The Complete Guide to Caring for Cats – Healthcare

Our feline friends are mysterious yet lovable creatures that creep into our hearts, one furry paw at a time. Taking care of all your cat’s healthcare needs is imperative from the very beginning. This way, you’ll ensure your bundle of love lives a long, happy, and comfortable life.

So, how exactly do we look after our cats’ every need? Keep reading to get the lowdown on how to care for a cat.

black and white cat up close

General Cat Care

As a cat owner, it’s important that you take care of the basics before anything else. Here are a general needs that you should be taking care of.

Fresh Water

For a creature that dislikes water so much, they sure are thirsty. Cats need clean drinking water, and plenty of it. So it’s important that they have access to clean drinking water at all times.

There are plenty of nifty gadgets on the market to make sure your cat stays hydrated. One of the most effective of which is a cat drinking fountain. Cats love drinking running water, so they’ll really appreciate the gesture.

⇒ USA – Shop for Cat Water Fountains

⇒ UK – Shop for Cat Water Fountains

Litter Box

Having a litter box is absolutely essential. While it’s a great way to train your kitten to not relieve themselves all over the house, grown cats can use them too.

If you live in an apartment, or have a predominantly indoor cat, then a litter box allows them to relieve themselves without going outdoors. They’ll also need a litter box for when it’s raining.

This is especially important if you have a sickly cat that’s not allowed outdoors, such as in cases with cats that have feline AIDS.

The general rule of thumb when it comes to litter boxes is that you should have one for every cat in the house, plus an extra. This way, they won’t ‘fill-up’ too quickly and there’ll always be somewhere for them to go, even if you’re busy cleaning one of them out.

Litter boxes should be cleaned once a day to prevent the build-up of bacteria and an awful smell. If you’d like to make your life a little easier, opt for a self-cleaning cat litter box to minimize your daily chores.

Freda Cat Home

Modern Design, 5 colours

I love this simple and stylish cat litter box. Your cat will have its privacy and it is very easy to clean – just open the door and take out the tray.

Hayleyville Enclosure

Two Tone Wood

Both a cat house and a kitty litter box, this modern piece masquerades its true purpose. Two doors make for easy access

cat in profile in grass with red harness

Scratching Post

It’s no secret that cats love to knead. So why not get them their very own scratching post. This doesn’t just give them something to preoccupy themselves with, it also keeps their nails from getting too long and sharp.

Scratching posts come in all different shapes and sizes. There are even a few that look like a jungle gym paradise for felines. Remember that if you have more than one cat, you’ll need to get a bigger scratching post to prevent them from fighting over it. Or one post each.

Beige Wave Post

Toy Attached

I bought this post as I loved its look – and it was even better in person than I expected. The design fits so well with my home and Alexei loves it – especially the toy.

Multi Level Scratcher

Faux Fur

This mulit layer cat scratcher is super soft and comes in 9 different colours. Great reviews – kitties love it!

⇒ Don’t miss my guide to buying Cat Walking products, the 7 Best Escape Proof Cat Harness options and the Best Carrier for Cats.

black and white cat and white scratching post

Cat Carrier

Even if your cat is a self-proclaimed ‘stay at home cat’, there is going to be the occasion that they’ll need to go to the vet. The best carrier for cats is often necessary to make your cat feel safe in an unstable environment like a car.

Be sure to line the cat carrier with their favorite rug or blanket so that they’re surrounded by a scent they recognize. This will help them adapt far quicker to their new carrier.

Backpack Carrier

Airline Approved

Premium Self Locking Zippers, Locking Clasps & Faux Fleece Padding. Perfect for bikes and hikes. Self locking zippers so your cat can’t escape.

Wicker Carrier

Leather & Wood

This wicker carrier has been designed to go on the back of a bicycle. It can also be used as a standard carrier or even as a cat bed.

cat outside mesh cat carrier

How to Take Care of a Kitten

From the moment you laid eyes on that furry bundle of love, you knew it was going to be yours. So of course you want to take care of your cat’s health needs from the get-go. Here are a few healthcare necessities that need to be taken care of while your feline is still a kitten.

⇒ About to become a fur parent? Check out my Complete Guide to How to Look After a Kitten.

Spaying/Neutering

Unless you plan on using your cat for breeding, all cats should be neutered (males), or spayed (females). This procedure usually takes place when they are between the ages of 6 and 7 months.

It will prevent them from wandering too far off the property and starting fights with other cats. In males, it also lessens the amount they spray to mark their territory.

In female cats, being spayed often saves them from many medical issues such as infections and even uterine cancer.

fluffy white cat lying on bed

Vaccinations

Like any other child, your fur children need to have their vaccinations to prevent health complications down the line.

There are certain vaccines known as core vaccines that every feline should get. These include vaccines for:

  • feline herpesvirus,
  • feline calicivirus,
  • feline panleukopenia virus,
  • feline leukemia virus,
  • and rabies.

Then there are other vaccines known as non-core vaccines. These vaccines are recommended for general cat care but they will differ depending on where in the world you live.

Kittens are generally vaccinated once every three to four weeks until they reach sixteen weeks of age. This will differ depending on what your veterinarian recommends for your pet cat.

⇒ Don’t miss my posts on the Best Cat Brush, How to Groom a Cat and a guide to a quick Cat Check Up.

ginger and black cat sits on top of wooden dining table

How to Take Care of a Cat

The healthcare of your cat doesn’t stop when it’s all grown up. A cat’s health needs need to be taken care of well into its old age. So here’s how you should be taking care of your full-grown cat.

Grooming

Grooming is an essential part of taking care of your cat. While most cats groom themselves, there are certain responsibilities that fall on the owner. Here are a few items you may need for cat grooming.

Cat Brush

Brushing your cat with a cat brush is important, especially while they’re getting ready to malt. This stops them from ingesting too much fur, creating hairballs. Brushing your cat also stops the fur from matting.

ginger cat being brushed

In the case where the hair does mat, be sure to use electric clippers and not scissors to cut it out. This is to ensure that you don’t cut the skin.

⇒ USA – Shop for Cat Brushes

⇒ UK – Shop for Cat Brushes

Nail Clippers

Trimming your cat’s nails is important, especially as they get older and become less active. In their old age, cats stop climbing trees and making use of their nails in a way that naturally trims them. So you’ll need to do it for them with nail trimmers.

⇒ USA – Shop for Cat Nail Clippers

⇒ UK – Shop for Cat Nail Clippers

cats nails being clipped

Parasite Control

There are many parasites that can inhabit your feline friend. The most common forms of feline parasites are the ones your cat can ingest (roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms). These live in the intestine.

These are dangerous because they prevent the absorption of essential nutrients, which can make your cat feel weak. They also damage the intestinal lining which can cause significant blood loss. Luckily, these parasites are fairly easy to get rid of by administering deworming tablets to your cat on a regular basis.

There are other, more dangerous forms of parasites like the heartworm. This is a common parasite in the United States and is transferred via mosquitoes.

There isn’t any cure or treatment for heartworm so prevention is key. You can prevent your cat from getting heartworm by administering medication on a monthly basis.

⇒ USA – Shop for Cat Mite Prevention

⇒ UK – Shop for Cat Mite Protection

⇒ Check out my guides to the Best Cat Products and the Best Cat Litter

white cat with black marks about to be sprayed

External parasites can also be a problem for your cat. Mange mites, ear mites, ticks, and fleas are among the most common parasites. Ticks and fleas can generally be eradicated with “spot-on” which you apply to the skin.

There are a variety of ways to treat mites ranging from oral tablets to skincare products.

Dental Care

In most cases, cats manage to keep their teeth clean all by themselves. But to aid in the dental hygiene of your cat, you should make sure you’re feeding them dry food. This cleans their teeth while they’re eating.

If you’re worried about your cat’s oral health, then ask your veterinarian to give your cats teeth a clean during every visit. This will ensure your cat doesn’t end up with gingivitis or gum disease.

⇒ USA – Shop for Cat Dental Products

⇒ UK – Shop for Cat Dental Products

Veterinary Care

It’s important to take your cat to the vet on a semi-regular basis. This way the veterinarian can pick up on any possible health issues before they get out of control. The vet can then administer the correct medication or treatment for your feline.

medicines in glass jars and various pill formats

Here are a few things you may need over the course of your cat’s life. Stock up on supplies, or simply buy them as your vet recommends them.

Eye Drops

Your cat may need eye drops throughout the course of its life for a number of reasons. Pink eye, infections, excessive discharge, or cornea disease are all possible options. If you think your cat is experiencing any one of these problems you should consult the vet.

⇒ USA – Shop for Cat Eye Care

⇒ UK – Shop for Cat Eye Care

Bandages

Cat bandages are a great thing to have on hand. If your cat hurts itself and starts bleeding, the easiest way to stop the bleeding is with a bandage. Bandages are also used to support injured or sprained limbs.

Cat bandages are specifically designed for cats and usually contain a few layers of material and are easier to apply than if you used a normal bandage.

⇒ USA – Shop for Cat Bandages

⇒ UK – Shop for Cat Bandages

⇒ For all things fun with your kitty check out my guides to clothing for cats, the best toys for cats, great gifts for cats and my annual cat planner for kitty photo opportunities across the year.

grey cat about to have its paw bandaged

Vitamin Supplements

In general, cat food is fortified with the correct amount of vitamins and minerals. Adding unnecessary supplements can cause more harm than good. However, if you do feel your cat needs an added boost, or is missing a little something, speak to the vet about it.

There are certain cat supplements that may be very beneficial to your cat’s health. Even making their coat a little shinier.

⇒ USA – Shop for Cat Vitamins and Supplements

⇒ UK – Shop for Cat Vitamins and Supplements

tabby cat peering over a gate

Final Thoughts on Taking Care of a Cat

Now that you know how to take care of cats and kittens, you’re well on your way to becoming an esteemed cat owner. Looking after your feline’s healthcare needs is not only the right thing to do, it’s in your cat’s best interest too.

Luckily, caring for cats isn’t too hard. Follow these guidelines, throw in a bit of love and you’ll be well on your way.

⇒ Check out my guides to the best treats for cats, high-calorie cat food and a complete cat feeding guide wet and dry food.

Please Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click through on most of the links and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. This will not effect the price that you pay. I wanted to make sure that you were aware of this.

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