If we try to change too much too
soon, we tend to get overwhelmed
and give up completely. On the other
hand, once we’ve mastered a small
step, we can build on it. Small steps
toward self-improvement can make
a big difference when we see ourselves still making them the following
December. So what small steps can
we take to improve our cats’ lives this
Schedule a vet viSit.
A good year begins with
good health. Make an
appointment for your
cat’s annual wellness
check that includes
a dental exam and
possibly cleaning, any
or boosters, and a thorough health
check. Adult cats should see a veteri-
narian every year. Once they reach 10
years old, cats should see the veteri-
narian twice annually. While you’re at
it, schedule your own annual physi-
cal. You and your cat will enjoy 2017
much more when you are proactive
about your health.
your cat’S teeth.
If you haven’t been
doing this, start. If you
have, keep it up. Dental
problems cause cats tre-
mendous pain, since bad
teeth can be reabsorbed
into gum tissue, a con-
dition known as tooth resorption. In
addition to the pain, poor oral health
can lead to other illnesses like heart
disease. The same is true for humans,
by the way, so it’s vital we take care
of all our teeth and gums.
For your cat’s oral health, start
by offering dental treats until you
find one your cat likes. Dental treats
can serve as a reward after your cat
performs a desired behavior — like
tolerating tooth brushing — as well
as tartar control.
Cat toothbrushes that you place
on your finger are a huge help. Place
some cat toothpaste on the tip of
the finger brush, and hold it out to
your cat. Find a flavor your cat will
like, so he will want to lick it off.
While kitty is doing that, move the
brush around on his teeth. Do this
only for as long as your cat will tol-
erate it, and try to do a little more
each day. Make this experience as
pleasant as possible for your cat and
don’t scare him off. Reward him with
a dental treat.
take a Spa day. Make
her feel like she’s at a spa
by extending brushing
sessions for as long as
she wants them. In our
household, our kitties
love, in fact they beg, to
be brushed with a bristle
brush every day. My cats’
cottony, medium-length coats need a
little more than a bristle brushing to
stay mat-free. They don’t particularly
care for the detangling flea comb,
but they endure it knowing that they
will be rewarded with a bristle brush-
A spa day also includes nails.
Check and trim the ends regularly to
keep them from overgrowing.
clean the caSa. Clear out
the ceiling cobwebs and the
cat dander from the window
treatments. Vacuum up cat
hair, and your own, from car-
peting, flooring, and furniture.
Don’t forget the air ducts.
Whether running the heat
or air conditioning, you want
those to be cleaned every year.
Both you and your kitties will be
less bothered by allergens in a clean
home. Some things will need to wait
until spring cleaning time, but you
ow many times have we heard the prediction that
by February we will have given up on all of our
well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions? I have found
that my longest lived, most sustainable resolutions have
been realistic, manageable baby steps toward a goal, rather than a
dramatic departure from what I’m already doing. For example, instead
of giving up TV altogether, I might give it up one night per week.