Recently, my human saw an article on insider.com where the writer spoke with different veterinarians about cats and their owners. It was an opportunity to address some common issues and misconceptions people, even cat owners, have about their cats. Also a few important things that people already know, but don’t often act on.
A lot of really good points were made! And I wanted to elaborate on a few of the issues these vets saw. I thought these facts were the most crucial ones that many cat owners ignore.
Fact: One Litter Box Is Not Enough
The saying goes you need one litter box for each cat, plus one extra. Most people have heard this, but then they still have too few litter boxes. Even my human has been guilty of that — when it was me, Binga and Boodie, we only had three litter boxes, when it should have been four. Now that it’s just me, I have two, one in my human’s bathroom, and one in my photo studio. Ideally, however, they should be located on each floor of a house.
Cats are private, territorial, and very particular about their litter box business. Having an adequate number of litter boxes relieves a lot of feline stress, especially in a multi-cat family. Some cats prefer to do one type of business in one litter box, and the other in a different one, if you catch my drift. (And yes, I am one of those!) Others might be a little touchy about sharing. More litter boxes is always better.
Fact: Hacking Up Hairballs Is Not Healthy
People often shrug off cats hacking up hairballs as just something that happens. But it’s an indication of something else going on. If your cat is regularly tossing hairballs, their digestive systems are having a problem processing the fur they’re ingesting. At the very least, it could be because they’ve groomed more fur than they can handle. You can help with that by giving your cat regular grooming sessions, especially during seasonal changes, when cats shed the most fur. Or it could be another issue, and you should discuss it with your vet if more frequent grooming isn’t helping.
Here’s an interesting note about me. When I was competing and attending cat shows all the time, I never threw up a hairball. That’s because I was being groomed all the time. When the pandemic set in and my human started getting a little lax about my grooming and bathing sessions, I started to throw up hairballs! So yeah, while most of you certainly don’t need to bathe your cats, more grooming is something to work on.
Fact: Free Feeding Is Bad for Your Cat
In fact, it’s really bad for both cats and humans. If a human snacks all day, they’ll put on an unhealthy amount of weight. So will your cat, if you leave out food all day. Cat food should always be carefully measured out, and everything counts, including treats, towards keeping a healthy weight.
I get fed just twice a day, an amount that’s appropriate for my weight, plus treats in between meals during training sessions. That’s really all a cat needs. When my human worked at jobs she had to actually go to, her cats got fed before she left and when she came home. Your cat is not going to starve in the hours you are away from the house. There are automatic feeders, if you worry. Just make sure they only dispense the amount your cat needs for the day.
Fact: Dental Disease Is a Real Issue With Cats, So Learn How to Brush Their Teeth
Granted, this may be more problematic with some feisty cats, but it’s true, regular tooth brushing can help keep a cat’s gums healthy. Gingivitis and periodontal disease can start as early as three years for a cat. And inflamed gums can spread infection and disease throughout the body. The more proactive you can be about dental health, the better off your cat will be. And the better off your pocketbook will be since you will have fewer vet bills.
Over the years, my human has used a variety of cat toothbrushes with me, and recently she’s found one that’s really good. The head is tiny enough to fit into a little cat’s mouth (like mine), and the handle is long enough so that you have control while keeping your hands safely away from your cat’s teeth. It’s called Ryercat, and you can find the link here (it turned out they have an affiliate program, so we joined): https://ryercat.com?p=HJ3VZeed2
There are several more things in this article vets wish their cat clients knew. All of them contain valuable information, and you can see the rest here: 11 Important Things Veterinarians Want Every Cat Owner to Know
Other posts you’ll enjoy: