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C2009-02

Dear Christopher Cat

We just adopted our first cat, Simba. What advice do you have for us?

Christopher Responds

Congratulations! To ensure that you are as happy with Simba as I know my humans are with me, follow these guidelines:

Have your veterinarian neuter and microchip Simba. The microchip provides permanent identification, essential if Simba ever escapes from your home.

Plan to visit your veterinarian once or twice each year for a physical examination, vaccinations, and fecal and other lab testing. Regular veterinary visits help prevent problems and let you address small concerns before they escalate.

Keep Simba inside your home, where it’s safe, but be sure he gets adequate exercise. Environmental enrichment is important, too, so offer a kitty condo, toys and stable places to scratch and stretch. If Simba wants to spend time outside, install cat fencing to keep him safe.

Feed Simba a balanced feline diet, and keep him slim. Treats should comprise less than five percent of his diet. Cats’ nutritional needs change through life, just as they do in humans, so ask your veterinarian for advice during Simba’s wellness visits.

Maintain good oral health by feeding dry food, preferably a dental diet, and forgoing canned food. If you and Simba are up to it, brush his teeth with pet toothpaste. Have professional dental work done when your veterinarian recommends it.

Prevent attacks by internal and external parasites. Some feline parasites infect humans, too, so it’s important to have your veterinarian test Simba’s fecal sample at least once a year.

Make an appointment with the vet if Simba develops any problems, including coughing, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea or changes in energy, appetite, water consumption or litter box use.

And don’t forget to allow plenty of time for playing and cuddling.

 

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