Debunk common misconceptions about cat health
As much as we all wish it was true, cats don’t actually have 9 lives. Although very independent, cats are like any other pet that needs our love, attention, and care to lead a long, happy, and healthy life. Recent studies have shown that only 50% of Australian cats have regular appointments with their veterinarian – a pretty startling statistic considering how much we love our companions. To better understand our cat friends and their special health needs, we spoke to Royal Canin’s veterinarian, Dr. Chantelle McGowan, spoken to break up some of the most common myths and misconceptions about cat health.
Myth: Cats love cow’s milk
While some cats love to lick up cow’s milk when you put it in front of you, most will react negatively after consuming it. “Cats lack the enzyme ‘lactase’ to digest cow’s milk and they are likely to experience gastrointestinal discomfort when they consume it,” explains McGowan. While it may seem like your cat can handle a bowl of milk every now and then, a kitten who is already on a nutritionally balanced diet will not need the extra fat, calcium, and protein from milk.
Myth: You don’t have to brush a cat’s teeth
“Brushing your teeth is just as important in cats as it is in humans,” says McGowan, who recommends starting your feline friend off with a good start
Brush your teeth as early as possible in your life. “Teaching a cat to brush their teeth can be difficult, but it shouldn’t be a traumatic experience.” Cats need a good daily brush of pet-friendly toothpaste to remove plaque, which can cause gingivitis and tooth decay. If you’re having trouble getting your cat into the new routine, talk to your veterinarian about alternatives like the specially formulated Royal Canin toothpaste. Products like Oral Care can actually help reduce the risk of tartar and plaque build-up without having to brush daily.
Myth: Cats are easy-care pets that don’t require a lot of grooming
The story goes on
While they often give the impression that they would prefer some space, McGowan couldn’t be more confident when he says that “cats absolutely deserve as much care and attention as other pets.” A happy and healthy cat needs a lot of mental and physical stimulation. “Cats have unique requirements because they are both predators and prey. An outlet for natural, predatory behavior in the form of games is essential to their mental wellbeing. The ability to rest elevated is one way for cats to feel safe, so a strategically cleared bookcase or resting bar is usually appreciated. ”Also, don’t underestimate the importance of having your cat vet regularly walk – it is important in wishing your cat a long and happy life.
Myth: You can’t raise a cat
While there isn’t much talk of cat training, it is perfectly doable – you just need to understand how your cat is motivated. “Not all cats are motivated by food rewards, but positive affirmations can go a long way,” explains McGowan, who has spent a lot of time training her own cats, Mittens and Louis (which you can find at @rescutie_patooties). “I even managed to train Louis to walk on a leash so we could take him here and there on trips, and Mittens makes an excellent high five.” If you want to learn more about training your cat, McGowan recommends Karen Pryor’s ‘Clicker Training for Cats’, ‘Naughty No More’ by Marilyn Krieger or ‘Decoding Your Cat’, a multi-specialist book co-authored by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.
Myth: indoor cats don’t get sick
Although they have no direct contact with the outside world, indoor cats are just as susceptible to disease as cats outdoors. Cats are a species of prey, which means that they instinctively hide illness or weaknesses. McGowan advises cat owners to “monitor even minor changes in behavior at home.” Even if your cat is handsome, it is important to take her to the veterinarian regularly so that any illness can be detected at an early stage. The best way to protect your cat from disease is to get a vaccination. Your vet will let you get away with what to immunize against and when to bring your kitten back for booster and re-vaccination.
Myth: Even cooked diets are better than packaged diets
“There may be a lot of opinions on the subject, but let’s stick with the facts. Over 95% of homemade diets are lacking essential vitamins and nutrients, which means they’re not complete and balanced, ”says McGowan. This means your cat will be missing out on vital nutrients if you don’t carefully measure the ingredients, vitamins and supplements in your homemade meals. A recent study by Royal Canin found that one in two cats was considered overweight or obese, a finding that all too often stems from failure to eat a nutritionally balanced diet.
“There are big differences in the quality of packaged diets [and] There are some low quality diets on the market, especially in countries like Australia where the regulations are minimal. In general, science-based brands like Royal Canin are some of the safest, most nutritious foods you can find. ”To ensure your fluffy friend is getting the most nutritious diet, McGowan recommends doing your research using the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s toolkit and yours Consult vet.
Understanding your cat’s specific health needs is only the first step in making sure they are by your side for a long time. Feed them a balanced diet, shower them with love and attention, and take them to the vet regularly for long, happy, and healthy lives.