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How to Ensure that Your Cat is Healthy and Lives a Long and Happy Life

Incredible advances in veterinary medicine are making it possible for cats to live longer, healthier lives than ever before. The quality of your cat's health is the result of a partnership between you and your veterinarian. You must be confident that the vet you have chosen will take good care of your cats.

When you first get your cat, be sure to have your veterinarian examine her within 10 days. In addition to getting baseline weights and measurements on her, your vet will want to check her blood and stools for illness and parasites. If you have never had a cat before, the first visit is a good time to get a demonstration in cleaning your pet's ears and clipping her toenails properly.

A proper diet and sufficient exercise are key factors in keeping your cat healthy. You must make sure the food you give your cat is of good quality to provide her with the correct amounts of nutrients to keep her systems running. If you are confused by the variety of brands of cat food available, ask your veterinarian for some help. Don't be embarrassed to tell him how much you are able/willing to spend for pet food. There are some excellent brands that are not very expensive, and some expensive brands that are not very good.

Exercise not only keeps your cat's weight under control, it strengthens her muscles and enhances her immune system. Some cats are naturally active. Others need anywhere from a little to a lot of encouragement from you to get moving. Set aside some dedicated playtime each day with your cat, and she'll be more inclined to get physical.

Yearly "well-cat" appointments with your veterinarian help track your cat's health. A thorough going-over under the vet's expert eye can catch early skin or eye conditions and other physical changes that you might not notice on a day-to-day basis. Blood and stool samples allows your vet to diagnose and treat disease and parasites before they reach a critical state.

The yearly vet visit is also a good time to mention any "strange habits" your cat may have developed over the last year. Often, these have simple explanations, but some behaviors, such as licking paint or eating strange substances can indicate a medical condition.

One of the most important aspects of the yearly vet visit is updating your cat's vaccinations. Even if you keep your cat strictly indoors, it is important to have her vaccinated against diseases such as rabies, panleukopenia, calcivirus, Chlamydia and feline leukemia virus. If your cat were to get out of the house and wander, she has protection against some of the diseases that cost less fortunate cats their lives.

How Do You Find a Veterinarian?

* Get recommendations from other cat owners in your area.

* Ask cat groomers or emergency clinics for recommendations.

* Neighbors or your local pet supply store may be able to make suggestions.

* If you've just moved to the area, ask your former veterinarian if he/she could recommend a veterinarian in your new hometown

The process for selecting a veterinarian is very much like choosing your own personal physician. You want to find a doctor that you feel comfortable talking with, someone who encourages all of your questions and supports you in all the health care choices you make on your cat's behalf.

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