How can you help your kitten live a long and healthy life? Although you can’t predict the health of your cat with certainty, you can increase the probability of both general health and long life through proper care that begins as soon as you bring your kitten home. Your veterinarian can advise on the following considerations:
Diet: Feed your kitten high-quality food designed to meet the nutritional needs during specific stages of her life. A cat’s nutritional requirements will depend on her life stage and lifestyle, especially for kittens. No matter the life stage, cats are carnivores and require nutrients from animal protein and fat for optimal health.
Exercise: Prevent obesity with prudent portion control and frequent play activities. Exercise relieves stress, reduces aggression, and keeps cats alert. Just 15 to 30 minutes of play a day can help keep your cat in shape and strengthen the bond between the two of you. In addition, getting your kitten used to play time early on will help you get used to playing with your cat routinely.
Living conditions: Keep your kitten inside to help reduce the risk of illness or injury from accidents, fights, and disease. As your kitten gets older, you can help avoid the stress of harassment from other animals by keeping your kitten inside. You should make your home safe by protecting your cat from environmental dangers, such as household cleaners and secondhand smoke. Cats frequently groom themselves with their tongues and over time, even small amounts of harmful chemicals can have adverse effects.
Medical/dental care: Groom your kitten early and often to get her used to brushing. When doing so, check for bumps or abnormalities, and promptly seek veterinary advice if you discover anything suspicious. Take your cat to the veterinarian at least annually for a complete physical exam, and follow your veterinarian’s advice regarding preventive health care measures. Periodic professional cleaning of your cat’s teeth may be recommended by your veterinarian; dental cleaning may add years to her life.
Affection: Last but not least, give your cat lots of love! Despite the aloof demeanor of some, all cats thrive on affection. Both you and your cat will reap the benefits of spending quality time together.