Cat Care Mistakes for New Cat Parents
You got that adorable little kitten for Christmas. Cat lovers should avoid these basic cat care mistakes!
1. Do not let your cat roam free outside. Outdoor cats are subject many potential dangers.
-They can be hit by a car and suffer life threatening injuries.
-They can be attacked by other cats, coyotes, birds of prey or dogs.
-They can catch external parasites (fleas, ticks) and internal parasites (intestinal worms, heart worms, blood parasites).
-They can accidentally ingest poisons (rat bait) or rotten food that can make them very ill.
To eliminate these potential dangers, it is best to keep your cats indoors. Indoor cats can experience the same environmental enrichment by providing indoor cat trees/towers and toys. If your cat is already used to going outside, provide a secured outdoor area where you can watch and protect your cat from predators.
2. Do not overfeed your cat. Food is love, but don’t love your cat so much that you are overfeeding them. A pudgy cat can be very cuddly and adorable, but an overweight cat can develop serious metabolic diseases such as diabetes. Weight related arthritis can develop causing limited mobility and pain. Your cat can only gain weight if you overfeed. Your cat cannot open the food or treat bags, and cannot open the refrigerator and help themselves to goodies. You love your cat so let’s help them keep a healthy weight.
3. Do not ignore the litter box. Perfect litterbox management is essential. If you don’t clean the litterbox daily, your cat may pick another place in your home to urinate and defecate. A good rule of thumb is 2 litter boxes per cat in the household. This will give your cat a choice and will be less likely to have inappropriate elimination in your home. Scoop the litter every single day and replace the litterbox with clean litter at the end of the day. The litter box should be thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water often to remove odor. Remember, just as you enjoy a clean toilet, so does your cat.
4. Never medicate your cat without checking with your veterinarian. Cats are very sensitive to most medications. Never give medication labeled for your dog to your cat. Even over the counter flea/tick control labeled for your dog can be toxic to your cat. Of course, never give any human medication to your cat including, aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, Aleve, etc.
5. Do not ignore vaccines and heartworm prevention for your cat. All cats whether they are indoors or outdoors will need their vaccines. Even indoor cats will need heartworm prevention because mosquitos do come in the house. The mosquitos will take a blood meal from your cat, and your cat may get heartworm disease. Please check with your veterinarian for the appropriate vaccines and heartworm prevention for your cat.
Because you want the best for your cat, let’s be your cat’s advocate and make smart decisions for their care!