Cats are not all the same. They behave in a way that depends on their experiences, inherent personality, and the environment in which they grew. But knowing what makes a cat healthy and adjusting your expectations will help you raise and care for a feline friend that can cope with the new surroundings and become the companion you want.
Here’s what to know about caring for a cat, specifically regarding proper nutrition and grooming, along with the essential cat products you should get.
Cat Nutrition and Grooming Tips
Like any other pet, a cat needs several nutrients to stay healthy and happy – with water as the most important nutrient. Make sure to provide them with fresh, clean water at all times. Dehydration can result in serious diseases or even fatalities.
Aside from water, you must also invest in high-quality commercial pet food. When buying food for your cat, look for the following essential nutrients.
These are the basic building block for cells, organs, antibodies, hormones, enzymes, and tissues – all of which are necessary for growth. Look for animal-based proteins or those derived from fish, eggs, and meat as they contain complete amino acids. Essential amino acids include isoleucine, leucine, lysine, taurine, valine, threonine, histidine, arginine, methionine, and phenylalanine.
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These play a crucial role in a cat’s gut and reproductive health. They also give energy to the body. Though there is no minimum requirement for carbohydrates in cats, there is a minimum requirement for glucose to ensure that it supplies enough energy to critical organs like the brain. Luckily, most cat food brands like Acana and Royal Canin offer a moderate amount of carbohydrates that cats can efficiently and readily use.
These nutrients provide cats with more energy than proteins and carbohydrates. They play a vital role in cell formation, body insulation, organ protection, and hormone production. They are also necessary for the utilization and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Look for essential fatty acids like linoleic acid, omega-6 fatty acid, and arachidonic acid because cats cannot synthesize this vital nutrient in sufficient amounts.
4. Vitamins and Minerals
Cats can’t synthesize most vitamins and minerals. So you need to give them food containing vitamins A and D, manganese, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, and copper. These nutrients are important for a shiny coat and healthy bones, skin, and teeth.
From bathing to nail trims, a little maintenance can go a long way to keep your cat healthy and happy. Here are tips to keep your feline friend’s skin, eyes, ears, and teeth clean.
With their built-in grooming tools (teeth and tongue), cats are equipped to manage their hair care needs. But when they become too dirty or get into something smelly or sticky, they’ll need a bath. To guarantee maximum efficiency and minimal stress, you must
- Schedule their bath when they are at their most mellow.
- Place cotton in their ears.
- Use a rubber mat so they won’t slip.
- Use a hand-held spray hose.
- Gently massage a cat shampoo from head to tail, avoiding the face, eyes, and ears.
- Rinse off the shampoo. Make sure to remove all residue.
- Use a large towel or a blow dryer to dry your cat.
2. Hair Brushing
Brushing your cats once or twice a week will help remove grease, dead hair, skin flakes, and dirt from their coat. This will also help stimulate healthy blood circulation and improve their skin’s overall health condition.
Before brushing your cat, you must check their coat’s condition. Healthy hair is naturally glossy, and it springs back under your hand whenever you touch it. It must be free of unusual bumps, bald patches, wounds, and signs of ticks and fleas.
Keep your Cats Eyes Healthy and Bright With These Simple Tips
- In a well-lit area, face your cat and look it in the eyes. The eyes must be bright and clear. The pupils must be equal in size, and the area surrounding the eyeball must be white.
- Gently roll down their eyelids with your thumb and check their lid’s lining. It must be pink, not white or red.
- Remove any crust or gunk around their eyes using a damp cotton ball. Remove any hair poking into their eyes or blocking their vision. Avoid using eye drops or eyewashes, unless the vet recommends it.
Look Out for
- Any discharge or watering
- Tear-stained fur
- Change in eye color
- White or red eyelid linings
- Visible third eyelid
Furthermore, observe any body language indicating potential eye distress. These may include constantly pawing or squinting. If any of these symptoms arise, visit a vet immediately.
1. Ear Care
Cats need help in keeping their ears clean. Monitor their ears weekly for debris, wax, or infection. A healthy ear lap has hair on its outer surface without bald spots, and its inner surface is light pink and clean. As soon as you notice any swelling, redness, or discharge, bring them to a vet immediately for proper assessment and treatment.
When Cleaning Your Cat’s Ears, You Must
- Drop a bit of liquid ear cleaner over a piece of gauze or clean cotton ball.
- Gently fold their ear back and wipe away any visible earwax or debris.
- Instead of rubbing the wax and dirt into the ear, you must lift these away. More importantly, you should not attempt to clean the ear canal because this can result in infection or trauma.
2. Paw Care
Cats need healthy feet to climb, scratch, and do their famed acrobatic landings. Thus, you must keep their feet clean at all times by giving their paws a daily gentle wipe. Also, keep your carpet flooring free of any household chemicals and debris.
Furthermore, you need to examine your cat’s paws regularly. Make sure they are free from cuts, swelling, splinters, and sores. As soon as you notice any pus, unusual odor, or blood, bring your cat to the vet right away. Vet attention may also be required if you catch your cat limping or cleaning its paws obsessively.
3. Nail Care
A calm and fun nail-trimming session with cats is possible. Here are tips to get your feline to feel relaxed while you trim.
- You need to introduce cats to nail clipping as early as possible. They should feel comfortable whenever they hear the sound of clippers.
- In a quiet room, pick a chair where you can sit comfortably with your cat on your lap, and ensure that no other animals are around.
- Calm the paw by massaging it. Follow your cat’s gesture and avoid pinching or squeezing it whenever the cat pulls its paw away.
- Press your cat’s toe pad to extend the nail out. Clip the long nail, release the paw, and give a treat immediately. Remember not to trim all the claws at one time. Instead, trim one claw every other day until all the nails are trimmed.
Caring for a cat involves a lot of responsibilities, but it is not that difficult.
Equipping yourself with the right knowledge and skills beforehand will make keeping a cat more manageable and enjoyable.
Choose a nutrient-dense cat food and learn how to keep your feline friend well-groomed. If your cat fights during the grooming process, bring your feline friend to a professional pet grooming shop.