The 7 Things You Need To Know About Your Cat's Health

October 23rd 2018

A Q&A with Dr. Andrea Lo, DVM

What do you love about cats?

I love cats because they don’t really need you, but they hang out with you anyway. They have their own quirky personalities and do their own thing with no regard to you. Cats make great pets because they are less like pets and more like your weird roommate that poops in a box :)
 

How often should I take my cat to the vet?

After their kitten vaccines, cats should be seen by a veterinarian at least once a year.  As they mature into senior cats (around seven to eight-years-old), they should be seen every six months so any disease/condition can be diagnosed and treated sooner.
 

What diet do you recommend for cats? 

Cats are obligate carnivores so they should be on a meat-based diet. Canned foods should comprise >50% (if not all) of their diet. Canned food provides water to keep cats well-hydrated since they don’t have a very strong thirst drive. In the wild, cats mostly get their water through their prey. Raw diets can be considered for owners that practice good food hygiene AND do not have young children or immunocompromised individuals. Food-borne illnesses is a real risk, especially since cats groom by licking themselves. To see how to safely feed your cat a raw diet read our blog and watch the video.
 

What are top 3 common cat ailments? 

1. Periodontal disease (considered the most prevalent disease in cats under 10 years):
- bad breath
- dropping food or only chewing on one side of their mouth
- pawing at their mouth
- grinding their teeth
- bleeding or discharge from mouth and/or nose
- swelling around the face and/or jaws
- discoloured or broken teeth
 
2. Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD):
- frequent trips to the litter box
- blood in urine
- pain or straining when voiding
- grooming/licking their rear end more than usual
- abnormal behaviours such as hiding, vocalizing, grumpiness and lethargy
 
3. Obesity
- your veterinarian can help you figure out if your cat is at a healthy weight
- obese cats are predisposed to diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, kidney and liver disease, some types of cancer, osteoarthritis and decreased life expectancy
 

What are the top 2 ways to keep a cat healthy?

  1. Preventative care is the most important thing you can do to keep your cat healthy and happy. So annual (or semiannual, depending on the age of your cat) visits to the veterinarian are important.
  2. Knowing your cat’s normal behaviour and habits. Cats are very good at hiding signs of illnesses. They are masters at pretending everything is normal when they aren’t. Any change in behaviour, no matter how minor (like hiding more under the bed) can be a big red flag.
 

How often do cats throw up? 

Vomiting in cats is NOT normal. For some reason, it is considered normal behaviour for cats to vomit from time to time and it gives owners a sense of complacency. Vomiting in cats is a potential health concern and should be addressed by a veterinarian.
 

Should I let my cat outdoors? 

Indoor cats live longer and healthier lives than outdoor cats. There is reduced risk of traumatic injuries, infectious disease and parasites. As well, outdoor cats can wreak havoc on your local ecosystem since they are such effective predators. For more reading, the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine has an excellent guide to enrich the lives of indoors cats.

Call us at 403-615-8016 to find out about a special we have this week on in-clinic cat examinations. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association regulations don't allow us to share the details on our website, but our friendly staff would love to tell you all about it.

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