Skip to main content
Beautiful grey fluffy cat sitting

Ask the vet: Top tips for cat parents

Q: Every professional has a list of things they wish their clients knew. What's your Top Ten list for cat parents?

A: Here's my Top Ten, starting with a simple courtesy and ending with the most crucial:

10. Please show up on time for your veterinarian appointment. If you're late, you'll get less of your vet’s time or be asked to reschedule. Note: Adopting a new cat can be an exciting time for your family, so be sure to make the most of your cat’s first trip to the veterinarian with these tips.

9. Bring your cat in a carrier, because without one, your cat could startle and jump from your arms. Ideally, your carrier should have top and side openings, and the top should be secured with large clips, not individual screws, so the hospital staff can easily remove it. Line the carrier with a towel and spray the towel with the pheromone Feliway (if your cat is nervous).

8. Save money on vet bills by preventing disease. Sterilize your cat to reduce the risk of mammary cancer, uterine infection and spraying. Vaccinate to save money on disease treatment. Prevent heartworms, intestinal worms, fleas and other parasites, rather than treat the problems they cause.

7. It's not normal for a cat to regularly throw up hairballs. Research shows flavored petroleum jelly doesn't relieve hairballs or move hair along the gastrointestinal tract. To this end, veterinarians have a saying: Hairballs aren't caused by a grease deficiency. See your vet to identify the cause of your cat's vomiting and start effective therapy.

6. Pay attention to your cat’s litter box habits. If your cat drinks excessively or the litter box contains more urine clumps than usual, your kitty may be developing diabetes, kidney disease, or another problem. Make an appointment with your veterinarian.

5. Dental care is important. Without it, bacteria in the gums travel to the kidneys, liver and heart, where they establish infections. For a list of diets, treats, and other products recommended by veterinary dentists to decrease plaque and tartar visit vohc.org.

4. Pet food bags advise you to feed more than is healthy, presumably because manufacturers' calculations are based on the needs of animals that haven't been sterilized and therefore have higher metabolic rates. Don't let your cat get fat, because overweight cats are more likely to develop diabetes, arthritis, and other disorders.

3. Some plants, human foods and medications are toxic to cats. Examples are lilies, garlic and acetaminophen (Tylenol). When it doubt, ask your veterinarian. Note: We all want our cats to be kept safe and healthy, especially from the hazards in our homes. Learn about the most common hazards for indoor cats.

2. Environmental enrichment keeps your cat happy and actually decreases risk of disease. Note: Cat toys aren’t all for fun. Did you know cat toys can help stimulate a cat’s natural instincts and help them lose weight? Here are some everyday practical cat toy ideas.

1. Most important of all, a cat lasts a lifetime. Your kitty is not a disposable commodity to relinquish when you get bored. Cherish your cat forever, and your cat will return your love many times over.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com

Protect your pet from the unexpected with Figo Pet Insurance, rated “Best Pet Insurance” by Reviews.com since 2017.

Man sitting on bench with his dog

We believe that seeking out the best...

Small dog being examined by veterinarian

At Figo, we hear this question often...

What do the Cockapoo, the Puggle, the...

Dog receiving treat from woman

August 8th is #NationalCBD day! At Figo...

Advertisement for pet insurance.

More From Figo Blog
Kristin Levine with dog

We recently had the opportunity to interview...

Dog and pet parent listening to music in front of speaker

Whether you’re rocking out to your favorite...

Woman drinking coffee and holding small cat near

On any given day, between 50 and 70 million...

Labrador Retriever retrieving a blue frisbee from the yard

One of the best things about owning a dog is...

Woman with dog looking at tablet

Since 2017 Americans have spent between $17...

Small dog sits in front of steps of house

Moving from a 2 bedroom condo in the city to...