Home Care for Adoptive and Foster Cats
Staying on top of your cat's health starts in the home. Here are a few care tips to ensure kitty stays in great shape.
Ears, teeth, nose and toes
Ears can be trouble spots for dirt or infection. Take a good look at your cat's ears—just the outside parts—and wipe away any dirt with a tissue or a cotton ball. If you see redness or a discharge, or if you smell anything funny, call your vet.
Just like with humans, regular dental care will prevent problems later on. Brushing your cat's teeth takes preparation and training. Start by dipping your finger in chicken broth and get him used to licking your finger. Then gently rub his teeth or gums. In time you can introduce special cat toothpaste—never the human variety!—and a small piece of cloth or brush to clean kitty's teeth.
Your cat's nose should be cool and generally a little damp; an excessively dry nose or a chronic discharge from the nose or eyes, should be checked out by a vet.
The tip of your cat's claws can cause a lot of damage to your couch, rugs and even the skin of you or a guest. So make sure you have a good scratching post. Trimming kitty's nails helps, too. That will make her life easier and prevent long claws from getting caught on fabrics and furniture.
A cat's litter box habits should be fairly regular. If you notice that the box isn't as dirty as usual, or if your cat is straining or crying out when in the litter box, something may be wrong. Take kitty to the vet if you have any suspicions.
For medium and long-haired cats, regular grooming is essential; cut out matting and brush out the coat to help keep it clear and tangle-free. This will help minimize hairballs, too.
When to see the vet
If your cat is not eating or exhibits worrisome symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea or pain for more than a day, take it in for care right away!
When it comes to health, an ounce or two of prevention will keep your cat around for a long time, and make life a lot easier for both of you.