With all their barking, jumping and licking, dogs tend to get a lot of attention – often to the dismay of the nearest cat. Those stealthy, watchful felines can be relatively unobtrusive (unless they want to be heard, that is), so they sometimes get overlooked or lumped together with dogs (which they hate) when it comes to advice on keeping pets healthy.
So in honor of our feline companions, we devote a little cat time to offer some tips to keep them healthy.
Nutrition Is a Biggie
Whether it’s about human, dog or cat, true health really always starts with food. Cats are obligate carnivores – in other words, they’re meat-eaters (even more so than dogs). So, they do best on a meat-based diet, as opposed to grain or vegetable-based. Grain is an unnecessary component for a cat’s diet; vegetables are OK, but not necessary in large quantities. Keeping protein high and carbs low is usually the way to go with cats. As with the rest of us, fresh and whole foods are best for felines as well. Because kibble is highly processed, it is not recommended. Canned food is an improvement, but even better is home cooked or raw.
Don’t Forget the Water
Again, what’s good for us is also good for our cats. Always have fresh, filtered – preferably fluoride-free – water available to them.
Maybe It’s Time for a Litter Change
Unlike dogs, most cats do their business in the house. There are numerous brands and types of cat litters out there touted for absorbency and odor-protection. But are they healthy? When considering a cat litter, think about the fact that your cat is typically in a confined space breathing in whatever is coming out of that litter while he relieves himself. So, avoid litters with fragrances as they might be irritating to your cat. Also, there has been some controversy over the sodium bentonite contained in some clumping litters – there’s been concern of cats getting internal blockages from ingesting the litter. If you want to play it on the safe side, there are many other alternatives, including wood shavings.
Make Time for Play Time
Cats may sleep all day, but they do have that wild streak (unfortunately for us, it often hits in the middle of the night). Though they usually don’t fetch or walk on a leash, they still need exercise and to keep their minds active. Figure out what keeps your cat engaged and offer it up to him regularly.
Many holistic veterinarians are recommending less vaccinations for cats (and dogs) rather than more. They are recommending a much less aggressive vaccine schedule because there is a growing consensus among the holistic-minded that overvaccination is leading to a host of health problems.