Cat Care

Cat Flea Collars
Cat Care Advice
Cat Care vs. Dog Care

Cat Dental Care
Cat Grooming Supplies
Geriatric Cat Care
Keep Your Cat Indoors

Tip #17: Cat Flea Collars

Orange tabby kitten

Many people put a cat flea collar on their cat and assume that’s all they need. In fact, many cats are allergic to the pesticides in flea collars and break out in a rash or lose the hair around their neck near the collar. Flea collars generally don't kill fleas anywhere but around the neck.

Most flea collars are not break-away collars. If your cat gets caught underneath furniture or on something in your home, it may choke if it can't break free of the collar.

An easy and effective flea solution is a topical treatment and/or shampoo recommended by your veterinarian. It's important to treat your home as well, otherwise any fleas hiding in your couch or your carpet will just hop right back onto your cat. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a safe in-home treatment product that won't threaten your pet's health. Flea treatment products are usually effective within 48 hours of usage as long as they are applied correctly.

Keep in mind: if your cat lives indoors, she will be less likely to attract fleas.


Tip #18: Cat Care Advice

Cat held by veterinarian

Your cat’s health and well-being are your responsibility, and the best care advice you'll get will come from an expert: your veterinarian.

That's why it’s important to build a relationship with your veterinarian.

Always take your cat to the vet at least once a year for a check-up or twice a year if your cat is over 10 years old. Your veterinarian will do a thorough examination of your cat and advise you on anything you need to know about cat care. Be sure to let your veterinarian know if your cat's eating habits or behavior seem unusual or different.


Tip #19: Cat Care vs. Dog Care

Cat and dog

If you've never had cats before, you may find they are a little easier to take care of than their canine counterparts. That's because you don't need to walk cats (although they do need exercise), and you can leave them alone for more than a day as long as you leave them enough food and water, something you can't do with a dog.

It's easy to provide your cat's nutritional needs throughout the day. Invest in a drinking fountain and keep a portion of kibble out for him while you're at work. Also, your cat doesn't need to be let outside; a litter box is easily accessible, day or night. Sure, a litter box may be messy to deal with, but you'd have to clean up after a dog too.


Tip #20: Cat Dental Care

Cats’ teeth are one of the main reasons pet owners seek healthcare for their cats. Regular brushing will help your cat live a longer and happier life. Here’s a list of supplies that will ensure your cat's dental health:

Cat snarls
  • Cat toothbrush. Use a brush especially made for cats. A human brush will be far too big for your cat's mouth. The bristles for a cat's brush will be softer, too.
  • Finger brush. This rubber pad fits over your finger to facilitate brushing your cat's teeth and massaging his gums.
  • Cat toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste; the ingredients can cause serious harm to your cat's health.
  • Dental food. This crunchy kibble promotes healthy teeth and can help remove plaque buildup. It's available for purchase at your veterinary clinic and pet retail stores. 

Ask your veterinarian for recommendations if you find it difficult to brush your cat's teeth. Also, once your cat reaches the age of 5, have his teeth cleaned by your veterinarian as needed to prevent dental decay associated with soft food and age.


Tip #21: Cat Grooming Supplies

Cats groom themselves every day, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't groom them yourself. Some long-haired cats need to be groomed every day, while short-haired breeds should be groomed at least once a week. Grooming can also be a bonding experience with your cat; most enjoy being touched and receiving as much attention as they can get.

Kitten

To get started, you'll need a few supplies:

  • First, a good brush with stiff bristles is a must. The brush will reduce the matting of your cat's fur and the bristles will gently massage the skin, something most cats love.
  • A grooming mitt fits over your hand like a glove and is much more flexible than a brush.
  • Nail clippers. Part of grooming your cat is keeping his claws trimmed. Look for clippers with a built-in guard that won't allow you to cut to the quick of your cat’s nails.
  • A flea comb (a very fine toothed comb available at pet stores) is ideal for combing  your cats hair and detecting fleas on your cat.
  • Most cats will tolerate bathing if you go about it gently. Select a shampoo that is labeled safe to use on cats. Dog shampoos are not always safe to use on cats. Dry shampoos are not a good choice for cats. Cats groom themselves by licking their fur, they do not tolerate powders and such applied to their haircoat.  Fleas are best controlled with a flea comb or one of the topical monthly flea control products available from your veterinarian.  
  • Flea and tick shampoo. This product is especially important if you live in an area that's prone to fleas and ticks. If your kitty hates the bath, then get a dry product that you can rub into his fur. 

The right grooming tools are an essential part of your pet care supplies. Regular grooming can help keep your cat healthier too, because it can eliminate the amount of ingested hair that creates unwanted hairballs.


Tip #22: Geriatric Cat Care

Older cat care isn't difficult, but you need to be more observant and aware of your cat's behavior. Here's what you should pay attention to in older cats:

Cat held by older woman
  • Is there any behaviorial change such as longer or shorter periods of sleeping, avoiding certain sleeping positions or lack of self-grooming?
  • Is their walking or gait different?
  • Are they more vocal (or less vocal) than they used to be?
  • Do they seem to have any breathing problems?
  • Are they still eating and drinking the same amount as always?
  • Is there a change in their weight?
  • Are they still using a litter box without any irregularities?

Some of these symptoms may develop gradually, which is why you need to be especially observant with older cats. If you notice any changes, take your cat to your veterinarian immediately.


Tip #23: Keep Your Cat Indoors

Cat sleeps

To help your cat stay healthy and happy, keep him indoors. Studies show that not only do indoor cats live longer than outdoor cats, but they also live healthier lives. Indoor cats aren't susceptible to diseases carried by other cats and outdoor critters like rodents. They also won't get into territorial fights with other outdoor cats, or be victims of predators like dogs or coyotes.

Since cat care is easier than dog care, keeping your cat indoors shouldn’t be any harder on you. After all, if you raise your kitten indoors it won’t crave the outdoors.


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