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How to Care for American Shorthair Cats?


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American Shorthair cats are friendly and good-natured. They are great pets if you have a family with children or if you have other pets. These cats live a long time and enjoy hunting and playing. Since they are such hardy animals, it is relatively easy to ensure that your American Shorthair cat has a long, healthy life.

Getting Proper Veterinary Care

  1. Have her vaccinated. There are some core vaccinations that you cat should have early in life. Some common vaccinations include rabies, feline leukemia, and distemper.
  • If your cat does not commonly go outside or if she is not around other cats who may have it, your vet may decide not to give your cat the feline leukemia vaccine.

2. Get frequent checkups. Every year when your cat is young, you should take your cat for a general checkup at the vet. This is when she will get her vaccinations, vaccination boosters, and tests for parasites. Once she turns seven, she should be taken twice a year to keep a check on her heart as well as other conditions that are common with ages.

  • When your cat in young, she will need to be dewormed. It is possible that the shelter or breeder where you got your cat will have records of her first deworming session, since it is supposed to be done before she is old enough to adopt.
  • If your vet finds internal parasites, such as worms, your vet will give you medications to kill these parasites.

3. Have your pet spayed or neutered. Once your cat reaches six months of age, you should have her spayed (or neutered if your cat is male). This will help prevent your cat from having kittens if you don’t want her to as well as cut down on aggressive or marking behavior in males and heat behavior in females.

  • Spaying or neutering your cat can also help prevent certain diseases, such as urinary tract infections or genital cancers.

4. Recognize hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). In general, American Shorthair cats are very healthy. However, they are prone to developing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which is a condition where the heart muscle thickens.[4] When this disease first develops, there are no symptoms. However, as it progresses, you will notice:

  • Overall lethargy
  • Decreased activity
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fits of collapsing
  • Sudden death

5. Test for heart problems. If you are worried about your cat or you see signs of HCM, take your cat to the vet immediately. He will give your cat an echocardiogram to check for the disease.

  • If he finds that she does have HCM, he will prescribe her medication to help make the heart pump more efficiently.

Feeding Your Cat

1. Give her the suggested amount. American Shorthair cats are happiest if they are not overweight. You can help her stay within a healthy range by feeding her the suggested amount on the cat food labels. This is based on weight, so check the back of the bag or can and feed her what is recommended for her specific weight.

  • To avoid your cat getting hungry, you should feed her two or three times a day. Split the recommended amount up between those two to three meals.
  • To keep within the recommended range, don’t leave dry food out all the time. This can cause your cat to overeat.

2. Feed her high quality food. American Shorthair cats require specific nutrients so they can avoid certain health issues, such as heart disease and possible eye conditions. Your cat needs a lot of natural meat sources that have valuable amino acid proteins that are necessary for the health of your cat. Check the cat food can or bag to see what ingredients are in each food. Make sure all natural meat is in the first few ingredients. Avoid those with meat byproducts in the three or four few ingredients.

  • This kind of food will likely be more expensive than others, but it is worth it for your pet’s health.
  • If you aren’t sure about your food choices for your American Shorthair cat, talk to your vet.

3. Change her water. Your cat needs fresh water every day to keep her healthy. You should also clean and change her bowls every day in order to prevent any bacteria or algae growth on the bowls.

  • If your cat doesn’t like to drink water, place water bowls in multiple places throughout the house to encourage her to drink.

4. Feed treats sparingly. Treats are a nice way to reward your cat, but overdoing it can cause your cat to gain weight or cause her nutrients to become unbalanced. If you do choose to give yoru cat treats, you should avoid doing it more than a few times a day.

  • Avoid giving your cat milk as a reward. Cats cannot break down the lactose in milk easily, so they may suffer from diarrhea or vomiting if they ingest too much.

Taking Care of Your American Shorthaired Cat

1. Brush your cat. American Shorthaired cats have a dense, short coats. This means that you should brush her vigorously once a week. This will keep her fur nice and smooth and also cut down on shedding.

  • You can buy a cat brush at your local pet store.

2. Check your cat for skin irregularities. As you are brushing your cat, check over her skin for lumps, bumps, sores, scratches, bruises, or skin irritations. If you notice anything, keep a check on them for a few days. If they don’t go away or you notice them getting bigger, more irritated, or getting infected, take her to the vet.

  • You should also be on the look out for fleas and ticks. If you notice any of these, buy topical medication or flea and tick shampoo.

3. Take care of her nails. You should keep a check on your American Shorthair’s claws. Buy cat claw clippers at the pet store or use clean human nail clippers. Look at the claws and clip off the white areas of the nail. These are the extra portions of her nails. Do not cut off the pink portions of the nails.

  • This is where the blood supply as well as the nerves are in the nails. Cutting these areas will cause pain and possible infections.[13]
  • Settle your cat onto a flat surface or in your lap. Place your non-dominant lower arm on the cat to hold her down. Use this arm to hold her down gently so she cannot squirm or scratch your arm. Grab the first paw with the arm holding her down, then gently press on the pad of the paw to make the nails visible and spread apart. Trim each nail this way, then move on to the next.

4. Take care of her teeth daily. To help avoid gum disease or other mouth issues, you need to brush your cat’s teeth every day. Buy cat friendly toothpaste at you local pet store or ask your veterinarian for some. You should also buy a soft bristled cat toothbrush.

  • You have to get her used to you being near her mouth before she will let you brush her teeth. Let her lick off the toothpaste first, getting used to the taste. The next day, gently rub the paste into her gums. The next day, start with the toothbrush. This may take a few tries for you to do successfully, since she isn’t used to it, but she will eventually let you brush her teeth.
  • Do not use human toothpaste on cats because fluoride is toxic to them.

5. Play with your cat. American Shorthair cats are social, friendly cats. This means they love to play with you and your children. Set aside time every day to play with your cat. Buy toys specifically for interactive play, such as mice you can throw, feather toys you can dangle, or other small cat toys she can chew.

  • Also look into getting her a scratching post, scratching toys, or a cat tower. This will help exercise her claws and wear them down, which can help you clip her claws less.
  • Don’t give her toys that have ingestible rubber parts or string elements. These parts can be eaten and cause problems in her stomach.

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