You can get your cat's overall health in two important ways. First, schedule an annual preventative visit (including shots and a checkup) with your veterinarian and other visits as needed, and second, conduct cat care yourself.
Perform a nasal tip weekly. This can be done simultaneously with the stroking of your cat on the couch. Start with the head. Are your cat's ears clean and pink? Do you give off an incompetent smell? Have mites appeared in the ears as a black, waxy mess? Are the eyes bright, clear, focused and free of discharge? Are the gums pink and teeth clean? Did tartar appear along the gum line? Does your cat's breath? Do not check a cat's nose to see if it's cold and wet. This is not a sign of health. Continue with a neck and tail inspection. Feel the body of your cat for bumps, bumps, swelling, wounds and irregularities. Also look for flea dirt (which resembles black pepper and turns red when wet) for scratches and parasites. Be sure to look between the toes and the entire length of the tail. If you find you are worried or uncomfortable, visit your veterinarian.
Next, treat your cat lover with a good brush. Rubber curry brushes are ideal for removing dead skin cells and loose hair. Fine-toothed metal combs are specially designed to lift fleas out of their fur. It is important to brush your cat daily to remove as much loose hair as possible. When cats take care of themselves, they pick up a lot of hair, which is often vomited as a hairball. This is normal and regular brushing prevents it from becoming too strong.
Keeping your cat's claws is an important part of the care. If not kept to the correct length, a cat's claws can actually grow into the paw pads. Pay attention to the claws on a monthly basis. If you have never cut the claws of a cat, have your veterinarian show you how to do it. In short, you should just cut off the sharp tip of each claw. Do not pinch in the pink portion of the nail where a blood vessel and nerve endings will remain, as this will be painful. Cats that go outside or have a cat tree do not suffer that much.
All cat owners should have at least one book on cat care. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation that includes a section on first aid. Taking care of cats at home is not appropriate in most cases of serious illness or injury. There are also emergency procedures that can make your pet feel good on the way to the vet. Familiarize yourself with the emergency procedures before an emergency occurs. Never give your cat medicines without aspirin without the advice of your veterinarian. Many common human medicines (like paracetamol [Tylenol]) are toxic to cats.
A small effort to care for your cat's health pays off for your health and happiness as well as for you!