Keeping your cat safe & healthy

Sharing your life with a cat is a rewarding and enriching experience. Cats have so much to offer including love and companionship. Some people view cats as being aloof and not needing a lot of attention.  But just like dogs, there is great responsibility in caring for a cat’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Cats will get sick from time to time, but there are ways to reduce the chances of this happening.

Below are some suggestions.

Food:

There are many different options in regards to what cat owners can feed their cat: Grain Free, Limited Ingredient diet, low-calorie, canned food, freeze dried, and raw are just some of the choices. Choosing a food for your cat is a personal choice, but we recommend an all natural diet. Cats are obligate carnivores and have very specific dietary requirements. Therefore, it is vital that their nutritional needs be met with a food especially designed for cats. Never feed your cat a food intended for dogs and if you do choose to feed a raw or canned diet, speak to the Healthy Pet Care Specialists at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store to make sure it has all the necessary vitamins and minerals your cat requires. Keep in mind that cats have different nutritional requirements according to their age and health situation. For example, a kitten has different needs than a mature cat.

Indoor:

In the ideal world, cats would safely roam around outdoors, relax in the sun, watch the wildlife and get some exercise.  Unfortunately there are many risks that come with being outdoors. Cars, dogs, cruel humans, and infectious disease are just some of the dangers that cats encounter if they are outside often.  We recommend that you provide your cat with an outdoor cat enclosure so that they can enjoy the outdoors and stay safe.

Children:

Children and pets can become great friends with the proper guidance. It is important to ensure that both your cat and your child are protected. Teach your child about respectful behaviour towards animals and how to properly handle a cat.

Being Observant:

It’s important to be aware of your cat’s usual behaviour and outward physical appearance. This includes knowing whether your cat starts eating or drinking more or less, sleeping more or less, coat condition, eyes, and general wellbeing.  Any changes may indicate a health problem and should be addressed immediately.

Stress Free:

It is well known that stress affects the immune system and can have a detrimental effect on your cat’s health. There are many causes of stress in cats such as overcrowding, boredom, loneliness, changes within the household such as moving, the addition of a new pet or family member, or death of a companion (human or animal) etc. If the stress is long term this can begin to have an impact on your cat’s immune system and cause health problems. Provide your cat with extra attention during these difficult times.

Parasite Control:

Parasites can have a serious impact on your cat’s health so it is important to ensure your cat remains parasite free. There are many parasites which can infect your cat including worms (several species, fleas, ticks and mites). Not only can they cause great discomfort to your cat, but your cat can also become quite ill. Some parasites also have health implications for humans too.

There are many great products to combat parasites these days, including topical ones which are easier to apply than powders and sprays. Before you treat your cat for parasites, visit your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store.  The Healthy Pet Care specialists will be able to advise you on the best product to use for your cat. A visit to your vet may be in order.

Home Proofing:

Keeping your cat indoors can present some dangers, but these are able to be addressed by the diligent pet owner. There are many  things in the home that can be toxic and dangerous for cats and home proofing is key to ensure their safety. Just as having a baby would result in “Baby Proofing” the home, so should you “Cat Proof”.

Poisonous Plants

Kittens and adult cats love to play with plants!  The motion of leaves moving in a draft is irresistible. Unfortunately, part of their play may involve biting and tasting, and even eating some plants which can be fatal. Remove them from the home or hang them safely out of reach. You might even want to consider artificial plants and flowers as a substitute–just make sure they don’t have parts that can be easily detached.  Some of the poisonous plants are noted below:

Aloe Vera

Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila elegans)

Begonia (Begonia spp.)

Calla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)

Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp.)

Easter Lily (Lilium longiforum)

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

Protect Valuables

Cats are inquisitive and curious so you won’t want to leave valuable china or ornaments sitting on the coffee table, especially if you plan on keeping them for a long time to come.

Breakables

Put away all breakable items that are remotely accessible to your cat. Remember that adult cats can, and will, jump onto shelves and counters, so look around your home, and remove anything of value. Cats will get into everything that’s accessible to them.

Furniture and Drapes

Kittens will climb on your furniture and drapes. To protect your furniture, consider covering cloth furniture with a purchased cover, or even with a blanket or bedspread. Drapes should be confined to off-limit rooms, or at the very least, tied up and out of reach until they grow older and learn not to attack them.

Small Hazards

Rubber bands, paper clips, thumb tacks, broken balloons, Christmas tree tinsel and other small articles are irresistible play objects for kittens, but pose a choking hazard. Put them away in containers, and leave the tinsel off the tree. A good rule of thumb is to put away anything that you would not want a toddler to get his hands on and the same reasoning should apply to your kitten or cat.

Hanging blinds cords

Kittens will love to bat around cords from hanging blinds, but can also get tangled up in them with disastrous consequences. Either anchor the cords firmly or simply tie them up out of reach.

Electrical and phone cords

Your kitten’s insatiable curiosity often leads them to one of the most dangerously tempting objects in the house: electric cords. Computers are a particular hazard with their numerous cords dangling temptingly. Invest in a cord management system or tape the cords together and fasten them out of reach.  You can also spray any cords that can’t be hidden with Bitter Apple, a very unpleasant tasting, but harmless substance. Do the same with long phone cords.

Pest Poisons

Remove any ant or roach traps from accessible areas. If your cat will be an indoor-outdoor pet, also scour your yard and remove any left-over ant stakes or snail bait.

The Garage

It’s probably better to label the garage “off-limits” to your cat. Too many poisonous/hazardous materials are stored there. Anti-freeze is particularly poisonous and is attractive to animals because of its sweet taste. Make sure that any spilled anti-freeze is cleaned up immediately, and the garage floor thoroughly washed. Store all caustic and poisonous materials in a closed cabinet.

Other common dangers include: poisons, hot stoves, toilets, washing machines and tumble dryers, string, ribbon, electrical cords and more.  You should know where your cats are at all times if they are at risk to be injured.

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