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Even though most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned within a month of making them, the New Year is still a good time to start fresh and create some healthy habits for yourself and for your cats. The following tips will help get you started.

1. Feed a species appropriate diet

Nutrition is the foundation for good health for cats and humans, and the most important thing you can do every day for your cat’s health is to feed a species-appropriate diet. If you’re not already feeding a raw, cooked or grain-free canned diet, consider making this the year you make the switch. Your cats will thank you for it. You’ll find a wealth of information on feline nutrition, including my recommendations, right here on The Conscious Cat.

2. Keep your cat’s teeth healthy

Dental disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for cats, and, if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems including heart, kidney and liver disease. The best way to prevent dental disease is through brushing your cat’s teeth, and it’s not as hard as you may think to get a cat used to regular brushing.

There are a lot of products on the market that claim to keep your cat’s teeth healthy even if you can’t brush. I found two that really work, and I use them for Allegra every day: MaxiGuard Oral Cleansing Gel and 1TDC™.

3. Regular veterinary check ups

The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends a minimum of annual wellness examinations for all cats in its Feline Life Stage Guidelines. Semi-annual wellness exams may be indicated for older cats, and cats with recurring health problems. Changes in health status may occur in a short period of time, and by the time cats show symptoms, a disease may already be progressed to a stage where treatment will be more complicated and more expensive.

4. Enrich your cat’s environment

At their core, cats are still wild animals, and we can’t expect them to completely give up all their instincts. We have to look at our living space from the cat’s point of view and provide an environment that keeps them stimulated. When cats’ needs are not met, they will be stressed, and this stress will often lead to behavior issues such as inappropriate elimination, scratching, and aggression toward other cats and even the humans in the household.

5. Consider getting pet insurance

Could you easily afford to pay $1000 to $3000 if your cat had a sudden medical emergency? Could you cover the cost of a prolonged illness, which can easily run into several thousand dollars? And never mind unexpected veterinary expenses: can you easily cover your cat’s annual or bi-annual exam, preventive lab work, and dental cleaning? I was on the fence about pet insurance for a long time, but after being faced with having to dip deeply into my savings to pay Amber’s $10,000 bill incurred after a brief illnessI decided to get insurance for Allegra and Ruby. With all the expenses I had for Ruby’s care during the last two months of her life, I was once again grateful for the fact that I have pet insurance.

6. Learn as much as you can about cat health

The more you know about feline health, the better off your cat will be. Your cat’s veterinarian is your most important source of health information, but you still need to take an active role in educating yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or research issues on your own. And you don’t have to look any further than The Conscious Cat! I pride myself on on bringing you well researched, current information about feline health, nutrition, and behavior, and I hope that you will make this site a regular stop for all your cat health information. Better yet, subscribe to our daily updates so you never miss anything!

Here’s to 2021  being the happiest and healthiest year for your cats and for you!

This post was first published in January 2019 and has been updated.

12 Comments on Make 2021 a Healthy and Happy Year for Your Cat

  1. I am very grateful in finding your page, I have an asthmatic cat and I am learning so much from you; I am definately changing to raw food and raw freeze dried food.

  2. Please let us know which pet insurance covers cat’s annual or bi-annual exam, preventive lab work, and dental cleaning, because I don’t know of any…!

    • Most carriers offer wellness plans that cover preventive care, but you’ll be paying a higher premium for those options. We’ve had Embrace for the last five years and are very happy with them for accident and illness coverage. They also offer comprehensive optional wellness coverage. https://epi.ykwujd.net/z1VGe

  3. Hello, please let me know which pet insurance covers cat’s annual or bi-annual exam, preventive lab work, and dental cleaning… because I don’t know of any…

  4. Thank you for this post Ingrid! I already do all the steps you list, but your clear list (and clear explanations!) will be easy for me to share with a couple cat-loving friends who need a nudge to follow through on some of these. Look for new subscribers… I already have made one Conscious Cat convert and am trying for more. I’ve learned so much from reading your posts, have been introduced to so many great products too. My only regret is that I didn’t find you in time to help my sweet Gabrielle more. But her successor, Aryana WILDcat, is reaping all kinds of benefits! Thank you so much!

    • They don’t have to be used together, but since they do different things, they compliment each other. They do different things: the MaxiGuard gel adheres to the gums and helps reduce the accumulation of plaque and tartar and bad breath. The 1TDC keeps gums healthy, which maintains the structural integrity of the teeth.

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