It's a sad day for kitty mamas when your cat is feeling under the weather. However, you can keep your cat in tip-top shape by implementing a few steps to prevent him from contracting these common health problems.
Believe it or not, your cat can become stressed out just like his owner. Showing his anxiety by hiding away from the world, pulling out hair, shaking, or meowing more than normal, the cat expresses his stress in ways very similar to humans. Common factors of stress include moving, adding to the family, overcrowding and other changes in his environment. Avoid feline anxiety by slowly introducing change to your cat and providing him with a toy or bed that is familiar and comfortable for him.
It's best to treat a scratch or bite from another animal immediately. First verify that your cat is at ease when you approach him, and ask for another family member to assist you in cleaning the wound. Trim the fur from around the wound and then clean it with hydrogen peroxide. Be especially aware of your cat's behavior in the following days to ensure that he's back to his normal eating habits and activity levels. If you notice any serious changes, contact your veterinarian for further care.
The best way to combat worms in your cat is to prevent them. Start with kittens by deworming them on a regular basis to avoid parasite contact in the mother's milk. As the cat grows, clean his litter box on a regular basis and allow it some time in the sun and heat to disinfect and kill any possible parasite growth. Also teach your cat to stay indoors and away from any rodents or other infectious animals that can transmit disease. Lastly, use powders, dips and collars that aid in the prevention of worms.
It sounds silly, but yes, even your cat can contract the flu. Different from the human flu, the sickness cats can catch is a viral infection known as Feline Herpes Virus I (FHV-1) or Feline Calicivirus (FCV), both caught by coming into contact with another feline who is already infected. These illnesses affect a cat similar to a human by causing irritation in the upper respiratory tract: Your cat will show signs of the flu with fatigue, watery eyes, nose congestion and loss of appetite. Prevent FHV-1 and FCV by keeping your cat indoors and getting him the necessary vaccines.
The best way to avoid hairballs is to have a regular grooming schedule with your cat. Comb your short-haired feline's fur with a fine-tooth flea comb, and use a wide-tooth comb for thicker coats. If your cat still manages to swallow a hairball or two, help him coax it out with a higher-fiber diet or by adding a lubricant to his meals.
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