Cat Friendly Practice

Whether you are a seasoned cat owner or a novice starting a new adventure, Animal Health Services is here to help you care for your cat.

We are a certified Cat Friendly Practice, meaning we have completed a self-assessment checklist that shows we have incorporated the standard criteria for our practice to be cat friendly. The program’s standards are research-based and represent the highest standards of feline veterinary care. To become certified, veterinary hospitals must meet the criteria on the checklist, review all provided educational materials and designate a Cat Advocate at the practice. Our Cat Care Clinic Director is Dr. Lane Smith and our Cat Care Clinic Cat Advocate is Kate Dial, CVT.

A Message from Our Director, Dr. Lane Smith

Food, water, toys, litter box and kitty tower…check! You’re now ready to give your new feline friend a great home and lots of love. Is there anything you have forgotten? What about a trip to the vet? That’s right, whether you have rescued an adult cat that is up to date on all of their vaccines or just gave a little kitten a new home, the next step in having a healthy pet is a trip to the vet.

Whether your cat is young or old, lives indoors or visits the outdoors, he needs regular veterinary care. Thorough physical exams may reveal disease that is difficult for an untrained person to notice. Plus, cats are great at hiding their ailments, and many times we find that disease has progressed significantly by the time a cat is brought to Animal Health Services. It is always better for us to find disease early than to try playing catch up once it has a firm hold on a cat’s body. Some common problems I see on routine exams are dental disease, enlarged thyroid glands, muscle loss, back pain and heart murmurs.

Our cats are way too important to be kept from the professional care and attention they deserve. Visit our Cat Care Clinic at Animal Health Services and see how cat lovers practice veterinary medicine.

Caring for Your Cat

At Animal Health Services of Cave Creek’s Cat Care Clinic, we celebrate and encourage great cat health, which includes prioritizing preventative healthcare. Routine exams and, when necessary, routine diagnostics, help us look for the most common diseases that affect our feline furry friends.

Creating a Supportive Environment for Your Cat

To create a safe, supportive and comfortable environment for your cat, you must consider their physical as well as emotional needs. They should have plenty of opportunities for play along with places to rest. Cats tend to enjoy being in enclosed spaces just big enough for them to fit, so consider leaving out a cardboard box or other place to hide.

Cats also need regular interaction with their humans! Don’t force social time with cats, but make yourself available to dole out pets and playtime.

Learn more about creating a haven for your cat at your home from the American Association of Feline Practitioners (PDF).

Cat Grooming and Coat Care

Most cats are considered medium- or natural-coated, with the exception of the Cornish Rex, which is a true feline short coat, and have one primary hair and between 12 to 24 secondary hairs in each hair follicle. The denser the coat, the softer the fur! Cats absorb 30% more through their skin than we do, and because of this, they should not be shaved. Shaving removes their first line of defense against bacteria and pollutants, leaves the skin unprotected against UV rays and disrupts their ability to regulate body temperature. Cats’ natural coats are great at keeping them cool or warm, depending on the environment.

Cats should be brushed regularly to keep their fur from matting and to eliminate unnecessary overcoat and any shedded hair. Your cat also likely needs to be bathed regularly. Feline friends should be brushed before bathing to remove any excess hair and to prepare the coat for the cleanser. Cats should be bathed with a quality shampoo and conditioner every two months. Otherwise, cats ingest all of the dirt, oil, pollution and toxins that are left on their coats by the environment.

When bathing, massage shampoo into the coat, being careful not to go against the grain of the hair. Going against the grain will stimulate the glands in the skin and will cause them to overproduce oil, which can make your pet smelly. Always be sure to wash the belly, armpits and feet very well, as these are places that have a greater number of oil-producing glands. After your entire pet is lathered, let them rest a minute or two, then rinse well. Letting the shampoo rest allows it to do its job, preventing you from having to repeat the shampoo cycle. Apply balsam as well, letting it rest on the pet for a minute or two, then brushing the balsam through the coat to loosen shedding hair. Rinse well.

Towel dry your pet friend, making sure you are not going against the grain of hair. When your cat is damp to dry, use a brush to remove tangles and loose undercoat.

Every few days, brush your cat to remove dust and dirt and keep their natural oils spread throughout their coat. Clip nails every three to four weeks.

Cat Dental Care

Cats need dental care too! While routine cleanings at Animal Health Services are crucial for maintaining your cat’s dental health, it’s just as important to keep up on dental care at home. Brushing a pet’s teeth can be a daunting task if you’ve never done it before. Introduce the process slowly so your cat can get used to it in stages. Start by using just your finger and some water, then introduce a toothbrush, then introduce a pet-safe toothpaste.

Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine made some excellent videos to help cat owners get a hang of brushing their cats’ teeth. Check out the playlist here, and contact your Animal Health Services veterinarian if you still have problems with toothbrushing.