You have a draw or a cupboard somewhere within your home. Inside that cupboard, you have a selection of pills and products that are designed to help you as and when you get sick. That might include painkillers, cough medicine, allergy tablets, eye drops and more. You probably even have a mini first aid kit as well, containing plasters, bandages and anti-septic creams. And if you don’t you really should! Why do you have all this? Well, for the obvious reason that when we get ill, we need to have basic supplies around us that will help us to fight illness off and recover. As a responsible pet owner, you should be extending the same courtesy to your cat. That’s why in this article, we’re going to be looking at essential cat health aids and cat health products.
Identifying Essential Cat Health Aids
So, what are essential cat health aids? It’s not like you ever see a cat with a plaster on, although you may occasionally see one in bandages! The things you’ll need to help a sick cat get better are a little different to the treatments you’d use on yourself. We’re going to talk you through a few of the things that we consider to be absolutely vital, and give you an idea of what you should expect to pay for them. We’ve done the research so you don’t have to! Whereas some websites exist purely to point you in the direction of product X or product Y, our information is backed up by the opinions of experts, such as the information found in this journal of feline health. You might want to bookmark that for later reading; it’s very detailed! For now, let’s focus on the basics. And, of course, the essentials. We need to help you put together a cat supplies list!
1. Cat First Aid Kits
On the top of that cat supplies list should be a first aid kit. Every home should have one! Cats are as prone to bumps, bruises, scratches and cuts as the rest of us. Young cats are especially liable to injure themselves as they find their way in the world! Not every little injury requires an expensive trip to the vets. A good first aid kit means that you can take care of the minor things at home. Feline first aid kits are definitely essential cat health aids.
Description: A cat-focused version of your own first aid kit. You can make one yourself, or buy one pre-packaged. We’ve seen pre-packaged options available from leading retailers at sensible prices, and many of them are approved by vets, so we’d suggest purchasing one of these unless you really feel like you know what you’re doing. Only build your own if you’re confident that you won’t leave anything out.
A good pet first aid kit will have logos or information stamped on it to confirm that it’s veterinary approved, so always do your reading before making a purchase. There are certain items that you’ll want to make sure are in there. At a minimum, double check that your kit contains:-
Contents Of A Good Cat First Aid Kit
- Cat bandages. Self explanatory. Cat bandages protect injuries whilst the body recovers. Ditto band aids. Cat band aids work exactly the same way human ones do!
- A foil blanket. Foil blankets help a cat to stay warm, and also calm down from shock. These are useful for a cat that’s accidentally been left out in the cold for too long, or one that’s had a near miss with a vehicle.
- Saline pods. These work as an eye wash, and can be used to clear debris and dirt away from your cat’s eyes or other sensitive areas of the body.
- Gauze swabs. They clear up excess fluid cleanly and efficiently, for example after saline treatments!
- Tape to hold dressings and bandages in place.
- Conforming/adapting bandages. These are the same as the things you put on your ankle after a sprain, to hold the joint in place.
- Latex gloves. If you’re dealing with an infection or an open wound, you don’t want to do so with your bare hands.
- Cleansing wipes. These are used to clean up and wash wounds and sores. It’s vitally important that these are alcohol free. Alcohol wipes should never be used on cats.
- Plastic foot pouches. Whilst they may look like adorable little socks, and your cat will likely hate them, these help your pet to walk around freely whilst recovering from a paw injury.
- Scissors and tweezers. They’re both uses for getting thorns or stones out of your cat’s paws or body, as well as cutting away matted fur around an injury.
That list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a great starting point, and you’ll be able to provide a basic nursing service to your cat should you ever need to. Just don’t expect them to thank you for it, however good your bedside manner is!
Typical price: If you’re putting the kit together yourself, you’ll probably pay more. That’s another reason to go for a pre-approved, pre-packaged option instead! There’s no reason why they should set you back more than $30 at most.
2. Supplements As Essential Cat Health Aids
If you wake up in the morning and take a vitamin tablet, a protein shake and a probiotic yogurt, then guess what? You’re taking health supplements. And there’s no reason why your cat shouldn’t be taking them either! We take vitamin tablets, cod liver tablets and the like in order to stay younger and stronger for longer. That’s the same philosophy that’s applied to designing similar supplements for cats. And if they’re beneficial to your cat’s health, then that makes them essential cat health aids! Here are some of the more common cat health care products.
2.1 Cod Liver Oil For Cats
Description: No prizes for guessing what this is. Cod liver oil has been used as a supplement for humans since time immemorial. Generally promoted as a ‘natural conditioner’, cod liver oil is rich in all of the major vitamin groups. Manufacturers promote the idea that the product is great for energy levels, as well as helping to build and maintain stronger bones and teeth, and healthier skin. They’re a ‘one fits all’ solution, not specialising in any individual area of cat health, but trying to do an all round job.
Typical price: They’re available in a range of volumes, but a typical 400ml bottle shouldn’t be any more than $10.
2.2 Cat Coat Conditioner
Description: Cats are clean, proud animals. The shine of their coat shows the world how healthy they are, and they spend a lot of time preening and grooming it themselves. You can even get special cat shampoo to help them with this – check out our cat grooming guide for more information – but there’s more than one way to achieve a glossy finish. Also if your cat is the type that moults too much, leaving bald patches, cat coat conditioner is designed to be an effective remedy to the problem. It’s a liquid cat health product, introduced as a diet supplement, and focuses on replenishing natural oil levels within your cat’s body.
Typical price: Once more you’re dependant on how much of it you’re looking to buy, but 400ml comes in around the $15 mark, and seems to be the standard serving.
2.3 Joint Supplements
Description: If you have an elderly cat, or a cat that’s suffered an injury, it may not enjoy the same level of mobility it once had. That’s when joint supplements become absolutely essential cat health aids. Joint supplements for cats come in capsule or tablet form. They contain specific sets of ingredients which are designed to maintain or improve mobility in stiff limbs and joints.
Often, they will contain the basic building blocks which a cat’s body needs to grow and replace cartilage, as well as collagen to do the same for ligaments and tendons. They should also contain acids that occur naturally in the body which are used to lubricate joints. Because of the fairly intensive levels of chemicals within most joint supplement solutions, they’re not recommended for use on pregnant cats. If your cat has arthritis, you’ll find that vets advise the use of joint supplements almost every time.
Typical price: They’re a little more expensive than the other supplements we’ve looked at, but that’s because they’re designed for long term treatment, and do a specific job. $30 is about right for a month’s worth of tablets or capsules.
3. Flea Treatments
If your cat has fleas, you’ll have a hard time convincing anybody that flea treatments aren’t essential cat health aids! Fleas are an issue for both your cat, and for
you. They make life very unpleasant for your cat because they’re uncomfortable, and they can also spread to your furniture. There are also potential health risks to humans in some circumstances, and scientific studies have been performed into those risks. In short, if your cat has fleas, you’ll want to help them get rid of them as quickly as possible. You’ll want to arm yourself with the most effective flea treatments for cats.
If you have a house cat, it’s unlikely this will ever become an issue. If, however, your cat likes to go and see the outside world from time to time, it’s inevitable that they’ll pick up fleas from somewhere. Fortunately there are various methods we can use to get rid of infestations, and stop them from coming back.
3.1 Flea Collars
Description: We don’t want to go into too much detail about these here – because we’ve already done it somewhere else! Go and see our cat collar guide. In general, they work one of two ways. They will either emit a gas that wards off fleas from making a home on your cat in the first place, or a chemical that interacts with your cat’s skin and kills off existing flea infestations. Some collars will actually do both, so always check the label. You want to make sure you have the right collar for the right job!
Typical price: There’s no reason to pay more than $10 for these. They’re undoubtedly essential cat health aids, but they’re also basic supplies.
3.2 Cat Flea Spray
Description: This is a cure, as opposed to a preventative, and is designed to help kill off existing flea infestations. A good cat flea spray can be applied once, and within a couple of days the fleas should have made their way to the insect afterlife. Although you can get flea sprays that look like a can of deodorant, you may be better served with a more gentle model. Some brands have a ‘silent action’ pump spraying feature, which means that the solution is deployed noiselessly. That’s often better for your cat, who might be understandably alarmed if you suddenly start spraying things at it from a canister! A mild insecticide deals with the problem. Always follow the instructions and monitor your cat for any sign of an allergic reaction.
Typical price: This is yet another product that will vary in price depending on how much you order, but $10 should get you enough to get rid of an existing problem.
3.3. “Spot On” Cat Flea Repellant
Description: Whereas flea spray kills existing fleas, this form of remedy is designed to stop them jumping onto your cat in the first place. It usually comes in a little bottle, which you can squeeze into your cat’s fur, and then massage and rub into place along your cat’s coat. If you do a good job, your cat may not even notice you’ve done anything at all. When it comes to essential cat health aids, that’s definitely a bonus! Results vary from brand to brand, but even at the cheaper end of the market they claim to offer four weeks protection with each application.
Typical price: Around $15 per tube, which doesn’t seem to be too much in return for a flea-free cat.
3.4 Cat Flea Tablets
Description: If all else fails, and the sprays and collars aren’t shifting the problem, then it may be necessary to resort to more invasive solutions. You can buy tablets which guarantee to rid your cat of fleas. They’re intended as an “as well as” rather than “instead of” fix, and as such can work alongside any other treatment. Tablets will only work to kill off existing fleas, and so a preventative should be used alongside them to make sure they stay away. One tablet should be enough to kill every flea on a cat within 24 hours.
Typical price: $15 for a course of tablets is about right.
4. Essential Cat Health Aids For Worming
Nobody likes talking about cat worms. It’s just an uncomfortable subject, and they’re not nice creatures to imagine. Unfortunately, they have to be dealt with. Untreated worms can be very hazardous for cats. For kittens, they can even be fatal. Worms are parasites and feed off your cat’s blood, and food intake. Also – and we’re sorry to break this to you – some forms of worms can even be passed on from cats to their owners. It’s a good job there are several effective ways to get rid of them. Oh, and yes – given the risks, that does mean that worming treatments are essential cat health aids! It’s considered to be inevitable that cats will develop worms on a semi regular basis, and so cat deworming treatment is recommended at least a couple of times a year.
4.1 Cat Worming Granules
Description: A basic, easy to use and minimally invasive way of treating worms in cats. Worming granules are odourless and tasteless, and for that reason you should be able to hide them in your cat’s food quite easily. Your cat shouldn’t even notice they’re there. Granules are usually intended for the specific treatment of ringworm.
Typical price: $5-$10 should get you enough for three days treatment, which is usually enough to shift ringworms.
4.2 Cat Worming Tablets
Description: There are many, many different brands of this product available. Some offer two tablet solutions, and some claim to do it all in one. The problems with persuading cats to take tablets are well known, so certain brands even offer meat flavoured tablets to make the job easier. Cat worming tablets are designed to kill not only ringworms, but tapeworms as well, and as such they’re a more complete solution than granules.
Typical price: With such a wide range of brands and strengths on offer it’s difficult to say, but the ‘one tablet’ solutions tend to come in around $10 a time.
4.3 “Spot On” Worming Drops
Description: As with other “spot on” treatments, these come in the form of a small bottle or pipette, containing a liquid which you squeeze out into the base of your cat’s neck and then rub and stroke in. Your cat won’t, or shouldn’t, notice the treatment being applied. The better brands will treat most types of worms that cats are susceptible to, including tapeworms, and each treatment is designed to be effective for up to three months.
Typical price: Again, they’ll vary from brand to brand, but there’s no reason to pay more than $20.
5. Cat Dental Health Products
How much less fresh would you feel if you didn’t brush your teeth in the morning? Cats teeth are as prone to plaque build up and decay, just the same as humans teeth are. You may also have noticed that getting cat breath in your face isn’t the most pleasant experience. Cats can’t brush their own teeth, so we shouldn’t blame them for that! Fortunately, help is at hand. There are a whole range of products designed to improve dental health for cats. Cats are very tactile with their mouths. Aside from chewing, they also use them for carrying, and in some cases, gripping. We have a duty to ensure that our cats’ teeth last for their whole life time. And that means cat dental health products are essential cat health aids!
5.1 Fresh Breath Tablets
Description: Seeing as we just mentioned bad breath, let’s start there. Your cat’s breath doesn’t have to be an issue every time they want to bump noses with you! Fresh breath tablets usually contain a natural plant extract that absorbs and neutralises bad odours coming from the mouth. You can feed the tablets directly to your cat if they’re open to taking tablets from your hand. Otherwise, they can also be crushed and introduced into food. No more wrinkling your nose when your cat wants kisses!
Typical price: A course of tablets that will last a month shouldn’t set you back any more than $10. Remember that this is an ongoing treatment though. They’ll only work for as long as you’re giving your cat the tablets.
5.2 Plaque Removal Powder
Description: These powders treat plaque, as well as odour! Just disguising your cat’s bad breath is great for you, but doesn’t do so much for your cat. These powders actively work to reduce plaque and tartar build up on the teeth. They have a similar effect to the way mouthwash works for humans. The powder is simply sprinkled over food, and then does its work as your cat chews down its meal. The ingredients of these powers tend to be all-natural. Like the tablets, this is a daily treatment, and effects will only last for as long as you’re applying the powder.
Typical price: A typically sized pot will cost you something like $15. How long they last depends on how much powder you sprinkle over the food, although for most cats it’s advisable to keep the portions small.
5.3 Cat Toothpaste or Tooth Gel
Description: We won’t insult your intelligence. You know what toothpaste is. Although some brands market cat toothpaste and cat tooth gel as different products, they’re essentially the same thing. The pastes and gels fight off bacteria, plaque, tartar and bad breath. Although they’ll often come with a brush, actually cleaning cat’s teeth with a brush isn’t always necessary. That’s good news, because not all cats will allow you to do that!
Several varieties are designed to taste pleasant to cats, so they’ll actually come and lick it off your finger, or straight from the tube, without needing encouragement. Always read the label to find out how much gel or paste should be used in one go.
Typical price: It varies quite a lot from brand to brand. That being said, we can’t find a good reason to pay more than $20 at most for a tube. And if you want to find out how to clean a cat’s teeth, check out our specialist guide!
5.4 Liquid Oral Care Solutions
Description: This is a clever way of getting a cat who’s shy of toothpaste or tablets to look after its oral health. Liquid oral care solutions just dissolve in your cat’s drinking water. They’re even approved to be used with cat fountains, if that’s how your cat prefers to take its water. Ingredients vary from brand to brand, but they’re usually based on baking soda. They claim to be ‘almost’ colourless and tasteless, although a sensitive cat might still notice something’s afoot! Manufacturers claim that they fight all the same symptoms and causes of tooth decay as pastes and gels do.
Typical price: $10 a bottle seems to be the going rate. Again, read the instructions to make sure you’re getting the portions right.
6. Specialist Cat Foods
Now we’re entering into the area of veterinary advice. There are many, many different types of cat food available that’s specially designed to ease, treat or complement various cat health conditions. If we listed every single one of them, we and you would be here for the rest of the day. So instead, we’ve compiled a list of cat health conditions that we’ve found specialist foods available for. If your cat suffers from one of these health conditions, you may not even have been aware that specialist foods were available for them. So, this list could be good news!
We’d suggest double checking with a vet before starting to use any of these foods, just to make sure they’re happy it will be safe for your pet. Despite that, the vast majority of them are available over the counter, with no prescription necessary. Oh, and you’ve probably noticed we’re working to a theme here, but in cast you hadn’t, here we go again. If your cat has special healthcare requirements, then the correct foods are most definitely essential cat health aids!
“Essential Cat Health Aids” Specialist Food List
During our research, we found specialist food available, in all flavours of meat and fish you can imagine, designed to bring the following benefits:-
- Cat diabetes management
- Cat digestion care
- Hairball reduction
- Hypoallergenic care
- Joint care
- Liver care
- Oral health care
- Specialist food for pregnant cats
- Skin and coat care
- Renal care
- Thyroid health care
- Urinary tract health care
- Weight control
So if there’s something on that list that applies to your cat, help could just be one well placed purchase away!
Taking good care of your cat’s health means a longer, happier relationship between you and your furry friend. Not everything that can go wrong with a cat’s health requires a vet’s attention. You should view yourself as your cat’s primary care giver. Essential cat health aids are the things that you can use at home to help your cat feeling and looking good. They’re not intended to be a replacement for the care a vet can give. They’re the things you can use to make a visit to the vet less likely! We appreciate you may still have questions, though, so let’s try to deal with them.
What Essential Cat Health Aids Should I Have As a Minimum?
We’d suggest every cat owning home should have a cat first aid kit. We’d also suggest you prepare yourself for worms and fleas. Worms are inevitable, even for indoor cats. An outdoor cat will eventually attract fleas. If you can prevent the problem from occurring in the first place, it’ll save you time and money down the line. Not to mention you’ll have a happier cat! You can order most of the essential cat supplies online, so it should be easy to get yourself sorted out. Just don’t push too far in trying to get cat supplies cheap. You want them to work, and you want them to be good quality. If your kitty supplies are poorly made, they’re as good as useless.
Are Dental Hygiene Products Really Essential Cat Health Aids?
We think so. If our teeth fall out, we can get dentures. Cat’s can’t. Also, your cat uses its teeth for more things than you do. Without teeth, it can’t carry things from place to place. Teeth are an important part of your cat’s identity. Don’t forget they’re all hunters at heart. Even if they never leave the house, they like to believe they could still hunt their own food if they needed to! Without its teeth, your cat will feel insecure and vulnerable. So to answer your question, yes. Products that help your cat to keep its teeth are essential cat health aids.
How Do I Know When To Take My Cat To The Vet?
Bear in mind what we said at the start. This article is about essential cat health aids only. It doesn’t cover every type of care and assistance available for your cat’s health. If your cat is ill, and you don’t know why, always seek a vet’s opinion. The products discussed in this article are intended to deal with the obvious and day to day. You’ll notice if your cat has fleas, and you should also notice if your cat has worms. Those are problem you can deal with at home. You don’t need a vet to tell you to take care of your cat’s teeth, either.
As you’ve seen above, there are many dietary supplements that can assist with a number of feline health conditions. You just need to make sure you get a professional diagnosis before you start trying to use them. If you think your cat is in pain, then don’t go looking for cat pain medication on the internet; that’s a veterinary matter. In short, if you have an issue that your household cat healthcare products can’t deal with, call a vet.
We hope this article was informative and useful. We just want to help you to help your cat! Thanks for stopping by and reading, we appreciate it. If you think your cat loving friends would benefit from this information, we’d love you to share it far and wide!