With the New Year rapidly approaching, now is a great time to begin thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. This year, how about getting your four-legged family members in on the act? Resolve to make your cat's life happier and healthier by adhering to a month-by-month planner. Have a look at the suggestions below, and feel free to revise according to what best suits you and your pets. You may even want to print this article out, and put it next to your calendar.
January: Assemble a list of emergency information that is in or near your phone at all times. Include numbers for the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline, your family veterinary clinic, a local 24-hour emergency hospital, and people who can, spur of the moment, responsibly care for your kitty.
February: Take some whole body photos of your cat. It’s fun to share them on Instagram and Facebook, and, if the unthinkable ever happens and your cat goes missing, you will be able to post current images to facilitate a safe return.
March: Commit to brushing your cat’s teeth on a regular basis (at least three times a week) and then stick with this game plan. Don’t know how? Get some help from your veterinarian.
April: This is "National Heartworm Prevention Month". Make sure your cat has an annual heartworm test (a simple blood test) and that you are giving heartworm preventive medication exactly as prescribed.
May: May is “Chip Your Pet Month.” If your cat hasn’t been microchipped, make this a priority. If your cat is already microchipped, double check that your current contact information is updated with the microchip registry.
June: “Hug Your Cat Day” lands in June. Why not resolve to hug and snuggle with your cat every single day- good for you and your kitty!
July: Make a habit of grooming your cat or at least running your hands over every square inch of your furry feline on a regular basis. Not only will this provide some bonding time, it will also enable early detection of fleas, ticks, skin diseases, and any newly forming lumps and bumps.
August: “National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day” happens in August. Schedule a veterinary visit, even if your kitty isn’t due for any vaccinations. An annual visit includes a thorough physical examination. This is really important because, the sooner a problem is discovered, the greater the likelihood for a good outcome. An annual veterinary visit also provides the opportunity to discuss your cat’s nutrition, parasite control, behavior, and any other topics that are on your mind.
September: Prepare emergency evacuation supplies for your kitty. Be sure to include a carrier (ideally one that your cat is used to), a two-week supply of food and water (include a can opener if needed), food and water dishes, your cat’s favorite treats, a collar or harness with identification tags, a leash, a favorite blanket, a copy of your cat’s medical records, a month’s supply of any medications, a first-aid kit, and recent photos of your kitty.
October: Participate in National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. Is your kitty too lean, too heavy, or just right? What is her body condition score? Check in with your veterinarian to help assess if your kitty is at a healthy weight. Cats can become such sedentary creatures. No time like the present to create a daily activity regimen for your kitty that stimulates exercise and burns some calories. If needed, get some advice on creating a healthy weight loss program.
November: Set up a pet trust so that, should you become incapacitated or pass away, your cat will be will cared for.
December: As you decorate for the holidays, remember that cats (particularly youngsters) and holidays don’t always mix. Do what’s necessary to prevent toppled trees, swallowed tinsel, broken glass ornaments, and any other potential holiday related feline hazards.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.