Healthier Cat Care

Shannon Buck - Columnist
Posted on Thursday 1st October 2009

I have wondered about many aspects of cat care over the last six years. Presently, we have six cats. Two more have been visiting for a couple of months, but will eventually move into their owner’s home.

As you can see, I love cats and want them to be happy and healthy. Here are some eco-friendly tips I have learned along the way.

Feeding: The main portion of my cats’ diet is 9 Lives dry food, which is both relatively inexpensive and good for urinary tract health. I am very conscious of this because I have been told that male cats are prone to urinary tract infections.

I do not feed them wet, canned cat food because I want to avoid landfill waste and disposal of so many cans. Instead, when I want to provide them with a treat, I feed them cooked chicken and turkey. More frequently than that, I feed them real vegetables such as peas and carrots in place of dry food.

This diet works well. The cats are all at healthy weights, and there have been no urinary tract problems.

Rabies and Distemper Shots: After reading up on rabies shots and distemper vaccinations over the last three years, I have stopped forcing them on my cats. Once a kitten has had the first round of distemper shots, it is not necessary to re-vaccinate.

Natural Grooming and Flea Control: Two of our male cats love to be outside during spring, summer and fall. Try as we may, we cannot keep them inside when they want to be out.

As a result, fleas can be an issue. Although our veterinarian administered flea treatments, they were costly and didn’t cure the problem completely. Instead, I tried store-bought remedies. They worked as well as the stuff from the vet, though I was not satisfied with either option because neither fully fixed the flea problem.

While researching healthy cat issues, I came across concerns over the chemicals used to make these flea treatments. The chemicals are not only bad for the cats, but for the cat owners as well--not to mention the environment, when the treatment packets are put into landfills. Since the treatments didn't work very well anyway, I stopped using them entirely.

How do I conquer the flea issue? The same way I groom the cats: with a flea comb. Combing the cats and vacuuming every day takes care of more fleas than the flea treatments ever did.

When the kittens came to us last year, they were flea-ridden. I conquered this problem with daily baths using water and dish detergent, a tip I learned from my sister. I have had the most success with Dawn brand.

Chamomile Tea: The kittens also came to us with another problem: conjunctivitis, or pink eye. We solved this by applying warm chamomile tea bags to their eyes three times a day. I do the same when the cats have eye problems due to allergies.

It took a lot of research to find the information necessary to make the choices that I made for them. An added benefit in using these home remedies is that they save me a lot of money!

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