6 Tips for a Healthy and Happy Cat
With 8 million cats living in the UK and 17 percent of households owning a feline friend, cats are the second most popular pet in the country. It’s not just about ownership, however – as we all know, just like any other pet, a kitten also comes with emotional and physical needs. Whether you’re considering sharing your home with a cat or you are already an owner, looking for ideas to help you give the best life to your furry friend, we are here to help. Let’s take a look at six tips for a healthy and happy cat!
- A Balanced Diet
Providing your pet with a nutritious and healthy diet come with a lot more factors and dilemmas than just deciding on dry or wet food at the supermarket. Age-appropriate food is, for example, a key to good health: from junior to senior age, your pet’s teeth, digestive and hormonal system and general preferences are all important details in choosing the best diet for them. You also have to look at the consistency of the food: wet, semidry and dry types are all available on the market, however, dry foods generally contain more carbs, and therefore they might not suit your cat’s needs. Providing them all necessary nutrients is incredibly important, and unlike dogs, cats cannot be fed a vegetarian diet. They rely on meat and have difficulties digesting carbs, especially grains – thus you might look out for products with a higher protein and fat, and lower carbohydrate content. This doesn’t mean, however, that carbs should be banned from your furry friend’s diet, but moderation is key in this case. Furthermore, if your pet is provided a healthy and balanced diet, they don’t need additional supplements or vitamins (unless that’s what your vet recommended), it’s all there in their food.
- Provide enough litter boxes!
According to vet recommendations, the ideal number of litter boxes is one per cat, plus an additional one. Providing enough boxes will help prevent behavioural issues such as spraying, urinating or defecating in inappropriate places, or even serious medical problems like feline urethral obstruction (FUO) and lower urinary tract disease (FLUTC). What’s also essential is to make sure you get the right type of litter box. Deciding on covered or uncovered versions can be quite challenging, as this largely depends on your pet’s personality and habits. Covered litter boxes provide privacy, however, they might also be uncomfortable for bigger cats as they tend to have difficulties turning around inside the box. They also tend to trap odours inside of them, making it even less appealing to your kitten – although this issue can be prevented by more regular cleaning. Uncovered boxes also come with advantages and disadvantages: they don’t keep the dust and smell in and don’t prevent kicking of litter onto the floor, and thus are less hygienic. If you’re unsure which type your cat prefers, try both and see which one works best. You may want to invest in toilets that are large enough and are the right type for your cat – after all, you usually have to purchase them only once in a lifetime. Price also shouldn’t be an issue, as brands like Van Ness, Catit, ecoFlex or ScoopFree all offer a variety of boxes to suit any budget. The rule of thumb is, however, the same in all cases: make sure to litter box train your cat and clean their toilet daily.
Good hydration is essential for a healthy body (being absolutely vital), and that’s no different by our furry friends. As today’s cats have evolved from desert-dwelling ancestors (no wonder their domestication began in the Middle East), they mostly get their hydration from food. Thus, canned food, containing 75-80% water, is essential for cats, providing similar water content to that of a mouse, their natural prey. On the other hand, dry food comes with an average water percentage of just 5-15%. Whichever type of food your cat prefers, make sure to always provide them with fresh water!
- Spay and neuter
Overpopulation and homelessness of pets is a huge problem in the majority of countries. The UK is no different with hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs living without an owner. Spaying (female pets) or neutering (male pets) your furry friend is not only beneficial for the overall population, but also a truly wise and responsible decision which can significantly increase your pet’s life expectancy. In female cats, spaying helps prevent various infections and diseases from uterine problems to breast tumors, while neutering your male kitten contributes to prostate and testicular cancer prevention. Furthermore, both cases come with a wide range of behavioural benefits, making your pet’s and your life easier and happier.
- Groom for good!
Whether your pet is long- or short-haired, regular brushing is essential in cat-owning households. Grooming prevents your cat’s hair getting tangled and helps reduce shedding – but it’s not just about the looks. Regular brushing is key to your pet’s good health, decreasing the amount of hair getting swallowed during self-grooming. It also helps distribute the natural oils of the cat’s skin and thus maintain a healthy coat, and it also gives you the ability to check for parasites, skin or ear issues.
- A good night’s sleep
Cats can sleep up to twenty hours a day, and to make sure you provide the healthiest nap time possible, choosing a well-made and comfy bed could be essential. Giving your pet a suitable place to sleep helps to keep their spine healthy and reducing bed sores. Pet beds come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and composition, so you can surely find the one that suits your pet’s needs and your wallet. Our pick is a waterproof, easy-to-clean orthopedic bed from Pet’s Welfare.
Having all that said, the list of factors you should consider when sharing your home with a furry friend doesn’t end just here. Whether it’s about purchasing toys or a scratching post for your cat’s daily playtime, choosing the best crate for safe travel or looking for a cat-friendly vet, making responsible choices for your pet’s good health and safety is key to a happy life together. After all, you mean the world to them – help them make the most out of their days!