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Keeping Your Cat Healthy
By Virginia Clemans, DVM
You can do many things to help ensure that your cat
stays healthy. One of them is regular veterinary care.
You should seek veterinary care at the very first sign of
illness, rather than waiting a day or two to see if the cat
gets better on his own. A quick call to your veterinarian
can often mean the difference between a rapid recovery
and the development of serious complications. If
you’re attentive to your cat’s behavior, you can greatly
enhance the likelihood that your kitty will live a long,
Remember that cats age about five times faster than
humans. The average life expectancy for cats is
about 14 years and depends on genetics, nutrition,
environment, and vaccinations. Cats should receive
a physical exam yearly until the age of eight, and
then bi-annual exams should be done. Follow your
veterinarian’s recommendations regarding necessary vaccines. Even if no vaccinations
are needed, your cat still needs a physical exam annually or bi-annually. At this time,
your veterinarian will also make recommendations regarding your cat’s diet and
Important things to be aware of include your cat’s appetite or thirst (increase or
decrease), constipation or diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, lumps or bumps, sneezing
or nasal discharge, urination problems, weakness and weight loss. When you seek
veterinary care, be prepared to provide a history of these problems. You should be able
to answer these questions:
• How long has the problem been present?
• Is the problem getting worse or staying the same?
• Have any home treatments been tried and what are they?
Be as thorough and concise as possible when telling your vet about the problem. To
have the best outcome possible, follow your veterinarian’s treatment recommendations
closely. If you are unable to administer the prescribed medications or treatments, report
this immediately so that an alternative can be prescribed. Remember, if the treatmen