Keeping your cat healthy helps to keep you and your family healthy.
Before choosing a cat
• Certain types of cat or kitten adoptions, like international pet adoption, may not be suitable for your family because of the risk for disease.
This is particularly true if young children, pregnant women, or people with weakened immune systems live in the household.
• Research and learn how to properly care for your cat or kitten before purchase. Ask your veterinarian or pet store staff about the proper food, care, and enclosure or environment that is best for the cat or kitten you are selecting.
• Be aware that cats may shed Toxoplasma, Giardia, hookworms, roundworms and other germs in their poop. Plan to change the litterbox daily and always wash your hands after.
How to choose a cat
• Match a cat’s personality and activity levels with your family, the animals you already have in your household, and the amount of time you have to spend with your pet.
• Pick a cat that is bright, alert, and playful. Cats and kittens should have shiny, soft fur that is free of poop and debris.
• Signs of sickness in a cat include appearing sluggish or depressed, having diarrhea, abnormal breathing, and fluid running from its eyes or nose.
• Make sure to take your new cat or kitten to the veterinarian within a few days to a week after adoption.
• If your cat becomes sick or dies soon after purchase or adoption, take it to the veterinarian promptly, and inform the pet store, breeder, or rescue organization about the pet’s illness or death. Make sure to tell your veterinarian if the pet was adopted from a shelter or from international pet adoption.
How to house your cat
• It is important that you provide a safe, warm, and comfortable environment for your cat to live in. Talk to your veterinarian about creating a safe environment for your cat.
• If you allow your cat outside, provide shelter when it is cold or rainy and shade when it is hot. Your cat should have access to the indoors at night to stay safe from predators.
• Make sure your cat has access to food and fresh water every day.
• Be aware that leaving food outdoors for your cat may attract unwanted wildlife. This wildlife can spread diseases to your cat.
• Each cat in a household should have its own litterbox plus one additional box.
Monitor your cat’s health
• Take your cat to the veterinarian regularly to keep it healthy and prevent infectious diseases.
• Talk to your veterinarian about preventive treatments for fleas, heartworms, ticks, and other parasites.
• Make sure to clean up any urine, poop, or vomit in the house immediately, and disinfect the area after cleaning. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
• Contact your veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness in your pet. Keep in mind that even cats that look healthy can spread germs to people and other animals.
Get your cat vaccinated
• Keep your cat up-to-date on routine vaccinations like rabies and feline distemper vaccine.
• Vaccinations can help protect your cat from dangerous diseases and help them live a longer, healthier life.
• Tell your veterinarian about your cat’s lifestyle, including whether it is indoors or outdoors or both. Let your vet know if there are other animals at home. Your vet needs to know about any animals that your cat may come into contact with.
• Ask your veterinarian about other vaccines you may need or want for your cat, like feline leukemia.