It is easy to miss subtle signs of illness in cats. Here are some suggestions to prevent problems and help keep your pet purring.
Step 1: Get preventive care Make sure your cat has adequate preventive care. This should include an annual comprehensive exam with a licensed veterinarian.
TIP: Spay or neuter your pet. Each year more than 7 million cats end up in shelters, and more than half of them are euthanized.
Step 2: Take your cat to the vet if it becomes ill Take your cat to the vet as soon as it shows signs of illness. Cats can hide their ailments, and you may think the cat is healthy. Make all your regularly scheduled appointments, and look for changes in behavior that may be a symptom of a bigger problem.
Step 3: Address parasites Talk to your vet about the best ways to remove parasites -- fleas, tapeworms, ear mites, hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and ticks -- from your cat.
Step 4: Provide water Be sure to give your cat enough water. A serious water deficiency can lead to serious illness or death.
TIP: Feeding your cat canned food along with dry food can help. Canned food is 78 percent water, as opposed to dry food, which is only 5 or 10 percent.
Step 5: Feed sparingly Feed your cat sparingly. Obesity is the most common nutritional disease seen in cats.
FACT: Scientists have found evidence that the dog and cat's common ancestor was a weasel-like animal called Miacris, which lived 40 or 50 million years ago.