Each year, millions of people resolve to lose weight, eat healthier, or become happier in the upcoming year. January 1 always feels like a perfect clean slate to set New Year’s resolutions and find renewed motivation to work toward the goals. This year, think how a wellness-centered resolution could also improve your cat’s life. The Just Cats Clinic team is sharing our top six ideas to help you choose what will most benefit your cat.

#1: Visit the veterinarian more often

After completing the kitten vaccine series or one-year wellness visit, few cats return to the veterinarian for wellness care. Studies show cat owners believe that cats are low maintenance, healthy pets who do not require regular veterinary care like dogs, but in reality, cats are prone to many health problems and should visit the veterinarian at least once per year until they are  8 years old, and then twice yearly. Cats are experts at hiding illness, but wellness visits allow your veterinarian to detect common aging changes or disease signs early, when treatment can be more successful and offer a better quality of life. Indoor and outdoor cats also require regular vaccinations to help ensure their good health and to comply with local rabies laws.

#2: Prioritize dental care for your pet

Regular preventive care can help slow disease progression and reduce the dental pain your cat may be hiding. Untreated dental disease can lead to permanent organ damage if bacteria from gum disease migrate into your cat’s bloodstream. If your cat already has dental disease, a professional dental cleaning and treatment performed under anesthesia can remove existing plaque and tartar, and treat or remove teeth with painful cavities. Then, you can start your dental home care plan with a “blank slate.” Daily toothbrushing is the best way to keep your cat’s teeth healthy, but other options include chews, dental diets, gels, and sprays. Check with our veterinary team about the right products for your cat.

#3: Build more cat-friendly spaces

Cats prefer to observe their kingdom from elevated perches to feel safe from dangers on the ground, such as the dog or robot vacuum. Adding vertical space with cat trees, wall shelves, window hammocks, or all-out catwalks can make a small space feel larger and more interesting, and improve indoor cat enrichment and mental health. Extra space in multi-cat homes can also ease inter-cat tensions and reduce bullying over resources. 

#4: Turn your cat’s meal-times into exercise

Around half of U.S. cats are classified as overweight or obese by their veterinarians. Excess weight can be hard on your cat’s joints, and increases their diabetes risk four-fold. For normal weight cats, exercise improves muscle tone and stimulates them mentally. You can easily control your cat’s diet, but encouraging them to exercise may be more challenging. However, a puzzle feeder or treat- or kibble-dispensing toy can make your cat’s mealtime more interesting and encourage them to forage for exercise.

#5: Set more quality family time with your cat

Cats use play as an outlet for their natural hunting and stalking behaviors, so providing fun, interactive toys and regular playtime helps keep their minds healthy and reduce stress-related problem behaviors, such as house soiling. Cats also prefer to keep a consistent daily routine. This year, strive to establish a set play time with you and other family members that your cat can look forward to each day.

#6: Improve your cat’s grooming regimen

While it’s true that cats bathe themselves, they still can benefit from regular brushing to remove excess fur and reduce hairballs and fur mats. Many cats truly enjoy brushing, and the sessions can be bonding time or a training reward. Slick brushes offer your cat the most pleasant experience, and shedding blades remove hair most effectively. Some older cats may also need help with their overall grooming, and you can remove excess dirt and oil with regular baths with veterinarian-approved shampoo. 

2023 can be your cat’s best year when you set a New Year’s resolution to improve their health and wellbeing. Call us to schedule a visit with our Just Cats Clinic team for a wellness examination, or if you would like to learn additional ways to improve your cat’s home environment.