Keeping your cat healthy
As a responsible cat owner, you will need to provide proper medical care for your cat. You should find a veterinarian and set up a vaccination and check-up schedule, as it is essential to cat health. It is important to follow the vaccination schedule: this will stop your cat from catching several serious diseases.
Veterinary care can be expensive. You will need to make sure you have enough money in case your cat falls ill and needs treatment. Owning a cat is a financial commitment. It is also worth purchasing pet insurance to cover any unexpected veterinary fees.
The most basic vaccines that a cat needs are for Feline Herpes Virus (FHV-1), Feline CaliciVirus (FCV), and Feline Panleukopenia (FPV). In some regions, a rabies vaccine is obligatory too.
There are a few other vaccines available such as the FeLV vaccine (against Feline leukemia virus). Discuss with your veterinarian which vaccines your cat should have.
A typical vaccines schedule usually looks like this:
- FCV, FHV-1 and FPV are given at 6-8 weeks old, then repeated every two to four weeks until the kitten is 16 weeks old.
- The rabies vaccine is given when the kitten is 12 weeks old. The cat can be re-vaccinated against rabies every year.
- Booster vaccines are given at 12 months old.
- Adult cats should be re-vaccinated at least every 3 years.
With kittens and cats with an unknown history, parasite control is essential. Not only do these parasites affect a cat’s health and well-being, but humans can also catch most of these parasites! Cats can get internal (tapeworms, roundworms) and external (fleas, ticks, lice, mites) parasites. There are different products to treat parasites, such as tablets and spot-ons. Spot-on treatments are applied between the cat’s shoulder blades; depending on the type, these spot-ons can be used against external, internal, or both types of parasites. Ideally you should use broad-spectrum treatments that target many types of parasites.
It might not be obvious that a cat has parasites. Fleas are hard to spot, but if the infestation is bad, you may see black-brown dirt on the cat’s skin; the cat may also scratch a lot. Ticks are larger and easier to see. If a cat has worms, you may see white thread-like objects in the cat’s litter or anus. Cats with severe worm infestations often have pot bellies. Cats with ear mites have dirty, itchy ears.
Vitamins for Cats
If your cat has a well-balanced diet, they will get most of the vitamins they need from their diet. It is safe to give supplements, but only in the amounts recommended in the instructions on the packaging. An overdose of vitamins can actually be dangerous; for example, too much vitamin A neurological symptoms.
Cats need to consume the following vitamins:
- Vitamin A: important for the skin, eyes, bones, teeth, and reproductive system
- Vitamin D: vital for healthy bones
- Vitamin E: helps the immune system; an important antioxidant
- Vitamin K: needed for blood clotting
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): used to metabolise carbohydrates
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): used to metabolise fats, carbohydrates, and proteins
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): used to metabolise fats, carbohydrates, and proteins
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): used to metabolise fats, carbohydrates, and certain amino acids
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) used to metabolise glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids
- Vitamin B7 (Biotin): helps to make amino acids, fatty acids, and DNA/RNA
- Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid): used to make methionine and DNA
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamine): used to metabolise fats and carbohydrates, and for nerve conduction
- Choline: important for correct nerve function, transport of fats, and as a part of cell membranes
We do our best to provide accurate and up-to-date information with advice from professionals, however, veterinarians can better diagnose cat health issues in person and can provide you with the right information for your pet.
Interested in knowing more about keeping your cat healthy? Check out our Cat Grooming 101 article!
If you are on the lookout for your dream kitten, enlist the help of professionals at KittenGuru.