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Being A Great Cat Owner: Tips From A Burnsville, MN Veterinarian

February 1, 2024

Our feline pals are America’s second-most popular pet, and it’s easy to see why. Keeping a cat happy and healthy is pretty easy. You won’t have to walk Fluffy or train her, and she’ll take care of her own grooming needs. Most of our feline pals also spend a ridiculous amount of time sleeping, which also helps make them easy keepers. However, your kitty will require more than just water and kibble. Here’s some advice from a local Burnsville, MN vet on how to be a great cat owner.

Feed Your Cat A Good Diet

Fluffy’s dietary needs should be determined by her age, health, and lifestyle. Kittens and seniors have quite different nutritional requirements! There are also a few purrsonal choices for you to make. For instance, you’ll need to decide whether to feed your cat wet food or dry food, and whether to free feed her or give her meals at specific times. Ask your veterinarian for specific advice.

The trickiest part might be choosing the right brand. Many companies employ slick tactics to advertise their products. For instance, something that says ‘chicken flavor’ may only be required to have a small amount of chicken. Read labels carefully. This may seem confusing at first, but there are a few key things to remember here. The rules for listing ingredients are similar to those for human products. Pet food manufacturers must label their products in certain ways. The first ingredient listed is the one that comprises the highest percentage of the recipe. Meat, fish, or poultry should appear at the top of the label, and more often than other ingredients. Avoid brands that have long ingredient lists that look like science projects. 

It is also important to provide your pet with fresh water. You may want to consider getting your furball a drinking fountain. Many kitties  prefer to drink water that is running.

Keep Your Feline Pal Entertained

Kitties need entertainment and enrichment to stay happy, just like people. Keep your cat amused by providing a variety of toys, and playing with her every day. Don’t think of this as a chore: it should be fun! It’s always cute to see Fluffy pouncing on and chasing things around the house.  

It is important to remember that cats have different tastes. Some prefer wand toys, some prefer catnip mice, some like to chase laser dots, and some just love playing ‘pawkey’ with ice cubes or bottle caps. Experiment a bit, and find out what Fluffy likes. If you have more than one  kitty, provide a variety, so there’s something for everyone.

Visit Your Burnsville, Mn Veterinary Clinic Regularly

Our feline overlords aren’t nearly as invincible as they believe. These little furballs are actually quite small and fragile.

We recommend that all kitties be microchipped and spayed or neutered. This ideally should happen while they are still young, although adult cats can also undergo these procedures safely.

The importance of wellness care cannot be overstated. Vaccinations can help protect your pet from many dangerous parasites and diseases. The core vaccines for Fluffy include rabies, (FCV), feline calicivirus, (FHV-1) feline herpesvirus-1, (FPV) feline panleukopenia, and (FeLV) feline leukemia for kittens under one year old. There are also non-core vaccines which your vet may recommend. These include (FeLV) for cats over one year old), Chlamydia felis, and Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccines.

Keeping Fluffy parasite-free is also important, even for indoor cats. Parasites like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes can and do get inside. Many carry dangerous diseases, which can affect both people and pets. There are a wide range of products available, so consult your Burnsville, MN veterinarian to find out what is best for you and your furry pal.

Watch For Signs Of Sickness

Keep an eye out for signs of sickness. Kitties can be tricky in this regard, as they usually hide signs of illness … sometimes until their conditions have become quite severe. 

Here are some things for you to watch for:

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

If you notice anything amiss, contact your Burnsville, MN animal hospital immediately. The sooner an issue is diagnosed and treated, the better.

Make Your Home Cat-Safe By Petproofing

Kitties are very playful and mischievous, and they’ll get into anything and everything they can reach. In order to keep Fluffy safe, you need to remove or secure anything that is not safe for her.  That includes anything small or sharp, like beads, buttons, safety pins, jewelry, and small toy parts, plastic bags, ties, ropes, or stringy things, and toxic plants. (You can find a full list of safe and unsafe plants here.)

Be careful with toxins as well. Poisonings are one of the most common reasons for emergency visits and one of the leading causes of pet death.

Some of the dangerous ones include:

  • Fertilizer
  • Pesticides
  • PaintCleaning agents
  • Automotive products
  • Rodenticides
  • Bug Spray
  • Medicines, whether prescription or OTC
  • Drain openers
  • Detergents

Kitties only need to walk through a puddle of chemical cleaner or get a little spilled on their fur to be in trouble: they can ingest it when they try to clean themselves.

Don’t Let Your Cat Go Outside

Cats are bold and adventurous, and they often enjoy going outdoors. However, you’ll need to restrict their explorations once they go outside. Fluffy will be exposed to a wide range of hazards the moment she steps outside. That list includes cars, weather, chemicals, stray cats, predators, parasites, and, unfortunately, some people.

Grounding your pet will also help protect the local wildlife. Fluffy has been proven guilty of killing a variety of animals, including several threatened species. 

Make Your Home A Kitty Palace

It’s pretty easy to make your home cat-friendly. First, add some cat furniture. A good scratching post or board is a must! Fluffy will also appreciate a cat tower, which provides a scratching post and a vantage point. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg here: there are lots of great options for DIY pieces.

You’ll also need to offer your furry pal vantage points and things to explore. A comfortable window seat can keep a kitty occupied for hours. Fluffy loves to watch birds and squirrels. You can even add a catio. 

Make Sure Your Kitty Feels Loved

We may poke fun of Fluffy for being cold and aloof, but the truth is our feline pals are very emotional, and really crave affection and attention from their humans. Many kitties are lap cats, who love curling up on their humans while we’re reading or watching TV. Even more aloof cats often like to  hang out with their people.

Pay attention to your cute pet! Play with her, interact with her, and let her curl up with you at night. Talking to your feline pal can also help a lot. Some cats will talk back, while others will just listen. The important thing is that Fluffy will know that you are trying to communicate with her.

Do you have questions about your kitty’s health or care? Is your pet due for an exam? Contact us, your local Burnsville, MN pet hospital, anytime if you have questions about cat care!

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