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Love Your Pet: Cat Healthcare

Love Your Pet

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) — We treat them like family, feed them like family, and play with them like children. But even though you may be spoiling your cat with food and toys, there are other important steps to take when caring for them. Make sure to keep up with their health.

22News went to the VCA Boston Road Animal Hospital in Springfield to talk with a veterinarian about all the different ways you can make sure your furry friend is in good health.

The vast majority of house cats are overweight. If you have to put too much pressure on their bodies as you pet them to be able to feel their ribs, they’re too heavy. Looking from the side, they should not have a belly, instead of either a straight line or better yet, their stomach tucking up toward their lower spine. They should have a waist like many dogs, and should not look like they swallowed a basketball. If they are overweight, try more playtime, and food heavier in meats rather than grains.

You should also bring both indoor and outdoor cats for an annual check-up with vaccinations. But their care is different.

“Your indoor cats are not interacting with other animals as much. And so your outdoor cat should definitely be vaccinated for feline leukemia, that is a disease that stray cats can give your cat through fighting, they can get it through saliva.”

Deborah Lytle, a veterinarian with VCA Boston Road Animal Hospital

If your cat goes outdoors, also regularly check for any wounds or sore spots. If your cat is older than 8 or 9 years old, it’s best to bring them to a vet every 6 months.

Your cat should have scratching posts to relieve their natural need to scratch, stretch and relieve stress.

But despite your best efforts, sometimes they can still get sick.

“So things to look for that might indicate that your cat is not feeling well is certainly if they are not eating, or if there’s a rapid change in the amount of food they are eating, or the water they are drinking — either too much or not enough. Litter box habits, if they’re possibly not using a litter box that they used to before.”

Carmine DiCenso, the executive director of Dakin Humane Society

There should be one more litter box in your house than the number of cats you have.

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