Tips for Lowering Feline Health Care Costs

Feline health care can be expensive, but if you take good care of your cat during his lifetime, you can significantly lower health care costs by preventing major illnesses. You should also be aware of your cat's vaccination needs; for some cats, certain vaccinations are unnecessary. Shopping around for veterinary care can also help you find a vet whose prices are reasonable and who will be more cooperative if billing errors should arise.

The Importance of Prevention

Remember, the key to optimum cat health is prevention. Get your kitten vaccinated right away. Vaccinations should begin at between eight to twelve weeks of age. If you intend to keep your cat indoors, vaccinations against illnesses such as FIV and FeLV may be unnecessary; however, local laws require every housecat to be vaccinated against rabies.

Make sure your cat receives annual veterinary check ups and dental exams. These check ups can catch many health problems before they become serious.

Proper Daily Care Prevents Many Problems

Daily care is of the utmost importance to your cat's health. Feed him a well-balanced, nutritious diet. Feed a combination of wet and dry foods to prevent urinary tract problems later in life, especially in male cats. A balanced diet of high-quality cat food prevents obesity and the many problems associated with it. Play with your cat often to ensure he gets enough exercise.

Cats aren't naturally inclined to drink a lot of water since, in nature, a cat fills many of its fluid needs by ingesting the bodily fluids of his prey. Feeding wet food helps your cat ingest the fluids he needs, so that he won't develop kidney problems due to chronic low-level dehydration. Offer your cat a water fountain rather than a bowl of water; cats generally feel more inclined to drink water that is flowing. If you can't afford such a fountain, change your cat's water several times throughout the day to keep it as fresh as possible.

Litter box hygiene is another important part of daily care. Keep your cat's litter box as clean as possible to prevent urinary tract infections. Scoop out lumps daily, or invest in a self-cleaning litter box. If you use non-clumping litter, change it at least once a week.

Seek Medical Treatment Promptly

If your cat shows signs of illness that last more than 24 hours, seek the assistance of a feline health care provider as soon as possible. Many problems, even serious ones, are less expensive to treat and more easily treated when caught as soon as possible. Keep your own copies of updated feline medical records, just in case you move or decide to change veterinarians.

Keep a pet first aid kit at home so you can provide first aid yourself if your cat sustains an injury. These kits should include the following:

  • Bandages, gauze and adhesive tape
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Ipecac to induce vomiting if necessary
  • Eyedroppers for dispensing medication, scissors and tweezers for removing splinters or debris from wounds
  • You may also include any medications your vet deems appropriate

Keep this first aid kit in a waterproof container and carry it with you when traveling, along with a copy of your cat's medical records.