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Understanding your cat is essential to providing a long, healthy life

Know the facts to give the best care possible.

Whether it's a tip from a neighbor or something you discover on the Internet, myths about cats can steer you in the wrong direction. Here are the facts about some common myths:

Cats have nine lives… do they really need regular check-ups?
Of course, cats have only one life. So it’s important to schedule regular veterinary visits to ensure your cat has a long, healthy and happy one. Going to the veterinarian shouldn't only be for when your cat is sick. Your cat needs annual wellness check-ups, vaccines, dental exams and nutritional consultations… just like we do.

Table scraps are OK for my cat
Did you know that a piece of cheese for a 10lb cat is like eating almost three full chocolate bars? Table scraps are empty calories for cats. They need precisely balanced nutrition for their specific lifestage and special needs to remain healthy. A cat food like Hill’s® Science Diet® is great because it gives cats exactly what they need without any excess nutrients that might be harmful.

My cat flicks her tail, I think she must be happy
Maybe…you never really know with cats. Typically, cats will wag or flick their tail when they are upset or thinking. Cats communicate via complex body language and vocal expressions like humans. Learning to read what your cat is telling you will go a long way in helping build your relationship.

I don’t need to exercise my cat
You can and should exercise your cat. Cats need mental stimulation as well as physical activity. Cats should be kept indoors for their safety but there are plenty of games and toys to keep them active and at a healthy weight.

Cats may have nine lives, but are they immune to rabies?
Cats may have nine lives, but are they immune to rabies? Cats can carry rabies and should be vaccinated regularly according to local laws. Vaccinations are effective in keeping your cat clear of infection

Should pregnant women avoid cats due to possible disease infection (toxoplasmosis)?
Expectant mothers can interact with cats; it's the litter box that's a no-no. Toxoplasmosis is spread through feces and litter. As long as pregnant women avoid contact with the litter box and have someone else clean the litter box area, there should be no problems. So feel free to continue mothering your cat while you're waiting for your baby.

Without whiskers, does a cat lose all sense of balance?
It's hard to imagine how an idea like this got started! Cats use their whiskers as "feelers," but not to maintain balance. How a cat positions its whiskers can also be an indication of mood. Whatever you do, don't cut a cat's whiskers or pull on them. Whiskers are rooted deep in the skin where nerve endings are abundant.

Got milk? Got cats? Can your cats have milk?
A cute cat quietly lapping at a saucer of milk. What could be more natural? The truth is milk packs a lot of punch for such a small animal. Many cats get diarrhea from milk and too much milk can quickly add up to an obesity problem. Your best bet is sticking with well-balanced nutrition formulated specifically for cats. Save the milk for your cereal.

Brushing a cat's teeth is silly. Give me a break.
Well actually, your cat will have the last laugh when his breath makes your eyes water. Routinely brushing your cat's teeth not only freshens breath, it also limits the risk of oral disease and gives you a chance to notice anything unusual happening to teeth and gums. Seriously, don't brush off brushing. It can make your cat more pleasant to be around and help prevent an array of serious health problems down the road. Ask your veterinarian for help getting started.

When cats scarf down grass like it's fettuccini Alfredo, does that mean they're sick?
While several theories about animal grass consumption exist, veterinarians have no proven answers. However, research indicates an amazing possibility: animals may just like to eat grass. So don't panic if your cat nibbles at the lawn from time to time. If the nibbling turns into a daily feast, talk to your veterinarian.

If you put garlic on your cat's food, will it help get rid of her worms?
While putting garlic on your cat's food may give your cat the impression you are a gourmet Italian chef, garlic may cause anemia in cats and should be avoided.



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