Cats are pretty self sufficient. If you are lucky, you probably have a fairly low maintenance pet. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t need regular veterinary care. This includes check ups, dental check ups and annual shots.
Finding a Great Vet
This isn’t always easy to do. Many veterinary offices can be overcrowded and understaffed. Make sure to find a great vet who will take the time to listen to any special needs that your cat has.
If you have visited a vet and weren’t sure that your cat got the best care, ask your friends for a recommendation. Many times, this can be a great way to find the best care for your cat.
The Vet’s office should be clean and sanitary. Their policies should include keeping dogs who are patients in the waiting room securely leashed so that they can not harm (intentionally or not) any other patients.
The first thing you should invest in is a great cat carrier. If you do not have one, take a look at www.petsmart.com. You should find a great variety at good prices.
It is extremely important to have a secure and comfortable carrier for you cat. Remember that he will be under stress when taken to the Vet. Make sure that your cat can not get out of the carrier and get loose, or worse yet, run in to traffic.
You may want to try a Purr Pad, also available at pet stores, or at www.petco.com. They are inexpensive pads that cats just love to snuggle up on. You can line you cat’s carrier with one and help him feel cozy and secure.
Talk to your cat while you are driving to the Vet’s office. He will feel more secure hearing your voice, especially if he can not see you.
Also, make sure to secure the carrier in your car. You can put the carrier in the back seat, away from air bags, and run the seat belt around it. This way, if you have to stop short, Kitty won’t get hurt and neither will you.
Regular Check Ups
Once you have found a great vet, you will want to bring your cat in for a check up. This is important to do annually. Even if your cat is a house cat and doesn’t go outside, you should have her checked by a Vet regularly.
The Vet will give your cat a thorough examination. This many not be high on Kitty’s list of things to do, but it is important. The Vet will poke and prod your cat to make sure that there are no unusual growths or blockages. The Vet will also take your cat’s temperature. This may not go over well. But it is for your cat’s good health.
Depending on the age of your cat, the Vet may want to take some blood for tests. It is also a good idea to have this done every so often, according to the Vet’s instructions, to have a baseline of what is normal for you cat. Once your cat starts to get older, you should have it done more often. This may show any potential problems before they can cause stress to your cat’s health.
Annual Shots and Vaccinations
Your cat will need to have its yearly shots and vaccinations, such as Rabies, Distemper and more. Ask you Vet if there are any side effects that you should be aware of after your cat has these shots.
If your cat is an indoor cat, some of these shots may not be absolutely necessary. Again, be sure to discuss this with your Vet and follow his or her advice.
Dental Care for Cats
Dental care for cats? Yes! It is important for your cat’s health to have her teeth checked often. In fact, she will probably have to have them cleaned at least once in her life time.
The Vet will check your cat’s mouth for any unusual odors or discoloration and try to spot and cavities or holes in the teeth. Your Vet may want you to try to brush Kitty’s teeth. Follow the directions given to you by your Vet.
When your cat needs to have her teeth cleaned, she will have to spend the day at the Vet’s office. Unfortunately, cats will not ‘open wide’ for the vet. They have to be anesthetized for this procedure.
Make sure to follow your Veterinarian’s advice for pre-surgery. You probably won’t be able to feed your cat for several hours before the procedure. Also, be sure to have some time to spend at home with your cat when she is finished at the vet. Your cat will probably want to sleep off the anesthesia, but you should be close at hand, to make sure she does not stumble down any stairs or try to jump up on something.
Cat Health Insurance
Health insurance is now available for cats. If you have an older cat, you may want to seriously consider this option. If your cat gets a serious illness, it can easily cost several thousand dollars for treatment.
You can go to www.petinsurance.com for some more information. Make sure that you understand any deductibles that may apply and that you understand exactly what is covered and what is not. I am not endorsing this insurance, just providing the link for some information.
There may be a fee structure that the insurance carrier covers. In other words, they may allow $100, for example, for a dental procedure, but your Veterinary office charges $200. They may then only pay a percentage of the $100 and that may also be subject to a deductible. There may also be annual limits to how much they will pay. Make sure that you understand exactly how the policy will work before you buy it.
Look for Unusual Behavior in Your Cat
Always keep your eyes open for unusual behavior in your cat. Is she scratching, or does she have skin irritation? That could be a sign of fleas, ticks or more serious problems. Make sure to alert your Vet.
Unfortunately, cats can not speak to us directly. They have to tell us things are not right in their own way. One way they may do this is my eliminating in places other than the litter box. If your cat does this, try to figure out if anything might be wrong. If it happens on a regular basis, a visit to your Vet is in order. You may also want to bring a sample.
Good Health and Long Life for your Cat
Pets can be our best friends and companions. They offer unconditional love and forgive us of all our human qualities. Aren’t they worth a little extra care and attention? Making sure that your cat has excellent health care will help her to live a long and happy life.