Feline Health Questions

If you're a new pet owner or have had a cat for years, you may have questions about your cat's health. Taking good care of your pet will ensure you have many years of enjoyment together.

Feline Health Questions
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Overview
Taking care of your cat can be the difference in how many years of enjoyment you will receive as a cat owner. You can increase your cat's life span by monitoring its health and visiting your veterinarian for annual checkups and vaccinations.  These steps in addition to your loving care will make for a happy and health cat.
Vaccinations
One of the best lines of defense you can give your cat is to have him vaccinated regularly.  These vaccines do not only protect your cat from imminent diseases, but also build up their resistance to diseases that commonly affect the older cat.  Your veterinarian will recommend a course of vaccinations for your cat, based on whether he is an indoor or outdoor cat, and also based on the region in which you live.  One of the most important vaccines you can give your cat is one for infectious enteritis, a respiratory ailment common in the feline species.  Another important vaccine is one for feline leukemia.

However, some veterinarians and owners do not recommend vaccinations for cats who never venture outdoors or come in contact with other cats.  Holistic vets in particular do not feel they are needed. Also, some vets do not recommend vaccinations for older cats unless they are in an area in which they are more likely to be exposed to certain diseases.

Kidney Disease
Kidney disease is a common ailment especially in the older cat.  It can be caused by a variety of factors including:  bacterial infections, congenital abnormalities, inflammation and even kidney stones.  If your cat shows symptoms of kidney problems, such as a sudden onset of urinary accidents, straining to urinate, or if the urine should develop an unusual odor, you should have your cat checked by the vet as soon as possible, because quicker treatment can mean the difference in whether or not your cat can overcome the problem and return to a normal healthy state.
Fleas
Fleas are probably the one nuisance that you will encounter the most with your cat.  The pesky creatures are easy to get, especially if your cat goes outdoors, and can be extremely hard to get rid of.  To completely get rid of them, you will have to get rid of them not only on the cat, but also in your house and the outdoor environment your cat visits.  Use of pesticides on your cat may be required to kill the fleas and their eggs, and this regimen must be maintained until all flea eggs have hatched and those fleas have been exterminated. You may also have to get an exterminator to help you rid your home and yard of the pesky creatures.
Hairballs
Hairballs are a common problem with cats and they develop from the almost constant grooming a cat does upon himself. Signs of hairballs include gagging, coughing, loss of appetite and constipation. Daily grooming of your cat will help prevent hairball formation, as well as food supplements that will help soften the hairball and make it pass through the digestive tract easier.
Cancer
Feline cancer is more common in the older cat, usually manifesting itself in cats 10 years of age or older.  Your should monitor your older cat for lumps or bumps, unusual growths around its eyes or mouth, rapid weight loss or a change in behavior as all of these symptoms can indicate feline cancer.  Older cats should visit their veterinarian every six months for regular checkups.
Resources
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Cat Health Behavior
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Vet
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Holisticat
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Cat Age

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