Ensuring that your cat lives a long and happy life means not only feeding, sheltering, and exercising your cat, but also providing preventative and ongoing healthcare. This starts when you bring your pet home for the first time and continues through adulthood. Learning to observe certain behavior, monitor vital signs, and follow a vaccination program will keep both you and your cat happy and healthy.

It’s vital as a pet owner that you know what to do in an emergency situation. This can mean the difference between life and death. Have on hand first aid kits and emergency 24 hour veterinarian phone numbers and facility information if the need arises.

Before bringing your new cat home the first time, it is essential that you make a visit to your vet for a physical examination, administration of worm medication, and vaccinations. After your first visit, set up a schedule with your vet for annual exams and ongoing vaccinations.


There are common diseases that can affect your cat’s health and wellbeing. Many of these can be prevented through regular vaccines.

Types of Vaccinations:

• Three in One-given as one shot at 8 and 12 weeks
• Feline Infectious Enteritis (FIE)-fatal infection on the intestines
• Feline Calicivirus (FCV)-severe strain of the common cold
• Feline Rhinotracheitis-(FVR)-also known as “cat flu”
• Chlamydia

After you kitten has received his two shots of the three in one, her next shot will come at one year with a booster of the above and this vaccine to immunize against the common cold.

• FeLV

Feline leukemia virus is a fatal virus that attacks the bone marrow. Once a year booster is required.

Internal Parasites

Most feline parasites live in the intestines. While they are common among cats and are not cause for serious concern, they are a nuisance for you cat.

Outdoor cats should be tested twice a year and indoor cats tested only if you see visible signs of the parasites.

Your vet can prescribe treatment based upon the parasite.

Common Parasites:

• Roundworms-they look like long strings of spaghetti that live in the stomach and intestines. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea and a swelling of the stomach.

• Tapeworms-all that is visible to the naked eye is the segment, resembling a grain of rice, as it broken off and expelled from the anus.

• Hookworms-common only in areas with a humid climate. Weakness, anemia, diarrhea, blood in the urine are symptoms.

• Coccidiosis-common parasite found in feces. Symptoms include lack of energy, diarrhea, feces with a strong arid odor and are grey in color, weight loss

Fleas, Ticks and Mites

Warning Signs of When to Seek Medical Attention for Your Cat

Always consult your vet if something in you home health exam doesn’t seem right. If you notice any of the following signs, you should consult you vet:

• Loss of appetite for more than a day
• Excessive grooming
• Bad Breath
• Appearance of the third eyelid
• Difficulty eating or mouth pain
• Sudden weight gain or loss
• Prolonged, gradual weight loss
• Fever
• Pain or indication of pain when you go to pet
• Vomiting more than three times in a day
• Change in bowel habits or stool for more than a day
• Coughing or labored breathing
• Sneezing or more than a day
• Excessive thirst for more than a day
• Lack of urination or control
• Excessive salivation
• Sluggishness or unwilling to do favorite activities for more than a day
• Excessive itching or scratching
• Lameness that does not improve in a day
• Seizures
• Convulsions
• Eye discharge that is not normal

Common Health Problems

It is almost inevitable that your pet over its lifetime will become sick. If you notice anything strange in your pet, always consult a vet.

The following are the most common problems cats encounter:

• Pyometra-Infection of the uterus in unaltered female cats

• Feline Urological Syndrome-lower urinary tract disease. If you cat is having problems urinating or straining to do so, consult your vet immediately

• Respiratory Ailments-cats are more prone to these problems than any other. If you see sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, call your vet for treatment.

• Allergies-cats are so prone to allergies they can even become allergic to one another. Things that may make you sneeze or itch can also cause the same reaction in your cat. Many cats are allergic to perfumes, or even flea preventatives. Many cleaning solutions such as ammonia or bleach can cause sneezing or eye watering. Never use such items in areas that your cat frequents unless diluted or the area is well ventilated. If you notice prolonged sneezing, wheezing, eye watering, consult your vet.

• Ringworm-Scratching, biting, and excessive grooming can indicate ringworm. It’s actually a parasitic fungus and not a worm at all. It can be transmitted through contact with infected soil or other animals. Elderly cats, kittens, and pregnant cats are the most susceptible. Signs of ringworm include a few broken hairs around the muzzle or ears as well as small perfectly round bald patches on the skin. If you suspect your cat has ringworm, take him to the vet for treatment. For an indoor cat only, vacuum and clean thoroughly bedding or areas that they frequent with a fungicide.

• Heartworm-Feline heartworm disease is rarely found in cats but can be life threatening. It is caused by parasites entering the bloodstream through the bite of an infected mosquito. If you live in a warm, humid, climate, your can is more susceptible. At present there is no definitive test for FHD in cats. Aside from asthma, weight loss or collapse there are no outward signs. A vaccine is currently awaiting food and drug approval in the US.

• Acne-Believe it or not your cat can suffer from acne just like humans. It is generally found under the chin and mouth. Examine the chin area and if you can see spots that look or feel like coffee grains, your cat may have acne. Treat the area with a mild soap and gently pat dry.

• Abscesses- Often we can not see them but we can feel them. Often times the skin will close over the wound making it hard to detect. If your cat shows no external signs of a wound but is listless, not eating, has a dry open coat, there is a chance he is suffering from an abscess infection.

If you notice a lump, take the following steps:
• Soak a cloth in warm water and place over lump
• Draw out as much puss from the lump as possible
• Wash area again with warm water
• Apply hydrogen peroxide to the area
• Repeat steps as necessary
• If problem persists for more than four days, seek vet treatment

• Stud tail-Called this because it is generally found in unaltered tomcats. It is a build-up of a brown secretion caused by the release of oils from the gland on the upper surface of the cat’s tail. You will also notice swelling, blistering and hair loss in the region. Condition can be controlled by keeping area clean and dry or by having your cat neutered.

• Dandruff-Just like humans, cats can get dandruff. This is normal because the skin changes and is shed periodically. An occasional bath and a good brushing should help control the problem.

• Wool-chewing-Some cats love to chew wool, towels, socks, and blankets. Most chewers are Siamese or Burmese and start as kittens. It is not possible to break a wool-chewer of the habit. The best solution is to keep those items out of reach.

• Spraying-Spraying is a natural instinct of cats squirting strong urine to mark territories or signal mating. It is most common in the unaltered male although altered males and even females will do this on occasion. Sprayed and neutered cats may do this to show anger and unhappiness.

• Shedding-Outdoor cats will shed twice a year. Indoor cats may shed periodically throughout the year and is due to the consistent temperature that is maintained within the home. Daily combing and an occasional bath will help control the problem.

• Hairball-If you cat has lost its appetite or has constipation or bowel problems, hairballs may be the cause. These are formed by your cat swallowing hair during their normal grooming. The hairball is often vomited up if not passed through the intestine. Daily combing combined with the occasional bath can help. There are also hairball remedies on the market that will aid in lubricating the intestines so that they are passed normally. If a hairball does become impacted in the intestines, the vet will have to remove surgically.

• Whisker problems- Cats use their whiskers as feelers in avoiding objects in the dark, measure the width of a space, or in hunting. They can also be a bother when eating as the ends of the whiskers touch the sides of the bowl and transfer irritating sensations to his brain. Since they are connected to the nervous system, any damage or removal will cause much discomfort and confusion. Don’t ever trim or remove or even try and clean!

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