My recommended must have cat health resources start with your own veterinarian.
Obviously no online resource, book, or website can substitute for local veterinary care.
Sadly, cats reportedly do not visit the veterinarian enough.
I've had people tell me to my face that "cats don't need to visit the vet like dogs do." Dog doo doo is right!
This is one of the reasons why I remind people over and over again that for any suspected health problem, your cat should be checked by a qualified veterinarian. Cats are extremely good at hiding signs of illness, pain and discomfort.
Don't let your cat fool you. Take him or her to the vet.
You should have your vet's office number and emergency numbers handy at all times: on your refrigerator, in your wallet, on speed dial, in your cell phone.
Some vets offer their own refrigerator magnets with emergency and office numbers on them. That's great, but you also need to have a plan and know what to with that number should you need it.
Ask your vet about their after hours and emergency services policy. Will you be calling a service? (Probably) Are there multiple veterinarians who do on-call rotations?
Do all of these vets have extensive experience with cats? Would you be bringing your cat to their office, or do they use perhaps a 24/7 animal clinic or vet hospital?
If your cat has a health issue in the middle of the night, what will you do? You should know these answers before hand. Saving time may mean saving lives. Hopefully, you'll never have to use the emergency number, but you should be prepared.
If your veterinarian is not near enough to you, you should scout the area for an emergency animal hospital near you, and keep that number available as well. Ask them about their emergency policies.
The rest of the resources below are a smorgasbord providing pet and cat health information from various sources.
Articles and Research
Cat food and Poisons
Spay and Neuter Resources
Cat Health on Twitter
ASPCA article library -- Articles from aging to worms.
AVMA Animal Health Brochures for Cat Owners -- The American Veterinary Medical Association's information aimed at cat owners.
Winn Feline Health Foundation -- Cat health information from feline asthma to zoonotic diseases.
Ask a veterinarian online -- Ask a veterinarian a question via JustAnswer (there is a fee for this service).
If there's a veterinary college near you, that's another potential resource should you need it. The Cornell Feline Health Center offers a number of cat health resources and services, some of which can be done long distance over the phone.
The cat health resources below focus on food and toxins. The tragic and very public pet food recall incidents of the past 15 years, especially the one in 2007 have made pet owners more aware of the need to stay informed.
What many people don't know, however, is that thousands of cases of poisoning occur every year due to household items. Human medication, household cleaning products, insecticides, and house plants can all be toxic to the point of being deadly to cats.
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Hotline (USA)
(888) 426-4435 (you may be charged for the call)
In case Bob Barker and Betty White didn't drive the point home, we need to spay and neuter our pet cats and dogs. Giving them a home is an obvious move, but no matter how careful we are, "accidents" will happen, and nature does what it does.
I was talking to a man and his daughter the other day. A neighbor had to give up their cat, and they took her in. The cat got out, and now it looks like we're going to have kittens. This is one of many thousands of stories.
It doesn't have to be this way. There are a number of low cost and possibly in some cases, no cost options.
Low Cost Neuter and Spay Resources -- Spay/Neuter Your Pet (SNYP) offers discounted spay neuter assistance and a helpline.
Found Animals -- Found Animals works to reduce the number of dogs and cats put to death each year, which is estimated to be at 3 to 4 million by some counts.
There just aren't enough willing homes and until we become a "no-kill" world, lives will be lost. This is a needless tragedy.
More information on low cost spay and neuter programs here.
More and more we're seeing veterinarians, animal hospitals, and cat health experts setting up their own blogs and websites. Below are a few:
Dr. Lisa Pierson's Catinfo.org
Dr. Shelby Neely's Ask the Cat Doctor site
Here are a few Twitter cat (and other animal) health resources to follow.
Comments: What do you think?Have your say about what you just read. Leave me a comment in the box below.