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Cats are extremely clean pets that require little care and provide excellent companionship. However, cats require that their love and loyalty be earned. Please read the following information carefully. Following these recommendations will help to insure that your kitten lives a long and healthy life.

Supplies that you need for your new kitten are high quality food, bowls for water and food, a litter pan with litter and scoop, kitten shampoo, grooming tools, a pet carrier, and toys.

Diet

Unfortunately there are many different types and quality of cat food available. Much of it is equivalent to “junk food”. We recommend feeding your cat a high quality cat food. Premium brands are the Science Diet, Royan Canin,Eukanuba and Purina Veterinary Diets, just to name a few. The level of quality then drops to the intermediate pet store brands, brand name foods from the grocery store, and lastly, cheap foods.

With pet food, you often “get what you pay for”. Labeling can be very deceptive. The best way to compare food is to compare price to amount. If the food is much cheaper than the quality brands, it may be because they switch ingredients frequently, have a lower quality of ingredients, and/or may not perform any food trials. At our hospital we sell Hills and Purina Veterinary Diets, not only because these are premium diets, but also because they have extra ingredients such as fatty acids (Omega 3 & 6) in the diet to help with the hair coat. Our Doctors feel that this is very important because of all the skin problems and allergies we see in this area. These two diets also have specialized formulas to meet specific health issues.

One misconception is that the premium diets are too expensive to feed. The cost of feeding a premium diet compared to a cheap diet is very similar. With cheap foods, the pet actually has to eat a larger amount to get the same nutrition available in the more expensive foods. The better quality diets help with muscle and skeletal formation, hair coat quality, and internal growth.

Feeding

We recommend that kittens be fed set meals 2-3 times daily. When they are adults, we recommend feeding twice daily—it is better for their digestive system. One reason why we recommend feeding set meals as opposed to leaving the food down all day is because if the kitten is sick and not eating well, it will be noticed a lot sooner than if the food is left down all day. As adults, you can usually leave the food down all day if set meals don’t work.

With cats, it is recommended that you feed 60-70% of the diet as dry food and supplement the rest with can food. Cats are not big water drinkers and adding canned food can help to prevent urinary tract problems. Feeding tip: You may not want to get your cat accustomed to can food early in the morning. Otherwise your cat may be demanding canned food EARLY on weekends when you may try to sleep in!

People Food

Diet should be less than 5% people food. Cats are used to a very bland diet.

Definite No-Nos are:

  • Real Bones – not even the beef ones. There is a possibility that any bone could splinter and perforate intestines, or even cause impaction (blockage of intestine); leading to surgery, hospitalization, or even death. Some people may get away with feeding their cats bones for years. We liken this to “Russian Roulette”.
  • Food High In Fat – like chicken skins or steak trimmings. Fat will upset the pancreas, potentially causing needed hospitalization or even death. Once the pancreas has had a problem, it will usually have future episodes.
  • Spicy Foodssame potential for pancreatitis.
  • Definitely No Barbecue!
  • Pork Products – have been known to cause projectile vomiting.
  • Chocolate – can cause gastrointestinal upset, cardiac problems and even death.
  • Garlic and Onions – can cause problems with red blood cells.

In summary, ‘if it is flavorful to us, don’t give it to your cat’. Fresh vegetables, yogurt, air-popped popcorn, and crackers are OK (in moderation) and we let our cats lick the milk out of the empty cer

It is not a particular food type so much as the fact that people tend to give their pets too much food and not in the correct portion for their pet’s size.eal bowls. As long as it doesn’t cause diarrhea, a small amount of milk is OK.

Adding Vitamins or Fats

If your pet is on a good, high quality diet, then you do not need to supplement his food. Adding different supplements only serve to unbalance the diet. Your pet also does not need to have an egg or bacon grease added to his food. People do this to add fatty acids for a better hair coat. Unfortunately, when doing this, “bad” fats are also being added. The premium diets have the fatty acids already added to them. Fatty acids are available as a supplement, but it is best to have them already in the diet.

Heartworm Prevention

Cats, indoor and outdoor, can get heartworms from mosquitoes. It is estimated that about 20% of cats are infected with heartworms compared to 60% of dogs. Many cats diagnosed with asthma have had previous heartworm infections. One common clinical sign of heartworm disease is for the cat to appear healthy, only to have sudden death. We strongly recommend heartworm prevention for all cats. Heartworm preventatives for cats come in both a chewable tablet (Heartgard, Interceptor, Sentinel) and a topical solution (Revolution).

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While the chewable products are good, here at Claws & Paws we recommend that your cat be put on Revolution. This topical heartworm prevention also treats for/prevents roundworms, hookworms, ear mites and fleas.

Your cat will need monthly heartworm preventative on the same day each month for the rest of his life. The heartworm preventative is not like the vaccines where it confers long-term protection. It works only as long as you continue to give it.

Intestinal Parasites

It is very common for up to 70% of kittens to have intestinal worms. Some of these worms can be very dangerous, potentially causing a pet’s death. These worms can potentially be transmitted to people, especially children. The fecal material should be examined for parasites the first time that your kitten comes in, and again on the last booster visit. Do not just depend on the presence of diarrhea to indicate that there is a problem. We recommend that adult cats be tested for intestinal parasites on an annual basis.

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