For the domestic
house cat grooming is more than personal hygiene, it is a reflex
behavior. Domestic house cats always groom their face the same way.
Saliva is applied to the inside of the front paw and then the pawed is
rubbed from back to front in a circular motion around the face. When a
domestic house cat licks it's fur, it stimulates the glands in the skin
to produce a film of oil that waterproofs the cat's coat. Hairballs
occur when hair from grooming accumulates in the cats stomach, forming a
solid mass. The hairball rubs against the lining of the stomach and
prompts the domestic house cat to vomit. If the hairball lodges deeper
in the digestive tract it may cause a blockage and you will need to take
the cat to the vet. Signs of a trapped hairball include decreased
appetite, constipation, and lethargy.
Daily health care for your domestic house cat includes providing fresh
food and water, keeping the litter box clean, grooming the fur,
providing love, and both physical and mental stimulation. Cats are true
carnivores and need a diet high in protein, along with some animal fat.
While most cats eat only what they need it is important not to let your
domestic house cat get overweight. Obesity can cause the onset of
various health problems and you risk shortening the life of your cat. An
average domestic house cat should weigh between 8-9 pounds and you
should be able to feel its ribs but not see them.
Domestic house cats need regular visits to the vet to keep them healthy.
You will want to set up a de-worming program to keep internal parasites
from causing problems or even death. Cats that go outside or are around
other animals will need some type of flea program too. If your domestic
house cats stays inside you may need to have its nails clipped
regularly. Your vet can show you the proper way to trim the nails. No
one knows your domestic house cat better than you, so look for changes
in your cat's behavior. Signs of serious illness in your cat include:
constipation, diarrhea, lethargy or changes in their vital signs.
Learn your cats vital signs: Domestic house cats vital signs vary
depending on it's age and the time of year. In hot weather the vital
signs rise so check your cats vital signs over the course of a week in
both warm and cold weather. Average vital signs for domestic house cats
are: 100-102 for the temperature, 160-240 beats a minute for the pulse,
20-30 breathes a minute for the respiration.