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February is National Cat Health Month, and we wanted to share some of our best tips for caring for your furry feline.

First and foremost, it’s important to make your cat’s health a daily priority. Owners who commit themselves to proactively preventing issues will have healthier kitties who will likely live longer, have a better quality of life, and incur fewer vet visits and expenses.

Here are our top four tips for keeping your cat healthy and happy all year long.

  1. Watch Your Cat’s Weight

Did you know that 58% of cats in the U.S. are either obese or overweight? Most owners aren’t even aware that their cat may be overweight or obese. On to of that, issues such as diabetes, arthritis, constipation, skin irritation and infection, heart/lung/blood vessel diseases, and others are often associated with feline obesity?

Talk with your vet about the ideal weight and calorie intake that would work best for your kitty, and of course, exercise is important. Be sure to add in some quality play time each week to keep your kitty up and moving!

  1. Take Care of Your Cat’s Teeth

Did you know that over 80 percent of pets experience gum disease by age three?  Much like the dangers that go along with obesity, periodontal disease is also a preventable condition that can have life-threatening consequences, including negative impact on the heart, kidneys, pancreas, liver and even the immune system.

You can help combat this at home just by dipping a finger into meat broth, then rubbing it onto the teeth and gums. Over time you can move on to finger brushing or using a soft-bristle toothbrush. If you have trouble, always contact your vet and they can help care for your cat’s teeth.

  1. Create a Healthy Environment for Your Cat

Here are some environmental factors to minimize or remove altogether:

  • Second-hand smoke. The toxins from the smoke land directly on the cat’s fur, and when it comes time for a regular groom, the cat is ingesting the toxins. This affects the teeth as well.
  • Consider what you’re using to clean surfaces and floors especially. Cats tend to lick just about anything with an interesting smell, and the last things you want is your kitty to lick in a bleached bathtub.
  • Think twice on those aerosol air fresheners as well. You wouldn’t want to ingest those chemicals, and neither should your feline friend.
  1. Use Titer Testing for Your Cat Instead of Vaccinations

Vaccinations can be both helpful and harmful. It all depends on how they’re used. In young dogs and cats, vaccines help establish immunity from infections disease. But repeated and unnecessary vaccines can be harmful to the immune system. Titer testing is a safe way to avoid over-vaccination while ensuring your companion remains protected from disease.

Once your cat receives his kitten vaccinations, he may still have residual immunity when it comes time to provide a vaccine booster.  Talk with with your veterinarian about performing a blood test called an “antibody titer” to determine your cat’s immunity to his prior vaccinations.  If the titer is at a level at or above a protective threshold, your cat will likely be able to fight off infection by the microorganism (bacteria, virus, etc.) for which he’s been previously vaccinated.  If the titer is below the protective threshold, then your veterinarian can advise you if a booster vaccine is needed.

Learn more about titer testing here.

Want to learn more about a healthier lifestyle for you cat? Stop in to Brookside Barkery and Bath and speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today!