1. Free feeding your cat is a common mistake: closely monitor the quantity of food
Many cats would never eat more than they need, but many others aren't so measured and restrained when it comes to the good stuff. Furthermore, your cat's habits may change one day, and it may start overeating, so it's best to meal train them instead of having unlimited amounts of food available for them at all times. This way, you'll prevent cat obesity and all the related health problems.
Instead, measure out the quantity of food your cat requires depending on its age and train them to have regular meals every day. The daily amount of food will depend on the kind of food your kitty eats, as well as the specific brand of cat food, so make sure to check the instructions on the packaging of the cat food you typically buy. If your cat is already a bit too chubby, you can ask a trusted vet for a special meal schedule.
Nowadays, there are special cat feeders available that can do that job of measuring out food portions for you as well, so even if you don't feel like doing it yourself, you can monitor how much food your pet eats with one of these devices.
2. Some common house plants are toxic to cats
Having pets definitely restricts the kind of greenery you can grow both in your garden and indoors. This is especially true when it comes to indoor cats, who love to munch on your potted plants from time to time. To make sure your kitty doesn't get a toxic reaction the next time it decides to play chew some of your greenery, avoid the following common plants:
- Autumn crocus
- Chinese evergreens
- Virginia creepers
- Agave and related plants, such as aloe
- Tea leaves
The symptoms your cat can develop after coming in contact with these plants can vary, starting from irritation, allergic dermatitis, vomiting, depression, loss of appetite to toxic shock, kidney failure and death. Make sure to contact the vet immediately if you suspect that your cat ingested any of the above-mentioned plants.
Related Article: 21 Dog Health Hazards Lurking in Your Home and Garden
3. Even indoor cats can get fleas and ticks, so make sure to treat the issue
Flea and tick medications should be kept up regularly, even if your cat isn't exploring the great outdoors too often, or at all! This is because the pesky parasites can get into your home and infect your pet, be it through your dog, an open window or even your own shoes. Most of these medications are administered every 3 months, but you can discuss this with your vet to know which options you have available in your area.
4. Ensure fresh water is always accessible to your feline
Access to plenty of fresh water is a must for anyone, really, not just cats, dogs or humans. The problem with cats is that they can be quite picky and refuse to drink from a bowl, especially if the water is not straight out of the faucet. That's exactly why so many cats learn to drink from a faucet, but this can be dangerous, especially when you're traveling and you're not at home for a long time, as your cat may become dehydrated.
If you find that your cat is picky, try replacing the water in its bowl more often (at least 1-2 times a day), or even get an additional bowl and leave it in a different location in your home. Some cats also love drinking from tall cups or glasses, whereas others will require a cat water fountain to drink enough.
Hydration is very important for cats, especially those who eat dry cat food, as not drinking enough can cause serious kidney problems or even renal failure.
5. 100% hypoallergenic cats are a myth
As someone who is allergic to cats, but loves them so much, I understand that it's reassuring to think that you or your loved one will not experience uncomfortable allergic symptoms around some cat breeds. Unfortunately, no cat is 100% hypoallergenic, and even the hairless Sphinx cats can trigger cat allergies.
This is because most people, despite popular opinion, are not actually allergic to cat fur, but rather to a protein present in the cat's bodily fluids (saliva, sweat, and urine). But why do I experience severer symptoms when you're around fluffier cats, you might ask? This is because they groom and shed their hair more, spreading more of the allergen all around you or your home.
That's why it is often recommended to get a cat that sheds less if you experience mild allergy symptoms but still want a cat. The cat breeds that don't typically shed as much are Siberians, the Russian Blue, Burmese, and Bengals.
6. All cats benefits from regular teeth cleaning
Dental and gum problems are increasingly common in cats. In fact, they can be the underlying cause of otherwise inexplicable problems, such as sudden weight loss, loss of appetite and depression. To prevent these issues, brush your cat's teeth with a special pet-friendly toothpaste twice a week.
You can also discuss in-clinic cleaning with your vet, as many vets recommend yearly professional cleaning, especially for older cats.
7. How to tell if you have enough litter boxes
Cats are very cleanly pets, and it's usually some kind of issue that's making your cat stray away from their litter box. One of the most common issues is not having enough litter boxes. As a matter of fact, the optimal number of litter boxes per cat is two, and not one, as most people think, and it's also very important to clean them daily to prevent odor and accidents.
So if you find that your cat is prone to accidents, simply adding another litter box may well do the trick. Not all accidents are so accidental, however, and if you noticed that your cat suddenly and persistently started urinating outside of the box, it might be its way of telling you that it has urinary issues. If you suspect that is the case, a trip to the vet will be necessary.
8. How to cat-proof your home
Cats are notorious climbers, so when you get a cat for the first time, you'll need to do a few adjustments to your home decor. Secure all large and heavy objects, such as the TV or bookshelves and make sure the cat won't be able to squeeze itself into the spaces between heavy objects and tip them over, injuring itself.
Also, pay attention to your curtains and the curtain rails, all of these have to be sturdy and attached fast. Eventually, you'll be able to teach your cat not to climb or scratch curtains and other furniture, but it's important nevertheless to prevent any potentially traumatic situations.
9. If your cat vomits regularly, it's not because it has a sensitive digestive system
Some cats, especially those who have hairballs stuck in their digestive tract, are more prone to vomiting, but neither hairballs nor frequent vomiting are normal for a healthy cat. If your cat vomits from time to time, even if only occasionally, don't assume they have hairballs or a sensitive digestive system, as numerous serious health conditions could be manifesting in the same symptom. Get your cat checked to exclude or treat possible serious conditions.
10. Don't administer medication not intended for cats to your feline
You may assume that some medications may have the same effect they have on you on your cat, especially if they're "harmless" OTCs, but this is never the case, as a cat's system is very different from that of a human, as are the doses of these medications.
Unfortunately, cats are very sensitive to medications, and even the slightest misuse can cause severe damage to your cat's liver and kidneys, possibly even fatal damage. For that reason, you should never administer any kind of human or other pet medication to your cat, at least not without a vet's guidance.
11. Some of the foods that are dangerous to your feline
Feeding your cat food from the table is generally ill-advised, but when it comes to the foods we're about to mention, you should make sure your cat can't reach them at all. Common foods, such as grapes and raisins, or chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and even raw dough can all be fatal for cats.
Other foods, such as dairy, raw meat and onions and garlic aren't fatal, but can still upset your pet's stomach, causing diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Finally, keep in mind that your cat friend is nothing like your canine either, and giving it bones or dog food can result in the cat being malnourished and sick. Bones, in particular, have been even found to cause internal cuts and damage in cats.
12. Does your cat cough up hairballs?
If your cat is coughing up hairballs, don't dismiss it as normal behavior, as it really isn't and could lead to complications, such as blockages and chronic digestive issues. As a matter of fact, your cat's stomach should be able to digest the majority of hair it ingests, so if that doesn't happen, it means that your cat's digestive system may be upset.
Hairballs are especially common when your cat is shedding excessively when it's changing its coat in late fall and spring. To help your cat get rid of all that extra fur, brush it daily. You can also opt for a special type of food or supplements that will help your cat digest hairballs easier.