Basic cat care
Vaccination protects the cat against dangerous and deadly diseases such as rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and parvovirus. Vaccination should start from the age of 2 months and be repeated one month later. This is followed by the annual booster vaccination. Negligence or ignorance about the benefits of vaccination can result in many cats, especially young ones, getting sick and dying each every year.
Whether dry, canned or homemade, a balanced cat food is necessary to meet the cat’s needs. The cat is not a small dog and should not be fed like a small dog. As a general rule, it is recommended that your cat food have a fixed composition and be fed in the same quantity. It is recommended not to have food available around the clock, but rather to divide the total daily amount in 3 small meals. If you cook for your cat, meat should be cooked thoroughly. Also cats should not be fed raw fish.
It is very common for cats to form urine struvite crystals which sometimes cause problems, the most serious being urethra clogging. Suitable foods are commercially available to protect against the formation of urine crystals.
It is NOT necessary for pet cats to mate —at least once— as is erroneously believed in our country. Animals mate for reproduction purposes only and not for pleasure. Mating exposes them to significant risks (illness, accidents, dystocia, etc.) and results in an uncontrolled “production” of young cats that in their vast majority live very short lives! Summing it up, sterilised cats live longer. Sterilisation can be done after the age of 6 months.
Worming – Prevention of ectoparasites
It should be done every 3 months and in some cases every month. By giving your cat a pill based on its weight, you keep its digestive tract free of parasites, often called worms. Their presence disrupts digestion and nutrition, leading to weight loss and stress on the immune system, while a large number of parasites can cause mechanical obstruction of the bowel with dramatic consequences for the animal.
To prevent ectoparasite infestations, mainly by fleas and ear mites, apply monthly suitable products that usually come in the form of spot-on applicator tubes.
Cats and public health
What people know and worry about is toxoplasmosis. This is a legitimate concern as the cat is the origin of this parasite in nature. Proper information helps to avoid exaggerations and aphorisms. As a general rule (a detailed article on this issue will follow in the future), cats fed packaged or well cooked foods do not pose a risk. Their litter box must be cleaned daily. During pregnancy women should eat meat well done and wash thoroughly the vegetables they handle in the kitchen (that is why restaurants of questionable hygiene standards must be avoided). Attention is also needed to not contaminate vegetables using dirty knives and worktops where raw meat has been handled.
Frequent errors of owners
The quantity of food they offer is usually more than the animal needs. By weighing the food and offering the appropriate amount you avoid obesity while saving money at the same time.
Administration of human contraceptive pills without consulting the vet. The use of such pills is not approved for cats, and the consequences are usually pyometra and breast cancer.
A call to the vet costs nothing. However, more often than not the owner will consult a pharmacist (a pharmacist has no proper training to give advice about animals) or someone with empirical knowledge on animals. It is not rare to see people making serious mistakes and administering improper drugs with devastating consequences.
Long-haired cats need frequent brushing to enjoy a healthy skin and coat.