Most cat owners can identify with the sometimes unusual and questioning looks that cross felines’ faces when they want humans to address their every desire, even though giving in to some of those desires would not be in the best interest of the cat.
National Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day is Jan. 22, and pet owners can respond to their quizzical cat’s questions with the assistance of veterinarians from the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA). The veterinarians compiled a list of answers to questions cats may be pondering in order to help cat owners understand feline health and behavioral issues.
1. I love it inside, but sometimes I want to go out and roam around. Is that OK?
The great outdoors may look enticing, but it’s best to stay inside. Indoor cats live longer and have fewer diseases and injuries than outdoor cats. A nice window with a good view can help cats experience outdoor attractions.
2. Should my fur be brushed? And do I really need to take baths?
It’s not critical to brush short-haired cats, but long-haired cats need frequent brushing to prevent them from developing matted fur. Cats typically don’t need baths; they keep themselves pretty clean on their own.
3. Are hairballs a common malady? What can my human do to prevent them?
Hairballs can be common, especially in long-haired cats. Lots of brushing and a diet with increased fiber can help curtail hairballs.
4. My house is so warm and cozy, do I really need an annual exam?
Yes. One year in a cat’s life is comparable to five to seven years in a human life, and many things could happen within that time frame. Cats should be examined yearly to look for problems and to ensure they are staying healthy.
5. My human always complains that I have bad breath. I think it smells great!
Bad breath is an indication of gingivitis, which is a common problem in cats due to lack of brushing and flossing. If left untreated, it can develop into periodontal disease resulting in painful abscesses and tooth loss. Cats should have their teeth examined yearly and cleaned in the early stages of gingivitis to prevent further complications.
6. Can I take human medicines like aspirin, anti-diarrheal medication or other over-the-counter products designed for humans?
Absolutely not. Cats should never be given medication intended for humans unless prescribed by a veterinarian. Cats are sensitive to these medications, which could cause severe illness or death if ingested.
7. What about heartworms, fleas and ticks? Can anything protect me from these pests?
Medications are available to protect cats from all of these parasites, and veterinarians can recommend effective treatments.
Cat owners should consult with a veterinarian to address concerns about a cat’s behavior, nutrition and care.