Cats are fairly low-maintenance pets; they don’t need to be walked and can usually do fine spending a lot of time on their own. You might know someone who has a cat so self-sufficient they can leave it home alone for a week with access to food and water and the cat will do perfectly well. That being said, a new cat still needs more than basic necessities to be successful in your home. It’s important to make sure your new pet’s needs are taken care of and that it receives proper medical attention to stay healthy and happy. Here are some tips to help you be a responsible cat owner.

Take Your Cat to the Vet Regularly

You make sure to get regular check-ups with your doctor, and to follow his advice on keeping yourself healthy and fit, so make sure you do the same for your cat! Your cat should have annual visits to the vet, even if nothing seems wrong with her. The vet can often see signs of illness or distress before you can, so preventative measures like regular wellness visits can save you and your cat a lot of grief and harm in the long run. These wellness visits will be a lot like your yearly physical; the vet will weigh your cat, check its vitals, and give it a thorough going-over to check for any problems. The vet will also check your cat’s teeth for signs of decay or poor hygiene. The vet will report any abnormalities to you and discuss the best ways to resolve any issues. Some cats hate going to the vet and being poked and prodded – the vet knows how to best handle your cat, so let him take the lead in the exam room. And remember, even if your cat looks miserable and is begging to go home, he just doesn’t know that it’s all for his own good.

Make Sure Your Cat Gets Vaccinated

This will go along with your visit to the vet. There are a few vaccinations your cat should receive to make sure it doesn’t fall ill from parasites or common diseases. Your vet will surely give your cat a rabies vaccine, and if it is an outdoor cat other vaccines will be administered as well. Talk to your vet about how to best keep up with vaccinations.

Keep Your Cat Active

Cats are descended from wild animals and love to run, jump, and climb. If your cat doesn’t seem interested in playing, try to engage him on a regular basis with new toys and games. Cats should be active so they don’t become overweight and develop health problems. Outdoor cats usually will not have trouble remaining lean and active, but indoor cats are at a greater risk for obesity. When possible, let your indoor cat roam around your yard. She will love chasing birds and bugs while burning off excess calories. Cats might seem like they don’t like to play, but they really do! Try to find out what your cat likes – some cats enjoy pretending to hunt toys, some like to chase, and there are even some cats who like to play fetch!

Don’t Let Your Cat Overeat

No two cats are alike. Some eat a little bit of food throughout the day and some like to eat all their food at once. Some cats are picky eaters and some will eat anything in sight. If you notice your cat is becoming more like a pig, consider changing her diet. Just like making sure she gets regular exercise, monitoring your cat’s weight and keeping her on a healthy diet will prevent illness and injury from being overweight. Some ways to alter your cat’s diet to make it healthier is choosing a low-calorie cat food or changing the way you feed her. If she is the sort of cat to gobble everything up within a few minutes, try feeding her smaller portions throughout the day.

Make Sure Your Cat Receives Proper Grooming

We all know that cats wash themselves, and they do a very good job of keeping themselves clean. However, you should still watch out for signs that your cat needs to be washed or groomed. Long-haired cats can develop knots that are painful if not regularly groomed. If you feel comfortable grooming your cat at home, simply invest in a brush and comb through his hair when it starts to look knotty. This will keep your cat’s coat shiny and sleek and reduce hairballs – not to mention that your kitty will shed less, which is great for you!

Cats make excellent pets and are a lively addition to any household, but they do require the same attention and care you give your human loved ones. Responsible cat owners who want the best for their little friends will keep these tips in mind!