Most cats seem to take care of themselves and we are rarely aware of when they are not feeling well. There are several preventable problems that cats run into and they seem to increase with the summer season. Your cat relies on you in order to be safe and well-cared for.
Top Five Seasonal Feline Risks
Most people do not realize that, just as with dogs, cats are at a risk for Heartworm disease. Coughing and difficulty breathing may be signs of heartworm disease, not just hairballs or asthma (or if the cat is a brachycephalic breed), as many cat owners erroneously assume. Heartworm disease in cats may present differently than in dogs, prevention is the key for both species. Consult your veterinarian for recommendations on heartworm prevention. Pelaqita Persians uses Revolution for all our cats and kittens.
Make sure that the topical treatments for parasites (flea, tick and mites) designed for dogs are NOT used on your cat as they can pose a risk of death. It is always a good idea to consult your veterinarian for a recommendation that is safe and effective for cats and is a good fit for your cat. If your cat has a reaction to a product, contact your veterinarian immediately. Be aware that some flea-control products that are labelled "herbal" or "natural" can also kill your cat, please consult your veterinarian before using any of these products. Pelaqita Persians uses Revolution on all our cats and kittens.
Sometimes when cats get into a fight with another cat, the result is an abscess – a swollen, hot pocket of infection, pus and debris that most often has to be treated surgically, held open with drains, and antibiotics prescribed. After experiencing a cat that had an abscess and the subsequent nursing back to health, it is not something that I want to repeat. Territorial battles and fighting will be greatly reduced by neutering male cats. The best way to avoid a cat fight (and subsequent abscess) is to keep your cat indoors at all times.
We all assume that old wife's tale that cat's always land on their feet when they fall and they are built to withstand a fall from a tree. Falls from relatively low heights, the kind that would typically be found in the normal feline environment, are handled well by cats. However, when the weather becomes warmer and people start leaving their windows open, cats start falling out the windows which is disastrous in a high rise building. A cat's ability to rotate into the "feet down" landing position saves many cats from a fall. Many cats have surprisingly survived a fall from great heights, although they more often than not suffer from severe injuries. The best prevention to a cat accidentally falling out a window is to have child safe, secure screens in place on all windows.
There are many hazards outdoors as well as inside your home. While cats are pickier than dogs about what they eat, feline poisoning is not as big of a problem as in dogs. Many cats love to eat plants and many are toxic. Check out this list of toxic plants compiled by the ASPCA to determine which plants could harm your cat and remove those plants from your home. Despite all the precaution of keeping your cat from toxic plants, if your cat gets into something, make sure that you have the following phone numbers for: your veterinarian, emergency veterinarian, and the number of the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center (APCC). The APCC DOES charge for consultations, so a credit card would need to be used when contacting them.
For a great article, with pictures, on plants that ARE safe for cats, please read this article on 29 House Plants that Are Safe For Cats.