A Map to Your Cat's Whole Body Health

1/CAT PHYSICALITY 

Did You Know?:

Cat owners often aren't aware that their cat is under-exercising, or overweight. 

Insight:

Because cats in nature must hunt for their existence, nearly all have ideal body conditions and are incredibly agile creatures.

A Tip for Your Routine:

Engage in purposeful play with your cat on a regular basis. Wand toys, balls and exercise feeders satisfy the instinct to hunt in a playful way, help build and maintain muscle tone and strengthen the bond between you.

Watch Out For:

Inactivity could be a sign of arthritis. An increase or decrease of activity could be more serious such as thyroid disorder or dehydration. Consult your veterinarian if in doubt.

2/DEHYDRATION

Did You Know?:

Dehydration may be a problem, even when cats are seen drinking water with their food. 

Insight:

In the wild, cats get most of their fluid intake from prey, and tend to seek sources of running or dripping water rather than still.

A Tip for Your Routine:

In addition to a bowl of fresh water, provide running water options for your cat, such as a cat fountain, and consider making wet cat food part of your regular routine. And regularly check for signs of dehydration such as lowered elasticity in the skin or dry gums. 

Watch Out For:

Hydration is the physiological state of the balance of fluids and electrolytes. Just as it is for people, it’s important for cats to take in enough fluid to maintain that balance. And inadequate water intake may lead to health problems. As always, be sure to consult your veterinarian to rule out any issues.

3/LITTER BOX

Did You Know?:

Litter box behavior offers clues into your cat’s whole body health. 

Insight:

In nature, cats have been observed to urinate and defecate in different locations.

A Tip for Your Routine:

Utilize one litter box per cat plus an extra, or one on every level of your home even if you have only one cat. Locate the litter boxes in peaceful parts of the home, away from areas frequented by a dog or potentially frightening objects like the washer & dryer or vacuum cleaner.

Watch Out For:

Excessive or minimal use of the litter box, or refusal to use it altogether, may be associated with serious health concerns like diabetes, thyroid conditions or urinary tract problems and should be discussed with your veterinarian immediately. 

4/GROOMING

Did You Know?:

Cats in nature develop hairballs, too. One theory is that hairballs serve to protect the digestive tract from any sharp indigestible pieces like bones and feathers ingested from the whole prey and get thrown up weekly. 

Insight:

Cats in nature often groom themselves after eating as it provides relaxing tactile stimulation. However, adult females living in a colony have been observed sharing grooming responsibilities – both with kittens and amongst themselves. 

A Tip for Your Routine:

Our Hairball Formula and Indoor Advantage® dry adult cat foods contain natural fibers to help minimize hairballs. But feeding either recipe to your adult cat doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to maintenance of your cat’s coat since there’s a social component to grooming. Besides helping to remove dead hair, it may help bring you closer together.  

Watch Out For:

An ungroomed backside can lead to constipation and other health issues, while overgrooming by your cat can lead to issues like blockages caused by hairballs. 

5/FEEDING

Did You Know?:

Many cat owners overlook feeding measured portions or incorporating enrichment activities into feeding.

Insight:

While feeding kibble is convenient for a cat owner's daily routine, it can mean missing out on opportunities to enrich their cat's mealtime.  

A Tip for Your Routine:

Try serving a portion of your cat’s daily dry food in a puzzle feeder to provide a challenge and the fulfillment of a successful “hunt.” 

Remember, an ideal body condition is important for your cat’s whole body health. To determine this, you want to be able to feel your cat’s ribs with gentle pressure. If you can’t, it might be a sign of overeating. If you can see your cat’s ribs, he or she might be too skinny. Also, with your cat in a standing position, you want to see a waist behind the ribs when looking down at the back, and a minimal amount of abdominal fat when viewing from the side. 

Watch Out For:

Always monitor your cat's weight and adjust feeding quantities accordingly. Over or under feeding a cat can lead to serious conditions such as obesity, diabetes, thyroid disorder or intestinal dysfunction. Consult your veterinarian if you have concerns about your cat's body condition. 

Download a PDF of A Map to Your Cat's Health