How can cat owners help their feline friends to live a healthy and fulfilled life?
As we all know, being chosen by a cat is a privilege and an honour… it is certainly not to be taken lightly and for those of us lucky enough to have been selected as suitable feline companions, we should always be thinking of how best we can serve support our feline friends.
In this article, Dr. Katrin Jahn, Head Veterinary Doctor at GVC, discusses why feline health and happiness are so closely linked and shares her team’s 5 top tips for any cat owner wanting to do the best for their cat.
Think beyond the basics
There are many considerations that we can and should be doing naturally as part of our responsibilities and if we think in simple terms then the ability to provide a safe, clean and healthy environment is always going to be the foundation to start from, throw in the essentials of food and clean drinking water and we’re certainly off to a good start.
However, to really make a difference and become not just a home giver but a meaningful and positive part of our cats’ lives, we need to think beyond the basics and look at how and where happiness can be created and nurtured.
As we all know, every cat has its own unique personality and there is no one-size fits all approach…. But there are a few common tips that will always be well-received!
Head Nurse Nora’s 5 Top Tips
Take a read through these top 5 tips below (provided by our Head Nurse Nora, who we think may well be part feline), in no particular order:
Lots of pet owners think cats are “easier” or “lower maintenance” than dogs and that they require less care. This may be true of walks and exercise, but we have to remember cats cherish their time with us – over thousands of years they have CHOSEN to domesticate themselves with us, which is very special. So we need to recognise the privilege and make time for affection, relaxation and play with our cats.
2. Preventative health care
The truism in health that prevention is better than cure applies very much to all animals, but cats can be particularly stoic and not always present outward symptoms of pain and/or suffering. We can prevent fatal diseases and nasty parasites by simple and regular routine visits to the vets, it’s easy and the best first line of any pet’s health care (watch this space, as GVC will be soon launching our “Pet Health Club ” annual care package!)
And we don’t just mean WHAT we feed our feline friends…. But HOW we feed these wonderful creatures… Cats are SOLITARY HUNTERS (as well as obligate carnivores). The hunting aspect in particular is extremely important and can help to teach us the correct ways to feed. Helping a cat to act out its natural tendencies and impulses can support positive play and avoid frustration based behavioural issues. Like us humans, cats really do like to keep their minds occupied and healthy (and yes, even when snoozing all day).
Brushing your cat promotes bonding (see point 1), besides the obvious aesthetic and comfort reasons. It really is enjoyable and relaxing for your cat. Using the correct brush is key. Grooming for cats is also a crucial welfare issue, it can make the difference between comfort and being stricken by crippling matts (especially in long haired breeds). It is best started from a young age but also has a huge place to play for senior cats who may struggle to self-groom.
5. Dental care
Dental disease is a silent epidemic extremely prominent in cats and can be greatly reduced by diligent dental care at home. Regular checks at the vets are also essential and it is probable that many cats will need dental work done surgically every 3-4 years (please do keep this in mind as your cats’ health and happiness can literally depend on it). Look out for more dental tips coming soon on our blogs page.
This is an area that we are all verrrrry passionate about at GVC and can talk about in huge detail. This may not seem as “fun” or exciting as the first four points, but dental care may well be the most crucial thing that we can all positively impact but that is so often overlooked.
Now, we know that none of the above are beyond every cat lover’s ability. As the first clinic in the Middle East to receive the ISFM Gold Standard Cat-Friendly Clinic award, we recommend regular checks at GVC because feline health and happiness are inseparably intertwined. The fact is that by accepting a fantastic feline into our homes we are making a commitment that is worth every dirham spent in the joy and love they bring.
To book your cat in for a feline check-up today, please call us on 971 (0)2 556 2024 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.