Your Cat's Health from 1 to 8 Years
Your Cat's Health from 1 to 8 Years

A Comprehensive Cat Care Guide

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Cats are said to be one of the most intelligent creatures on this planet. They are the ideal embodiment of agility, mobility, speed, and grace. However, between ages 1 to 8, cats go through numerous transitions, equivalent to a teenager transitioning to middle age. As a caregiver, you need to ensure that you provide your cat with everything it needs to stay healthy – rich sources of nutrition, freshwater, etc. A cat's health needs to be monitored closely and any abnormalities should be reported to the vet. In fact, pet parents should care for their cat right from its kitten stage. It will help you keep any older cat health problems at bay in the long run. If you are unaware of how to care for cats between ages one to eight, read on. We made a list of everything that you need to know about caring for a cat!

Ways to maintain cat health

As a first-time pet parent, it can be difficult to navigate your way through your cat’s needs and wants. Here are a few things you must ensure to keep your cat healthy:

  1. Brush your cat every day

    Cats have a habit of licking their fur to groom themselves. This results in the production of hairballs in their system. Brushing or combing your cat daily can help reduce the number of hairballs in its digestive tract. This is a simple way to make grooming easy for your feline friend and help keep its system clean. 

  2. Provide sufficient food and water

    Cats are carnivores, they rely on meat as their primary source of nutrition. Pet parents must remember to include meat in their cat’s diet. Avoid feeding dry food in large quantities, as it can have a negative impact on your cat’s health. Cats derive most of their water intake from the food that they consume. Canned foods contain almost 78% water, whereas dry food contains only 5% to 10% water. So, too much dry food or only dry food can leave your cat dehydrated. And dehydration is one of the leading causes of older cat health problems. So, keep your cat nourished and hydrated at all times. 

    However, when it comes to food, cats can be a tad picky. Some cats prefer dry food over wet food, and vice versa. If you have a cat that feasts on dry cat food, fret not. All you need to do is ensure fresh water is always accessible and provide it with dry foods that are packed with nutrition! At IAMS™, our range of dry cat food not only contains high-quality proteins but also ingredients like Omega 3, fish oil, minerals, and more. We make sure that your cat receives all the right nutrients to have a shiny coat and healthy immune system.

  3. Place multiple litter boxes for your cat

    As far as litter boxes go, every cat should have its own. It is also advised for pet parents to keep an additional box for emergency situations. Furthermore, placing litter boxes at the right location is also important. People usually place litter boxes under their furniture, in the basement, or in dark corners. Cats may not always be comfortable with such settings. They prefer having an eye on their surroundings while doing the business. So, if you notice that your cat is not using the litter box, try changing its location.

  4. Figure out why your cat is peeing outside the litter box

    It is frustrating when your cat does not use the litter box and dirties other areas of your home. The best way to resolve this issue is by finding out why it is doing so. First, take your cat to the vet to rule out any cat health problems like urinary tract infections. If illnesses are not the root cause, try changing the location as well as the litter box.

  5. Train your cat to use a scratching post

    Another issue that pet parents face is their cat scratching different surfaces or ripping home decor fabric to shreds. Scratching is an instinctive behavior for cats.  They do so to express different emotions. Many cat parents are oblivious to the fact that their pet needs a scratching post. Place it in a spot where your cat can easily notice it. You can also sprinkle some catnip on the post to attract your cat.

  6. Spay or neuter your cat

    Neutering or spaying your cat is beneficial in multiple ways. Cats generally get aggressive as they go into heat. Female cats are very uncomfortable during this period, and unneutered male cats tend to fight with each other. These fights can also result in the transmission of diseases through scratches and bites. Other than that, female cats can conceive at just four months of age, and raising a kindle of kittens can be stressful.

  7. Most common cat health issues

     If you are a new cat parent, you must keep an eye out for common cat health issues. Going for routine health check-ups is highly recommended so that you can spot any early signs of kitten health problems.

  8. Vomiting

    Vomiting is one of the most common cat health issues and it can happen due to many reasons. Your cat can vomit because of hairballs, eating something inedible, diabetes, urinary tract infection, etc. If you notice your cat heaving abdominally or drooling, take it to the vet immediately.

  9. Fleas

    Fleas bother almost all furry pets and are a common cat health problem. Fortunately, this is a problem that can be treated easily. Look out for signs such as:

    • Hair loss

    • Skin infections

    • Excessive scratching and itching

    • Frequent licking 

    Regardless of any signs, pet parents are recommended to get their cats checked for fleas regularly.

  10. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

    Female and male cats who are unfit, overweight, or consume a lot of dry food tend to get FLUTD. Co-existing with multiple cats, sudden lifestyle changes, and stress can also influence the occurrence of this disease. Here are a few symptoms that cat parents can look out for:

    • Dehydration

    • Loss of appetite

    • Frequent vomiting

    • Visible discomfort while urinating

    • Licking around the genitalia

    • Blood in their urine

    • Urinating outside the litter box

    Your vet can recommend the right treatment according to the type of FLUTD your cat has.

  11. Eye problems

    Eye problems can occur because of many reasons such as glaucoma, cataracts, conjunctivitis, inflammation, different viruses, retinal diseases, and trauma. Symptoms that suggest eye problems include watery eyes, red eyes, gunk deposits in one or both eyes, cloudiness, white or red lining, and squinting. The best you can do is wipe off any dirt or gunk from your cat’s eyes and take it to the vet.

  12. Diarrhoea

    Eating spoiled foods, liver diseases, cancer, infection, and other health issues can cause diarrhoea in cats. Common symptoms of diarrhoea are watery or loose stools. This condition can last for days, weeks, or months, depending on the cause. If your cat is suffering from this condition, make sure you provide it with a lot of fresh water and take it to the vet. 

Signs of a healthy cat

You now know how to provide and care for your cat, and what problematic signs you need to look out for. Now let’s explore the signs of good cat health:

  1. Good grooming:

    The most common positive sign of great health in cats is grooming. In fact, they might even attempt to groom other pets or you. If you notice your cat licking you, that means it is trying to groom you, suggesting that they feel comfortable around you and trust you.
  2. Purrs:

    If you can describe your cat as a pet who purrs a lot, rest assured that your feline friend is happy and content with its life. Cats tend to purr when they receive back scratches while some cats may purr generally, indicating that they are happy and at peace.
  3. Relaxed and comfortable:

    A cat that is always on alert will have its back arched and ears flattened. Happy cats, on the other hand, can be spotted relaxing and sleeping. Certain positions like sitting with their paws tucked in and eyes almost closed tell us that they are at ease.
  4. Dilated eyes:

    Cats dilate their eyes suddenly when they are happy. Some people presume that they do this just before becoming aggressive, but that is not the case.
  5. Lifted/twitchy tail:

    Just like dogs, you can tell a lot about a cat from its tail. When a cat feels confident, it will hold its tail high and twitch the top when it is happy.
  6. Good appetite:

    A hungry cat is a happy cat! If your cat eats well, gets excited about meals, rubs against your legs, and guides you to where you store its food, it means that it is excited about its meals and has a good appetite.
  7. Sound sleep:

    Cats are known for their naps. They can sleep anywhere, anytime, indicating that they are happy. If your cat likes sleeping on you or near you, it means that they trust you.
  8. Playful attitude:

    Playful pets are happy pets. A playful cat loves to run and jump around or play with toys as well as their pet parents. This suggests that it likes its surroundings and has bonded with its caregivers.
  9. Forward-facing ears:

    If your cat has forward-facing ears, it is a good sign because it signals that it is receptive. Upset cats tend to fold their ears against their head.

Frequently asked questions

  1. What are the 5 signs of a healthy cat?
  2. Here are 5 signs of good cat health:

    • Purring
    • Lifted tail
    • Playful nature
    • Healthy sleep habits

  3. What health issues can cats have?
  4. Here are some common cat health issues:

    • Vomiting
    • Loose stools
    • Crying while peeing
    • Eye abnormalities

  5. How can I help my cat get healthy?
  6. If you want to maintain your cat’s health, take your pet to the vet regularly for an annual medical examination. Along with periodic health check-up, ensure that you:

    • Give your cat meat-based meals
    • Provide freshwater
    • Allow easy access to litter boxes

  7. How can I check my cat’s health?
  8. To monitor your cat’s health, look for signs of illnesses like vomiting, diarrhoea, and problems during urination. These symptoms suggest that your cat might be falling sick. Signs such as good sleep, healthy appetite, and a playful attitude suggest that your cat is healthy.

  • How to Take Care of a Kitten: 8 Tips on Raising a Kitten Into a Healthy Cat
    How to Take Care of a Kitten: 8 Tips on Raising a Kitten Into a Healthy Cat
    How To Take Care Of A Kitten

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    Bringing a kitten home is an experience full of joy and warmth. The internet is filled with kitten photos and videos, and you are soon going to find out why! However, these cute creatures are extremely delicate and need hands-on attention while growing up. If you bring home a kitten without a mother, you will have to be extra careful with it. Every cat parent should be well-informed about how to take care of newborn kittens or kittens in general.

    We have put together a few tips to get you started on your journey of raising a kitten. From vet visits and food selection to grooming and keeping it hydrated, this article will give you a basic understanding of how to take care of a kitten.

    Take your kitten for regular check-ups

    Routine check-ups are highly recommended for kittens. Once you get a kitten home, your responsibility as a caregiver is to take it to the vet for a basic health check-up. During this check-up, the veterinarian will check for any health concerns that need to be addressed immediately. They will also walk you through the vaccination and spaying/neutering process. If you are a first-time cat parent, do not hesitate from asking doubts and questions regarding your cat’s health and well-being.

    Keep your kitten hydrated

    Since a dehydrated kitten can be vulnerable to many diseases and infections, make sure that fresh water is easily accessible. In fact, place multiple water bowls around the house for it to drink from. Clean these bowls regularly and fill them up with fresh water. If the vet recommends, you can also give your kitten electrolyte water.

    Provide your kitten with balanced nutrition

    A newborn kitten should be fed by its mother for the first few weeks. However, kitties that find a new home generally get separated from their mother at an early age. If you have adopted a newborn pet, you probably do not know how to take care of a kitten without a mother. Start by visiting a vet to receive a comprehensive feeding guide. It will help you meet the kitty’s nutritional needs. You might also have to switch to a different type of food at different stages like teething.

    Cats are carnivores; hence, their food intake is majorly meat. Ensure that the dry food you give your cat is made with high-quality protein. Made with chicken as the main ingredient, IAMS Proactive Health Mother and Kitten is a protein-rich meal option for your kitten. This kitten food also contains Omega 3, Colostrum, and DHA to support healthy eye and brain development!

    Comfort and pamper your kitten

    Cats are independent creatures that enjoy their space. However, from time to time, they also like being cuddled and picked up. They will also show affection in their own unique ways. Give your kitten some time to settle in and gradually start introducing it to your touch. Gently hold it and pamper it. Bring a few fun toys for it to play with. Kittens generally love playing with bells, strings, or anything that they can chase.

    Help your kitten socialise with other family members

    Taking care of a kitten involves introducing it to its new family members – including other pets – from the day it is brought home. After all, your new kitten will be the newest addition to the clan! If you are worried about your dog and cat not getting along because of age-old assumptions, let us assure you, it is nothing but a myth. However, some dogs may not be able to differentiate a cat from a rabbit and their prey instincts could kick in. If this happens, you need to train your dog by familiarising it with your kitten’s scent. Most dog breeds are hostile in nature and can coexist with other pets easily. Socialising for your kitten will also include grooming days, check-up days, and more.

    Groom your kitten’s fur

    Cats love grooming themselves and are very particular about how they look. However, kittens may need some help, especially in cases where they dirty themselves. Your vet will educate you about ways in which you can give your delicate and tiny kitten a bath. Post that, brush your kitten’s fur coat. Now, brushing its coat does not only remove dirt and dead hair, but it also regulates blood circulation, giving your kitty a healthy glow!

    Litter train your kitten

    Litter training is one of the most important aspects of raising a kitten. Choose a litter box that is big enough for your kitten to do its business. Finding the right type of litter may take some experimenting, but you will soon get there! Fortunately, cats usually eliminate in sandy or granular places by nature. So, when you introduce it to a litter box, chances are that it will use it right away. If your feline friend doesn’t, give it some time to get comfortable. Keep cleaning the litter box periodically to ensure hygiene.

    Dedicate a comfortable sleeping space for your kitten

    As a cat parent, you must pay attention to your kitty’s sleeping space. Kittens and cats are heavy sleepers; kittens can even sleep for 20 hours a day! For the first few nights, make sure your kitten sleeps next to your bed. It is normal for these feline creatures to cry during the first few days as everything is new. However, your kitten will eventually start getting used to its new space and sleep for long hours. Once it starts doing that, you can set up a cosy corner for it to sleep in. If you are wondering how to take care of a newborn kitten, just make sure that you place it somewhere near your bed. This will help you hear any cries and come to their aid as soon as possible.