New Year’s Resolutions for Cat Owners
After a cozy white Christmas with my family in Massachusetts, I’m headed back to my apartment – and Jade – tomorrow morning. And, with the new year approaching, I find myself thinking of all the ways I can be a better cat-mom to Miss Jade. Each year seems to come and go so fast, I often forget about the basics of cat ownership. So, for my benefit and yours, here is an annual checklist of cat care tasks, and changes to make so we can make our furry friends even happier and healthier.
Get the booster shots.
I’m always forgetting that Jade’s shots are out of date, so this January, I’ll be taking her to the vet for an annual exam and her immunizations. After kittens get their first set of shots, they should be taken in for a booster when they’re a year old. After that, every three years should do it – unless your kitty spends time outside, in which case you should talk to your vet.
Check whether you need to switch food.
I was feeding Jade adult food about half a year into the time she should have switched to senior food. Are you feeding your feline friend the right chow? Kitten food should be served to kitties under a year old, and you should switch to senior food at 5 or 6 years. When it’s time to make the change, gradually mix the old food with the new over the course of 2 weeks. Add a little bit more of the new food each day under you’ve fully transitioned.
Get those chompers cleaned.
Did you know that 85 percent of cats have periodontal disease by the time they’re 6 years old? Some cat owners brush their kitties’ teeth at home, but for most of us, that’s an uphill battle. Feeding your cat dry food regularly helps, but a professional cleaning every year or two is also a great idea. Bring your furbaby to the vet for a teeth cleaning and keep those chompers healthy!
Trim the claws.
When was the last time you trimmed your cat’s nails? For many cat parents – myself included – it’s a struggle. But for your cat to be truly comfortable, he should have his nails trimmed every two weeks or so. To try it at home, introduce the clippers gradually. Get your cat comfortable with you handling her paws, and attempt to clip them when she’s well fed and sleepy. Most importantly, clip shallowly. Stay far from the quick, a bundle of nerves below the nail that is very painful if clipped. And, if you really struggle, there’s no shame in trying a professional groomer!
Reinstate daily play.
Playtime is so important. Many behavior problems, from crying or darting around at night to litter manners, can be traced back to under-stimulation. But when our lives get busy, we
sometimes forget to play. So, in the new year, take the opportunity to reinstate daily playtime. And, while you’re at it, spruce up your cat enrichment supplies! Jade’s scratching post is looking worn, so it might be time for a new cat tree in our house.
What’s your new year’s resolution as a cat owner?
Did I miss any resolutions on this list? Are you starting a new training routine? Tell me all about your plans for 2018 by writing in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
With love and wishes for a healthy, happy 2018,
Hannah and Jade