This month we will have a series of posts all about raising a happy, healthy feline friend and I’m so here for it!
Our cats are often overlooked when it comes to health, nutrition, enrichment and so much more. Heck, I even know people who will leave their cats alone for days. It makes me so sad.
This will be a series of posts because it’s just too much to fit into one, plus we have all month to celebrate our happy, healthy cats!
For whatever reason (and there are a few), cats are taken to the vet far less often than dogs. In my case, I think this is the opposite, but for most people, cats and vet visits are full of anxiety.
Having annual vet visits, or semi-annual for senior cats, is so incredibly important, especially for our cats because felines are notorious for hiding their ailments. More often than not, by the time symptoms get severe enough to bring your cat into the vet, the disease is far advanced and much harder to turn around, if even still possible.
I’ve been there, I know. I’d bet you’d be hard-pressed to find a cat parent who hadn’t experienced a similar issue.
That’s not to say we need to jab 💉 our cats every year, and we will talk more about that later in the series, but having a thorough check-up and blood work is very, very important! Having blood work done annually (or semi-annually) can give you and your veterinarian an opportunity to find issues and reverse them before they get too bad.
FOOD & WATER
I could go on and on about food for our kitties, and if you’d like more detailed info here, let me know. Cats in the wild eat whole prey and thus have their fluid needs met by eating the whole raw animal. This means that most domestic cats will still avoid drinking water. I know I have a mix in my house of cats that will occasionally take a sip and others who I’ve never seen at the water bowl.
One way to help our kitties with water intake is to offer them a variety of ways to partake, such as large bowls of still water as well as water fountains. Some cats are more likely to partake in water consumption if the water is flowing. This is also a trait of the wild cat, cleaning themselves and drinking from flowing waterways.
As mentioned, if we can provide our cat with a biologically appropriate diet (fresh raw foods, balanced for your cat) all the better. Older cats are much more difficult to transition, though SF Raw has a great piece on how to transition your kitty.
If you aren’t able to do this, I’m right there with you. I’ve tried numerous times with my older cats and it just hasn’t happened. I will keep trying! In the meantime, I feed the best wet food I can as well as freeze-dried raw.
On the topic of food and water, a couple of other important topics to cover are types of bowls. I have used ceramic for many years after learning how terrible plastic bowls are for our pets. I recently found out that ceramic can be pretty bad too and that high-quality food-grade stainless is the best. I haven’t made the switch yet, but it is on my list.
Raising your cat’s bowls off of the ground is also important. It is not natural for a cat to eat off of the floor, even cats in the wild will carry their prey up to the higher ground to consume it. Elevating the bowl helps honor your cat as they are meant to be, and also helps aid in digestion. I use small cardboard boxes, but you can also buy nicer pieces if you choose.
Finally, to round out the topic of food and water for cats, do not feed your cat in the same location as their water bowls. It goes against all of their instincts. Keep these areas separate.
Oh! One more thing about food… pick up the all-day buffet. Feed kitty multiple small meals a day and they will be happier as well as healthier!
HUNT, STALK, KILL, EAT, CLEAN, SLEEP
It’s not a pretty acronym, but follow this and your cat will surely thank you!
I mentioned before about honoring your cat for the special species they are and there is no better way to do this than to honor their natural hunting behaviors.
The more often you can do this for your cat, the better off you both will be, especially if you practice this right before your bedtime since it can give you time to sleep through the night without the kitty interrupting you.
Start with interactive play. Use a wand toy to let your cat chase the toy around the room or the house. Get a good 15-minute play session in, letting your cat catch the toy every so often. When you are both ready to quit, make sure your cat can catch the toy one last time for the kill!
Then, feed your cat their dinner. Once your cat finishes eating, she will clean herself and sleep. This is the routine a cat in the wild goes through numerous times a day, so giving this to your cat is the best gift possible.
These are just a few topics that will be included in this month of the cat! What we will talk about next week?!
P.S. September is also my birthday month, so I’m giddy with excitement over sharing it with our feline friends. More to come, so stick around!