Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

Improving Your Cat's Immune System

Learn ways to boost your cat’s immune system.

Most people think a lot about their own immune system and those of their family. We all work hard to keep our immune systems working well, so we can fight off illness and disease. We exercise, take supplements, and try to keep our stress low.

But did you know it's important to do those things for your cat too? They also need certain things to ensure the best working immune system possible. Luckily, there's a lot you can do as a pet owner to boost your kitty's immune system.

Keep Stress as Low as Possible

Stress is one of an immune system's worst enemies. It wears down the body's defenses and leaves it more susceptible to inflammation and, subsequently, infection and disease.

Keeping your cat's stress low means making sure she has access to enough fresh water, nutritious food, clean litter boxes, and cozy cat beds. It also means providing quality one-on-one time with you and interactive playtime.

Good quality scratching posts help decrease feline stress.

Feliway, a product that mimics the calming pheromone produced by cats, reduces stress in felines.

Playing classical music can lower stress in cats.

Learn more about stress in cats and how to combat it here: "Stress in Cats."

Provide Top Quality Nutrition

As in humans, what your cat eats makes a huge impact on how well their body works, including their immune system. Poor quality food or a diet that's wrong for cats or the individual cat's life stage can lead to inflammation, obesity, and increased risk of infection and disease.

Cats should be fed a formulated diet that's proper for the life stage they are in (kitten, adult, or senior) and any medical conditions they have (kidney dysfunction, heart disease, diabetes, etc.). Top quality ingredients and proper balancing by a nutritionist are critical for achieving proper health. Your veterinarian can help you determine the best diet for your cat.

Encourage Play and Exercise

Exercise does three things for the immune system. It helps keep a cat's body health, strong, and at a good weight. It also blows of steam and decreases stress. Additionally, exercise, especially play that mimics a cat's normal predator activity, keeps cats mentally stimulated.

Make sure you're spending time every day encouraging your cat to move and play. Engage in interactive playtime with a wand toy that mimics a cat's prey behavior.

You can also use automatic cat toys to keep your cat busy when you aren't available.

Be sure to switch out toys regularly so your kitty doesn't get bored and put away wand toys when you aren't using them because they can be dangerous if your cat tries to play with them without supervision.

You can also make DIY toys to provide variety and keep your cat interested. Check it out: "Clever DIY Cat Toys."

Maintain a Good Weight for Your Cat

Being overweight stresses the organs, joints, and immune system. It can be a struggle to keep an indoor cat slim and trim, and that's where your management comes into play.

The first step is ensuring you're using a good quality diet and the right type. But you must also control the amount your cat eats every day. For most cats, the best way to do that is to feed meals instead of free choice. Find out from your veterinarian how many calories your cat should get every day for her unique situation and body type. Then figure out how many calories are in your cat's food and determine how much to feed each day.

From there, you can divide the daily food allotment into two or three daily meals. You can also divide it down further and hide small meals around the house, encouraging your cat to "hunt" them throughout the day.

Remember that any treats you give your cat count against her daily calorie allotment. Keep treats healthy and small. In fact, consider giving kibbles of her regular diet as treats. You can also use a puzzle toy to keep your cat busy and getting kibble in small amounts.

Keep Bedding Clean and Brush Your Cat Regularly

Exposure to allergens, bacteria, and viruses can all increase inflammation and decrease immune function.

Brushing your cat daily can help remove allergens and other material that your cat would otherwise ingest when she self-grooms. Additionally, clean your cat's bedding routinely to remove allergens and organisms.

Clever DIY Cat Toys

Interactive Playing with Wand Toys

Stress in Cats

Feliway - A Useful Tool to Help Treat Stress in Cats

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