At the beginning of each year, most of us write a list of New Year’s resolutions that we intend to keep — some with more success than others! But do you factor in some goals for your pets, as well?
Schedule regular veterinary visits. Your cat should have annual checkups prior to 10 years of age, and twice yearly checkups after that. You are probably good at recognizing what is normal and abnormal for your particular cat, but remember that cats are especially adept at masking pain or injury (see related article on page 10 of this issue), so if something seems not quite right, it probably isn’t.
Make time for daily play sessions. Spending just five to 10 minutes a day in purposeful play with your cat can go a long way toward curbing annoying (or destructive) habits that are sparked by boredom. Engaging in interactive activity can also enhance your bond — plus, it’s fun for both of you!
Aim to keep your cat at a healthy weight, or help your overweight cat shed some unhealthy extra pounds. Overweight or obese cats are at greater risk for a plethora of health conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes. Avoid keeping bowls filled to the brim with food. Instead, schedule smaller meals two to three times a day. And regular playtime can come in handy here, by burning off extra calories.
Factor your pet’s needs into your yearly budget. On average, the yearly cost for food, litter, toys, veterinary care and other items is roughly $700 — and this does not include any emergencies. Consider purchasing pet insurance or setting up a monthly savings account specifically for your cat’s care. This can be especially helpful when your pets are advancing in age.
Create an emergency plan with your pets in mind. Be prepared for natural disasters and other unanticipated events, and make plans for your cat’s care in case something happens to you and you are no longer able to care for her.