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Mistake 5: Not Microchipping continued...

Of the millions of cats that end up in shelters, less than 2% are returned to owners, according to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy. Most cats that are reunited with their human families are able to be because they have identifying tags, tattoos, or microchips.

It's important to realize that even indoor cats can escape or be inadvertently let out of the house, McGeorge says. Cats are also much more prone than dogs to losing collars with ID, so microchipping is a better bet for getting your cat back home if she is lost.

About the size of a grain of rice, microchips take seconds to insert under the skin between your pet's shoulder blades and last forever because they don’t use a battery. The chip is activated only when a scanner is passed over it, transmitting its ID number to the scanner.

A microchip is only useful, however, if you keep your contact information up to date with the microchip registry of the company that made the chip. Your vet will give you all the information you need to keep your pet's registration current.

Mistake 6: Neglecting Dental Care

You brush your teeth every day, so why not your cat's teeth too? Dental care is often overlooked in cats, Brode says. This can easily lead to painful, infected teeth. Gum disease can damage a cat's teeth just as it can yours, leading to decay and inflammation as well as bone and tooth loss -- with pain you may not notice until the problem is advanced.

The solution is regular oral exams, teeth cleanings, and daily brushings -- yes, it can be done -- as well as high-quality food and chew toys. The toys not only satisfy kitty's desire to chew but also massage the gums and remove soft tartar.

Pet Health and Nutrition Advice

Veterinarian Will Draper gives tips on the best nutrition and health care for your dog or cat.
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