manufacturers are required to label their products in certain ways. The first ingredient listed on the label represents the largest proportion of the recipe, so meat, fish, or poultry should appear first on the label. Avoid brands with long ingredient lists that look like science projects. 

It’s also important to make changes slowly. If you change brands too quickly, you might upset your pet’s furry belly.

Fluffy also needs fresh water. You may want to get your cat a drinking fountain: many cats prefer to drink running water. Ask your Bellevue, WA veterinarian for specific advice. 

Make Your Home Safe By Petproofing

Our feline pals do not actually have nine lives, though some of them seem to have missed that memo. (It’s probably safe to say that this myth comes from Fluffy’s penchant for getting into mischief—and sometimes narrowly avoiding it.)

The two most important things you can do to keep Fluffy safe are to keep her inside (more on that later) and do some basic petproofing. This means removing or securing anything that isn’t safe for her. The list of things to address includes things like beads, buttons, safety pins, jewelry, small toy parts, plastic bags and ties, ropy or stringy items, and toxic plants.

The use of chemicals and medications is another area of concern. Poisonings are one of the most common causes of household pet deaths.

Here is a list of things that are toxic to kitties: 

  • Cleaning agents
  • Paint
  • Drain openers
  • Detergents
  • Automotive products, especially antifreeze
  • Cleaning agents
  • Paint
  • Fertilizer
  • Pesticides
  • Rodenticides
  • Bug Spray
  • Medicines, whether prescription or OTC

Ask your Bellevue, WA veterinarian for more information. 

Stay Current With Your Cat’s Veterinary Care

Kitties are quite independent, but in reality, they aren’t nearly as invincible as they think. These little furballs are quite small and prone to injury!

We recommend all kitties be microchipped and spayed or neutered. This ideally should be done when Fluffy is still a kitten. However, the procedures can also be done safely on adult cats.

You can protect your furry pal from a wide range of diseases and parasites simply by keeping up with proper wellness care. For kitties under a year old, the recommended core vaccines are (FCV) feline calicivirus; (FHV-1) feline herpesvirus-1; (FPV) feline panleukopenia; and (FeLV) feline leukemia. Your furry pal may also benefit from non-core vaccines, like (FeLV) for cats over one-year-old, Chlamydia felis, and Bordetella bronchiseptica. 

You will also need to keep Fluffy parasite-free, even if she is an indoor cat. Parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes can definitely invade your home! You have many options as far as products, so talk to your Bellevue, WA vet to see what is right for you and your feline friend.

In between visits, keep an eye out for signs of sickness. The signs of illness in cats can be quite subtle, so it’s important to pay close attention. 

  • Poor Grooming
  • Withdrawal
  • Reduced Appetite
  • Litterbox Avoidance
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Discharge
  • Grumpiness
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Disorientation
  • Uncharacteristic Behavior Or Vocalizations

Contact your veterinarian as soon as you notice anything amiss. The sooner an issue is diagnosed and treated, the better!

Keep Fluffy Safe And Sound Indoors

Fluffy may like fun kitty activities like chasing mice and making paw art on your windshield, but she’s much safer indoors. Your furry little adventurer will be exposed to a wide range of hazards as soon as she goes outside. A few examples include cars, weather, chemicals, stray cats, predators, parasites, and, unfortunately, some people.

Grounding your pet will also help protect the local wildlife. As it turns out, cats are, well, cute little serial killers. Fluffy kills many types of animals, including several threatened species!

Make Your Home Cat-Friendly

No matter how big your house is, you’ll want to take a few steps to make it purrfect for Fluffy. Kitties are quite versatile when it comes to living quarters: they can be equally at home in a tiny room as in a huge mansion.

First, add some cat furniture. A good scratching post or board is a must! Fluffy will also appreciate a cat tower, which is both a scratching post and a lookout point. Fortunately for us, kitties aren’t particularly picky here: they also enjoy plain boxes. 

To keep Fluffy entertained, give her things to explore and vantage points in your home. If you want to go all-out, build your pet a catio or even an enclosure!  Birdwatching is one of Fluffy’s favorite activities. A comfy window seat can keep a cat occupied for hours.

Offer Your Cat Enrichment

Just like people, kitties need enrichment and entertainment. Because they are hunters by nature, our feline friends often play by mimicking the behaviors and skills that would help them score their dinners in the wild. It’s fun to watch Fluffy pouncing and chasing after things! Indulge your pet’s inner tigress.  Provide your furry little lion with a variety of toys, and play with her every day.

Buying kitty toys isn’t rocket science, but keep in mind that each cat has his or her own tastes. Some kitties prefer wand toys, some prefer batting at catnip mice, and some want to chase that little red dot from a laser pointer. There are also some kitties who like to play hockey with ice cubes or bottle caps. Try a few things, and see what Fluffy likes. If you have more than one pet, offer a variety of options. Your kitties may have completely different preferences and play styles, so be sure to offer something for everyone.

Make Your Cat Feel Loved

Finally, keep that motor going! Fluffy needs to feel loved and safe in order to thrive! Spend time with her every day. Many kitties are lap cats, who like to sit on our laps while we read or watch TV. Indulge these adorable requests for snuggle time. 

As your Bellevue, WA pet hospital, we are dedicated to providing great service and purrfect care. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have questions about cat care!