Most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned within a month of making them. There are a lot of reasons why this happens. They may be too much of a stretch, there may be a lack of commitment, or the timing isn’t right. And yet, the New Year is a good time to start fresh and create some healthy habits. The following five resolutions will keep your cats happy and healthy not just for a few weeks, but for the rest of their lives.

1. Feed a species appropriate diet

Nutrition is the foundation for good health. Cats are obligate carnivores and they need meat to thrive. If you’re not already feeding a raw 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, and on how to switch your cat to a healthier diet, right here on The Conscious Cat.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Enrich your cat’s environment

At their core, cats are still wild animals, and while we’ve invited them into our homes to share our lives, 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 demonstrate itself in behavior issues such as inappropriate elimination, scratching, and aggression toward other cats and even the humans in the household. Accommodating cats’ needs is critical to ensuring that they are happy and healthy.

5. Educate yourself about cat health

You are your cat’s guardian when it comes to health issues, and the more you know, the better off your cat will be. Your cat’s veterinarian is your most important source of health information, but don’t be afraid to ask questions or research issues on your own.  The internet can be a great resource as long as you ensure that the sites you visit provide factual and reliable information. Of course, we hope that you make this site a regular stop for all your cat health information.

Here’s to 2015 being the happiest and healthiest year for your cats and for you!