Cats are not small dogs. We want to make sure our feline owners understand some unique aspects of these fantastic felines.

Carrier Training: You can train your cat to walk into a carrier willingly. (Seriously!)

Heartworms: Indoor-only cats can still get heartworms. We all know mosquitoes venture indoors. We recommend year-round heartworm prevention.

Intestinal Parasites: Indoor-only cats can still get intestinal parasites. House flies, cockroaches, and potting soil are just a few places intestinal parasite eggs might show up.

Wellness: Cats are experts at hiding illness and discomfort. Annual wellness exams are crucial to help diagnose and catch problems early.

Scratching: Cats are naturally inclined to scratch. Give your cat a scratching structure that best matches his or her interests.

Environmental Enrichment: Rotate toys, provide window watching opportunities, and work to ‘catify’ your house. Your cat will be stimulated and fulfilled, and it will also entertain you. So go get creative! Need some ideas? Read more on feline environmental enrichment.

Stress: Cats manifest anxiety in a variety of ways. Fearfulness, hiding, gastrointestinal upset, or urinary issues can all be indications your cat is stressed (these signs can also indicate a lot of other things).

Weight: Obese cats can have shorter lifespans. Extra weight increases the chances of health problems such as arthritis and diabetes. Watch the calories and offer plenty of opportunities for exercise.

Cats Outdoors: Outdoor cats often have shorter lifespans than indoor cats. Keeping cats indoors prevents vehicular trauma, interactions with wildlife or fighting with other neighborhood cats, and minimizes exposure to infectious agents.

Has Your Cat Tried Catnip? Approximately 50% of cats have the genetic tendency to respond to catnip, but it may not show up until after 3 to 6 months of age. Catnip can encourage play, exercise, and excitement for your cat. Many toys contain catnip, and it can be sprinkled in areas you want to encourage your cat to use (scratching posts, etc.).

Litter Boxes: Cats are more likely to use a litter box containing unscented, clumping litter. Have at least one box per cat, and place the box in a quiet area where your cat will not be disturbed. Importantly, be sure to scoop the litter at least once daily to keep your cat from deciding to use the bathroom outside of the litter box. Learn more about feline inappropriate urination here.

~Author: Dr. C. Noureddine