larger cat and kittenCats are loveable companions and are very individual in character. They need regular human interaction, physical and mental stimulation to maintain their health.

To keep your cat healthy, you also need to pay attention to appropriate diet and give thought to a preventative care plan which will allow you to avoid illness and injury.

Below you will find important information to get you and your cat off on the right foot.

Keeping your Cat Healthy

Exercise

All cats love a daily dose of cuddles and pats with their pet parents. Most also enjoy a good dose of play with their parents. This can be anything from playing ‘fetch’ with their special toy or pointing a laser around the house or playing chasey using a good old piece of string. Its surprising how many hours of fun can be had with a knotted plastic bag! This provides great interaction and strengthens the bond between your cat and yourselves.

All this social interaction helps ‘train’ your cat to being a happy and healthy member of the family. What you do with your kitten during their early days provides the basis of training that can be applied to any time of their lives and so develops their confidence and independence to any situation they may encounter. For example, allowing them to explore the outdoors, under supervision, means that they become familiar and unfazed by the sounds of cars driving by or the chatter of children playing. It also allows you, the pet parent, to become more familiar with what is considered ‘normal’ for your pet and so you are aware of any changes that need to be addressed much earlier.

Indoors or Outdoors?

That is a very common question asked by our pet parents. There is no right or wrong. The answer is one which only you, their pet parent, can answer. Some cats are by nature more territorial and so will be vocal and possibly destructive if kept confined indoors. Other are quite content to stay indoors all their lives. Most people choose something in between. There are many dedicated owners that have added extra ‘air walk-ways’ or ‘window beds’ to their rooms which allow their cats visual access to the windows in their homes. Many people have built cat runs attached to the house where their pets have outdoors space but are kept safe from predators. Other people only allow their cats outdoor time under supervision. There are harnesses available so taking your cat for a walk becomes an option!

Diet

There are a confusing array of different pet foods on the market so it can be daunting to select the right food for your pet. Whether it be dry, tinned, natural, organic, raw, or a combination of these, what you feed your pet is crucial to their growth and overall health.

In general most kittens need to stay on kitten food for the first 12 months of their lives. Kitten food provides the body with the additional minerals and supplements to allow them to grow to their full potential. After this period they can then slowly be weaned onto an adult food.

Adult diets help maintain your pet’s health by providing enough nutrition for the body to function at its best. However, the tendency is to feed your pet whenever and whatever they want! Just like what humans are facing in this day of excess we can overindulge our pets and cause health issues such as obesity and dental disease. Moderation in all things is the key.

Cats over the age of 8 are considered senior citizens. There are diets specific for the older pet which are usually lower in calories and provide additional supplements to aid in the support for common older pet ailments. Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin are used for joint support and high quality but lower percentage of protein to maintain bodily functions with minimal affect on organs such as the heart and kidneys.

There are many prescription diets that aid to support pets with specifically diagnosed diseases. It is best to ask a veterinary staff to discuss the proper diet for your pet in these circumstances as they can do harm to pets that do not need the particular food.

Formulated diets are a convenient and healthy way to feed your pet compared with home cooking on a daily basis. All diets must be “complete and balanced”. If the packet of food does not have these words advertising the food then there is a chance your pet may be missing out on some crucial dietary requirements. Unfortunately this is the case with most home cooked diets as well.

Please considering asking the staff at nOah if you are considering changing or adding something to your pet’s diet to ensure that it is not doing them any harm.

Preventative Health

Regular health checks at nOah will allow early detection of any diseases or ailments that can be affecting your pet. Whether your pet is a kitten, adolescent, adult or a senior citizen it is important to alert veterinary staff to any concerns you may have since your cat is prone to different diseases at different life stages.

This is why the veterinarians at nOah perform a full physical check of your pet each time they come in for a consultation.

Kittens need a course of vaccinations to prevent serious and sometimes life threatening diseases. See Cat Care section of the website. An adolescent check is recommended to ensure that your kitten is growing well and to discuss any behavioural issues that might be arising to tackle them early before they have become too established.

During adulthood we all hope that this is the easiest time of their lives since training and preventative health care have already become a routine. Adult cats need at least an annual check usually at the same time as their annual vaccinations. We address any other issues such as weight, dental disease, skin conditions and behaviour problems during these consultations as well.

During the senior years your pet may need more regular checks especially if we have found certain changes (such as arthritis, skin changes or a heart murmur) or have diagnosed a specific disease (such as heart failure or diabetes). Routine tests such measuring blood pressure, blood and urine checks and lump checks are recommended to identify any developing disease and also for monitoring purposes. If your pet is on medications, this becomes even more important to ensure that the medications given are at the correct dose and that they are not effecting other body organs.

Regular prevention should be given to all cats for:

  • Gastrointestinal parasite control – round worm, hook worm and tapeworm
  • External parasite control – fleas and ticks

There are many different regimens and products available to help protect your pet. They should be used from when your pet is a kitten and throughout its lifetime.

Dental Care

Your pet has one set of juvenile teeth and one set of adult teeth, just like humans! This means that that kittens go through a ‘teething’ stage when the adult set are replacing the juvenile one and can cause pain and bad breath. Providing chew toys and softening food will help them through this period that can last many months(!). Familiarising your kitten to sitting still and having your fingers/objects in their mouths will allow teeth brushing later in life.

As adults, dental hygiene is more important as this set of teeth must last for the rest of their lives. Consider using one of the prescription dental dry food diets. At nOah we recommend aids such as Greenies® chews that have been proven to help fight dental disease and regularly brushing your pet’s teeth with a soft headed toothbrush and pet dental toothpaste. There is also liquids that can be added to their water that eats away at the bacteria in the mouth. All these aids will slow down the progression of tartar accumulation and reduce the chance of your pet having smelly breath or needing a teeth scale and polish under a general anaesthetic.

Dental checks are free and performed at nOah on a regular basis. Please book in for an assessment of your pet’s teeth today!

If there is dental disease and decay that is irreversible then a dental procedure can be performed at nOah. Extraction of teeth are only done as a last resort. Anyone that has had infected gums/teeth or a fractured tooth can vouch for how painful it can be! To ease this pain nOah uses a combination of general and local anaesthetic for these dental procedures. Afterwards, most people comment on how much more active and playful their pet becomes because we have taken away a source of considerable pain.

Grooming

Your pet will have individual requirements depending on their breed and therefore the type and length of the hair. Most cats enjoy having a brush and massage as long as they have had the experience of these things from an early age and associate them with fun times. So make sure you start grooming your pet very soon after becoming a member of your family!

Softer, rubbery combs are great for short, wiry coats (such as that found on domestic short hairs species) whereas wire combs with longer bristles are better for finer and longer coats (ie: that of a Persian). Ask the friendly staff at nOah for advice about the most suitable brush for your pet.

Some people choose to bath their cats, particularly if they are allowed on the bed. Cats are very clean creatures and groom themselves regularly so this is not necessary in most cases, however you may find some individuals like to have a bath! If the pet parent and cat choose to have baths we recommend using a low allergy shampoo and to bath your pet only every few weeks