Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Healthy Pets

Font Size
A
A
A

6 Health Mistakes Cat Owners Make

Avoid these common stumbling blocks to keeping your feline healthy and strong.
By
WebMD Pet Health Feature
Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM

Cats can be a contented bunch, cared for and pampered by devoted owners who have their pets’ best interests at heart. Yet sometimes, our good intentions don't align with the health needs of our cats. We love a little too much in the form of overfeeding, for example, or miss subtle signs of serious illness.

What can you do to keep your cat in fine fettle? Become aware of the most common stumbling blocks for cat owners and be sure you know how to avoid them.

Recommended Related to Pets

At-Home Pet Euthanasia

Bob, a Maine Coon mix, was never fond of the ride to the veterinarian. While the cat would purr placidly through the vet's exam, he pitched a fit and cried during the trip there. "Riding in a car stressed him out terribly," says owner Sandy Volkman of Lakeville, Minn. When Bob went into kidney failure at age 18, Volkman couldn't fathom driving him to be put down through her tears and his cries. Her veterinarian recommended Minnesota Pets, a Twin Cities-based mobile euthanasia service. In October...

Read the At-Home Pet Euthanasia article > >

Mistake 1: Not Getting Preventive Care

The most common health mistake owners make is not getting their cat preventive care, say the pros. Oregon veterinarian Marla J. McGeorge, DVM, says preventive care is vital to catching health problems in their early stages.

Although regular vaccinations are an important part of preventive care for cats, they're not the whole picture. A comprehensive annual exam goes much further and can include:

  • An evaluation of a cat's eyes, ears, coat, and skin
  • Blood work
  • An oral exam
  • Parasite control
  • Advice about nutrition, exercise, and enrichment

Canine Health Institute associate medical director Adrianne Brode, DVM, says, "Cats generally get less healthcare than dogs." Brode speculates that one reason may be that cats are more expert at hiding their pain -- something these small prey animals do instinctively.

"Some older house cats are pretty inactive and sleep a lot, so owners often just don’t notice problems," Brode says. Although you might not see signs of arthritis, tooth loss, or malnutrition in your cat, your vet will.

Mistake 2: Not Spaying or Neutering

Kittens are precious -- there's no doubt about it. Yet every kitten has the potential to grow into a healthy, reproducing cat. If left unchecked, one female cat and her kittens can produce as many as 420,000 cats in seven years.

"There is a huge cat overpopulation problem in the U.S.," McGeorge says. Nationwide, shelters receive up to 7 million unwanted pets each year, and more than half of them are euthanized.

That's why it's important to have cats spayed or neutered before they are old enough to reproduce, McGeorge says. Because a cat can become pregnant at 4 to 6 months of age, it should be spayed or neutered promptly. Kittens can be spayed as early as 8 weeks old.

Spaying or neutering costs less than raising a litter of kittens for a year, according to the ASPCA. Many nonprofit groups offer low-cost spay/neuter options with fees as low as $20. Talk to your vet or a local animal shelter. They may be able to recommend a low-cost spay option near you.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

Puppy digging hole
Are you putting your pet at risk?
Cat looking at fish
Things we can learn from our pets.
 
dog and kitten
27 ways pets help your health.
tick
Get the facts about prevention.
 
Woman holding puppy
Article
Sad dog and guacamole
Slideshow
 
Siamese cat eating from bowl
Slideshow
cat on couch
Evaluator
 
Cat People vs Dog People Slideshow
Slideshow
Kitten playing
Quiz
 
Orange cat nuzzling woman
Slideshow
German shephard reading a book
Quiz