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Cat Wellness from Whiskers to Tail

According to the Guinness World Records, the longest-lived pet cat was Creme Puff, who shared more than 38 years with her caring owner in Texas. Creme Puff enjoyed a uniquely indulgent diet and a home customized with steps built into the walls, a screened enclosure in the backyard and a movie theater that played nature documentaries.

Although you might not be able to provide your cat with all the same perks as Creme Puff, you can take a holistic approach to their care that strengthens the chances of a very long and happy life.

What Is Holistic Wellness for Cats?

In a word, comprehensive. Holistic wellness considers everything that affects your cat’s physical, mental, behavioral and emotional health, and how these states interact with one another. It is an all-inclusive strategy for determining the best preventive care for your cat.

We’ll look at some of the typical areas to focus on, from internal health to outer appearance, and how a holistic approach benefits your cat’s care.

grey stiped cat laying on table at vet office getting checked out

Building a Vet Relationship

Any kitten or cat that joins your family should first visit the vet. This is an important part of any care plan: Having a baseline for your feline’s health and a record of care to refer to over the years is key. Because cats hide injury and illness well, you’ll be thankful for the information in early medical records.

Cat Vaccinations

Vaccination will help prevent your cat from contracting highly contagious and potentially deadly diseases. This is a crucial step in preventive care, with multiple vaccines recommended for both kittens and cats. The particular vaccines they receive (and how often) depend on a number of factors that can vary from one cat to another.

calico cat eating cat food on ground of kitchen

Cat Nutrition and Weight Management

The numbers indicate that lean cats tend to live longer — not that your cat should go without the good foods and treats that make life worth living! It’s simply a matter of monitoring your cat’s body condition and balancing quality nutrition with frequent exercise to keep your cat on their toes and off their belly.

cat being brushed by owner sitting in owners lap

Shiny Fur, Healthy Skin

Grooming takes up a fair amount of your cat’s waking hours, and it shows in their orderly appearance. You can do your part by feeding your pet a diet of high-quality foods and supplements. Sometimes when a cat develops issues such as dry skin or a thinning coat, it can be traced to a food’s low nutritional value or an allergic reaction to certain ingredients. If your cat is grooming less than usual, it could be tied to a psychological or physical issue.

Dental Care for Your Cat

Cats needs dental care as much as we do. By the time they’re 3 to 4 years old, there’s a good chance your cat will have some form of dental disease. This can be not only painful but also detrimental to liver, kidney and heart health. Though they require sedation, regular dental cleanings are highly recommended for adult cats. You can also try giving your cat dental supplements and treats designed to help scrape buildup from their teeth as they chew.

cat sleeping on back of couch

Sleeping Well

Despite the impression that cats can nap anytime and anywhere, your pet needs the right conditions to get the proper amount of rest. If they prefer a cat bed, be sure it accommodates their size. If they’re used to their own quiet sleeping spot and something has changed in your home environment, find them an alternate space or a way to reduce any stressors. If your cat seems to sleep more than the typical 16 to 18 hours per day for a healthy adult or has discomfort lying down and getting up, this could signal an underlying health problem.

cat playing, pulling toy on window

Sensory Enrichment

Provide your cat with stimulating activities that help reinforce natural behaviors like hunting, stalking, climbing and pouncing. You can mix and match a range of tactics for satisfying your cat’s instincts. Toys with motion, puzzle feeders, vertical climbing features, cardboard boxes to hide in, the sights, sounds and smells coming through a window screen — it all makes life richer for your cat and helps fend off behavioral issues.

Socialization and Play

Bonding with your cat early will set the tone for your relationship in all the years to come. Having a good connection with you will also make it easier for your cat to socialize with other people and pets — you are part of their pride, so if you’re receptive to a person or animal, they might be more open to them as well. Simply spend time interacting with your cat: Plenty of healthy playtime helps them avoid boredom, stress and anxiety, all of which can affect their physical and psychological well-being.

Cat Behavioral Changes

Depending on your cat’s personality, sometimes a shift in behavior won’t be obvious or immediate enough to be recognized. Loss of appetite or sudden aggression are easy to spot, but you might not notice if your cat is a little lethargic or out of sight more often. Be vigilant for any changes in behavior — they’re often caused by an underlying medical problem, and the more you can get ahead of it, the better.

cat looking up at owner while getting pet

Aging Gracefully

As your cat saunters into their senior years, they won’t jump, run or play with quite the same energy anymore. You’ll have to adjust their diet for natural changes in their bodily systems. Places they relax will need more padding for aging joints and bones, and if they’re getting thinner, they’ll want warmer spots for napping. That ceiling-high climbing tree? Time to trade it in for a low-rise model with easier access.

Your cat shares a lot of traits with the rest of the feline population, but there’s just something special that makes them one of a kind. By taking a holistic approach to your cat’s wellness, you can do all the little things that take a big step toward a healthy and happy life together.

 

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