Do Cats Really Have 9 Lives?

Maintaining Your Cat's Health For A Long & Happy Life


As much as we wish our furry feline friends did have 9 lives, of course, cats only have one life. However, as the loyal owner of your cat, you do play a role in how long their one life is and how healthy they are throughout their lifetime. So we’ve decided to share with you our top 9 cat health tips for ensuring your cat has a long and happy life - 1 tip for every cat life!


Regular Health Check-Ups

First and foremost, it’s important to book regular health checkups for your cat, just like we do with our doctors. If you’re a new cat owner, find a vet you feel comfortable with and organise an initial checkup to make sure your cat is up to date with vaccines and there are no health concerns for you to worry about.


From there, regardless if your cat is unwell or not, organise an annual checkup to make sure you’re staying on top of your cat’s health. Not only will this make sure your cat is always up to date with their vaccines, but if there is anything that stands out as a concern to the vet, you can get on top of it right away, before your cat becomes unwell.


Identification

While you might be busy sharing snaps of your furry friend on social media, there are more important identification methods you should be taking care of first, so the rest of the world knows you’re the owner of your cat.


Firstly, in that initial checkup with the vet, also organise to have your cat microchipped if they aren’t already. An electronic microchip under your cat’s skin will store all your details so if your worst nightmares do come true and your cat escapes home & goes missing, someone who finds your cat can take them to a vet and have them identified immediately and reunited with you! We covered everything you need to know about microchipping your cat, what it is, the expected cost and how to organise one for your cat in our blog over here.


If you have become the owner of a rescue cat, remember to have their microchip updated with your details too!


Secondly, a collar with an identification tag with your contact details can be crucial if your cat ever happens to escape and fall in the hands of someone else. They may be able to reunite you without needing to go to the vet or cat management facility for a microchip scan. Make sure you use a quick-release collar so your cat can free themselves if the collar becomes caught on vegetation or other obstacles.


Desexing

One last thing to get sorted while you’re at that initial vet checkup! Booking your cat in to get desexed. If you’re unsure about whether or not you should have your cat desexed, you can read a blog on desexing over here and make up your mind. Some cat owners worry that it’s cruel to desex their cat, but in actual fact it is far better for their health in the long run, we cover it all over on the blog.



Dinner Time

Just like humans, cats require a healthy and stable diet in order to maintain good health and live a long life. Speak to your vet about which cat food would be best for your cat based on their age, weight, and other health ailments.


Cats LOVE treats, but it’s important to refrain from feeding them treats too often, treats should only make up around 5% of your cat's diet. A piece of cheese for a cat, is like 3 chocolate bars for us!


Now, cats can be very good at making you think they need more food when they’ve actually already had a generous serve of dinner! You can help your cat to build a healthy feeding routine by feeding them several small meals at set times every single day or using puzzle feeders to add some enrichment to mealtime.


Make sure your cat always has access to fresh clean water, they can have as much of that as they like!


Home Containment

We’ve discussed cat containment in almost every one of our blogs, and that’s because we are extremely passionate about it. Containing your cat in your home will help them live a much longer and happier life; they will have a lower risk of catching diseases, injury and possible early death. Some people may think that containing their cat inside is cruel however with enough stimulation, love and care from their owners, a cat can live very happily indoors. Still not convinced? Read our blog ‘Are Indoor Cats Happy Cats?’ where we cover this topic in more depth.


Cat containment doesn’t necessarily mean your cat has to be only contained inside either! You could take your cat for a walk with a cat leash and harness and enjoy some time outside together, or you may even consider building your own Catio! We had heaps of fun writing a blog about building the purrfect outdoor catio over here.


Gentle Grooming

Although cats are naturally very clean creatures, grooming your cat is an important part of maintaining their health. Cats don’t require bathing, but brushing and combing their coat regularly will keep their coat clean, reduce shedding, and also aid in the prevention of hairballs which are not nice for your cat to experience.


Along with grooming their coat, cleaning your cat's teeth is also very important. Not only will you be happy your cat isn’t breathing their stinky breath in your face, but it’s also crucial in maintaining good feline oral health. It’s also a good chance for you to regularly check your cat’s teeth and gums for any changes or issues. Your vet will be able to assist you in knowing how and what to do when it comes to brushing your cat's teeth!


Exercise

For a long and healthy life, cats should be exercising regularly. Although cats can live a very sedentary lifestyle, it’s important as a cat owner to encourage regular exercise throughout the day. Often, this is through playtime, making it a great time for you to also spend some quality time with your fluffy friend. Each cat should enjoy several short bursts of play each day, adjusted as necessary for their age and health status. If you are able to set a routine, this is reassuring for your cat, cats are most active at dawn and dusk, so this can be a good time for play. Make sure you have plenty of stimulating toys and activities for your cat to play with around the home.


Large scratching trees/posts are a great exercise activity for cats also, as they will climb and jump the tree to access a higher vantage point, watch the family around the home, play around and also scratch their own furniture instead of yours!


Lastly, you may consider exercising your cat by taking them into your backyard on a leash and harness and going for a short walk, or building a catio to play outdoors in.


Staying Stimulated

Cats are extremely curious and instinctual, and harnessing their natural instincts is harmless when done inside your home. Chasing toys, climbing scratching posts, and watching birds from the window are great ways for your cat to stimulate their instincts without harming wildlife. By encouraging these sorts of activities, you can ensure your cat’s mental health is in check and they are living a happy life in the safety of your home.


Bed Time

We all know cats love a good snooze, so having comfortable and clean bedding will keep your cat extremely happy and content. Cats love quiet spaces, so remember to pop their bed somewhere that no one in the family or other pets will bother them, giving them a quiet sanctuary to retreat to for privacy and seclusion when needed.


There you have it! Instead of 9 cat lives, we give you 9 tips so your cat can live ONE long, happy, and healthy life! As cat owners, it’s our responsibility to take care of our cat's health and enable them to live a long & happy life. We hope that our blog can help you learn more about being a cat owner and giving your cat the best life possible! For regular tips in your social feed and just general cute cat photos, remember to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

© Tasmanian Cat Management Project 2019

TassieCat is a state-wide initiative to promote and facilitate responsible cat ownership and management in Tasmania. The project is supported by Cradle Coast Authority NRM, Kingborough Council, and NRM North through funding from the Tasmanian Government.