Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? According to Statistic Brain, a fact and figure gathering website, 45 percent of Americans usually make at least one resolution as the old year fades away. The most common include losing weight, getting organized, saving money, quitting smoking, falling in love and spending more time with family. While all of these changes are certain to improve our health, where do our pets fit into the picture? If you’re a cat owner, we suggest adding these three cat resolutions to your list for 2013.
1. Resolve to care for your cat’s teeth.
Periodontal disease is one of the most common health problems veterinarians find in cats. It’s basically an infection of your kitty’s teeth, gums and the surrounding structures – and it can impact her entire body with serious consequences to her health and well-being.
Because cats are unable to brush their own teeth, accumulated food causes bacteria to grow. Over time, the bacteria move to the gums, causing infection. Symptoms include bad breath, lethargy, salivating, decreased appetite, weight loss and facial swelling.
How can you fight feline periodontal disease? The simplest way is to brush your cat’s teeth. You can do so using a fingertip toothbrush with toothpaste formulated for cats. Don’t use human toothpaste because it contains fluoride, which is not safe to swallow. Brush her teeth gently once a day, using a circular motion and focusing on the gum line.
If your cat will not tolerate tooth brushing, you may need to have your veterinarian clean her teeth periodically. This involves anesthetization. Feeding dry food and treats like Greenies can slow the development of periodontal disease, but will not prevent it completely.
2. Resolve to keep your cat indoors.
Cats who go outdoors often get hit by cars, into fights with other cats, attached by dogs and predators. If they aren’t vaccinated properly, they can contract dangerous diseases like FIV and the feline leukemia virus. Keep him inside and you eliminate all of these risks. You may even get to enjoy his companionship longer. According to WebMD, indoor cats can live 17 or more years while those who roam outdoors average just two to five.
If your kitty is used to roaming, he may sulk at first – but don’t give in. Make your home more exciting for him with a cat tower or two and lots of quality playtime.
3. Resolve to take your cat to the vet.
Some cat owners skip annual wellness visits, taking kitty to the veterinarian only when she’s sick. This is not a good thing for your pet. Regular physical exams are necessary to detect dangerous conditions like the aforementioned periodontal disease as well as thyroid disease and diabetes. Many of these issues are more treatable when they are caught early.
If your cat hates riding in the car, consider a veterinary housecall service. You can find one in your area on the American Association of Housecall and Mobile Veterinarians website.
Did your New Year's Resolutions include your pets? Tell us about it in the comment section!