Read these 85 Cat Health Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cat tips and hundreds of other topics.
Your kitty is sick or injured and needs veterinarian cat care, but your budget this month can't afford the bill.
Call your local animal shelter/dog pound, humane society, ASPCA, or rescue organization. They have lists of low cost vets in your area, and can even help pay for vet bills in some cases.
Hairballs are more of a problem in longhaired cats than short, but no one like to listen to a gagging cat. Hairballs are caused by too much hair in the cat's stomach from their own grooming. Although there are many different remedies, I prefer preventative health care measures and training:
Daily brushing is my number one tip to prevent cat hairballs, especially during the warm months of the year. If you start brushing your cat during this time of the year, it is easier to train them to enjoy it. They are naturally trying to get rid of that excess undercoat, and your daily brushing will do that for them.
But if your cat's pattern of coughing up the occasional hairball changes, take your cat to the vet to find out why.
Another suggestion to stop cat hairballs (or at least reduce them) is to feed your cat or kitten Iams or Science Diet's Hairball Control. It has worked wonders for my longhaired cat.
Your kitty's excessive licking and grooming can have several causes: stress, food allergies, and more. Your first step is a visit with your vet to determine whether it's a health or behavior problem.
Many cats are allergic to corn, a main ingedient in most dried cat foods. If your vet suspects an allergy, change the cat's food and watch for improvements in your cat's coat and behavior. Your vet can suggest brands of food that will help the most.
If the licking is due to stress, try to remove the source, or simply manage the stress. This is particularly important in multiple cat-households. We have four, & the low man on the pecking order stopped chewing his fur when I started feeding him without the others present. I also give him 'special time', i.e. an hour per day, when he is with me alone and gets undivided attention.
Urinary infection is a common cat health problem for cats, especailly males due to their physiology. Although it is easily treated, it can lead to kidney failure and even death if left untreated. If you suspect UI, take your cat to a reputable vet immediately.
Some of the symptoms and signs to look for include:
Straining to urinate, discomfort while urinating, howling or crying while urinating, tinkling anywhere and everywhere (very small puddles), and discolored urine (indicating blood in the urine).
To wash minor wounds, use witch hazel. Or add 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary or blackberry leaves to a cup of boiling water, and boil it for several hours.
If your cat has serious wounds, take it to the vet immediately for emergency cat care.
GURU'S NOTE: This tip was submitted by a user, and I cannot validate it one way or the other: For any wounds my cats get, I take them to the vet to determine the severity and to get antibiotics. Puncture wounds from teeth will appear to be very small on the outside, but can wreak havoc below the skin.
If your cat or kitten is constantly clawing your couch or chair, this is what worked magnificently for me:
Put a carpet covered scratching post directly in front of the area of the furniture the cat loves to destroy. Rub the post down with catnip and the cats will be drawn to the scratching post instead of the couch.
Now, my cats scratch the post instead of the couch and love the occassional sprinkling of catnip.
For your Kitty, petting reduces his stress of being alone all day, reaffirms his importance to you, and creates the desire-to-please-you within your kitty.
When you get home each day, take a few minutes to pet your Kitty. Before you do anything else, stop, drop everything and pet the kitty. Stryper calls it: Paying the Cat Tax.
For those who are wary of pesticides in the house, there are other natural ways of eliminating most pesky insects. Most of the herbs in the Mint Family are natural insect repellents. Peppermint, Spearmint, Wintergreen, and Pennyroyal are just a few. Mix a few drops of concentrated mint oil in a spray bottle full of water and spray a light mist over your carpets and in the pet's bed. Let it dry, then vacuum. Spray couple times a day, and vacuum several times a week until your problem is solved. It took me about three weeks to clear my problem due to the life cycle of fleas.
The general symptoms of ear mites include:
Scratching behind the ear and inside the ear; A dark brown wax inside the ear; Plus other signs that are not visible without the special equipment a vet uses.
Ear mites are highly infectious little pests that feed on the lining of the ear canals. Because of their highly contagious nature, ear mites are especially common in shelter cats and kittens.
A quick trip to the vet can quickly determine if it is ear mites or something else, and to get the right medication for your kitty. Ear mites can be difficult to get rid of, so be persistent, and use the vet's medication recommendation, and not the pet store variety.
Cat Health Care Good News: The means of controlling ear mites have greatly improved in the past few years.
Here's an alternative to declawing your cat or kitten: You can trim your cat's nails to lessen the damage they cause, if you do not want to have him surgically declawed. Cats that are kept indoors need a regular manicure to prevent their nails from becoming overgrown.
Trimming your cat's claws should be started at a very young age so that they become accustomed to the procedure. Trying to force an adult cat to having its nails trimmed can be dangerous. In this case, let a professional groomer do the job - they know how to handle a reluctant kitty.
Cats and kittens suffer from upper respiratory ailments just as humans; allergies, colds, infections are just some of them. However, cats do not recover from them as easily as humans; they need veterinarian cat care to recover completely.
If they don't see a vet, and get the proper medications, they will be sickly for a long time, possibly for the rest of their life.
You should take your cat to the vet for feline medicines to treat upper respiratory ailments. Some human medicines are poisonous to cats, and all of them are toxic in the high dosages for humans.
If you budget is strained, contact your local animal shelter/pound, ASPCA, humane society or rescue organization. They will have a list of low cost vets in your area, and in some cases, the non-profit organizations can help you pay for the vet bills.
Not all cat's genetically have a glossy, shiny coat. However, all healthy cat's should have soft fur and some shine, but not dry, brittle or rough feeling.
This usually is a sign of malnutrition; from not eating a balanced diet.
Your budget will determine what you can feed your cat, but the better quality of the food, the better health your cat will have. Look for a dry food with No Corn or very little corn in it. Our pets can't digest corn properly, thus allowing it and the nutrition in the food to pass right through.
If your cat has bad gas, give it a little bit of yogurt. It puts good bacteria in the digestive tract, and helps your cat digest its food.
This was a tip from user, and I can't validate it one way or the other. It has always been my experience that flatulence in felines has a health issue causing it. If your cat has gas, take them to the vet for an intestinal exam.
There are several types of pesticide preparations available from your vet that will kill the tick and/or cause it to drop off on its own.
Some of these preparation are placed on the skin of the animal; some are administered orally.
Talk with your vet about the pros and cons of each and which is best for your family and your pet.
The toxoplasmosis parasite is commonly present in cattle, poultry, and many domestic animals without any harmful effects; however, it continues to live in raw meat after slaughter until the meat is cooked, dried, or frozen for a prolonged period. The two major causes of human toxoplasmosis infection in the U.S. are the consumption of raw or undercooked meat, and contact with the feces of the domestic cat.
To prevent infection, be certain to fully cook your fresh meat, and wash your hands thoroughly after changing the litter box.
You've tried everything to create a warm place for Ol' Kitty to nap, but she still seems cold.
Try clamping a mechanic's drop light with a 60 watt light bulb over Ol' Kitty's favorite napping spot. These are available at most hardware stores and even Wal Mart. Be sure to use a light with a flared hood/shade, so that the heat is directed towards your cat's bed. This mimics the sun's rays, and ever notice how a cat will move with the sun to stay in its warmth.
When caring for older cats, you might want to consider increasing the number of routine checkups with the vet.
A check up every three or four months could lengthen the life of your older pet, because heart, liver, kidney problems can be treated, if they are discovered early enough.
Older cats need warmth, much as older humans. Ever notice how 'warm' it is at your grandma's house.
If Ol' Kitty can't find a warm place to nap, you can create one for her.
Place a heating pad, on the lowest setting, beneath her favorite blanket in her favorite spot. This will help Kitty stay warm while she naps.
Cat's are picky about a warm place to nap, but this is critical when they get older.
As with humans, older cats' immune systems aren't as strong, and getting chilled could lead to respiratory problems, or aggravate any arthritis.
Be sure to keep a quiet warm place for Ol' Kitty to nap in year round. His nap place should be isolated from cold drafts in the winter and away from air conditioning vents in the summer.
Protecting your cat from fleas is important, but some cats won't easily take the liquid flea medicine. Try mixing the medicine in a can of wet food and give it to your cat. Most of the time he won't even know it was in there; he will just think he got a special treat.
GURU'S NOTE:This was submitted by a reader. Please, check with your vet before adminstering any medication in this manner to avoid chemical reactions that could harm your pet.
After you have removed a tick from your kitty (or you!), be certain to destroy the tick. You can drop it into rubbing alcohol, or grind it into the ground so that there is more 'fluid' than recognizable insect remaining. Ticks can survive water, so flushing them down the toilet or running them down the drain of the sink won't kill them.
It is recommended to get your kitty preventative worming medicine. All animals can get heartworms from mosquitoes, so it's best to keep your kitty indoors. However, mosquitoes do manage to find their way indoors, so be certain to let your vet check your cat for heart worms during the mosquito season.
Just because your cat stays indoors, doesn`t mean he is 100% safe from parasites. For those of you who have leave screen doors open, you too, should be concerned with Parasite Prevention. The Parasites can get in through the screen.
Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes are the most common trespassers through screen doors.
Indoor Cat owners should take some preventative measures around your doors and windows to help keep the Parasites out.
Check with your vet before switching Ol' Kitty to a food just because it says 'senior' on the package.
Your vet will have recommendations on the amounts of vitamins and minerals, as well as roughage, needed to keep an elderly cat healthy. Not all pet foods are created equal. It's been my experience that the better quality of food you give your cats, the better their health will be.
TOXOPLASMOSIS is a common parasitic infection in humans, warm-blooded animals, and birds, transmitted by contact with the microorganism Toxoplasma gondii. The disease normally runs a mild course, with a few noticeable symptoms resembling those of the common cold. If contracted by a woman during pregnancy, however, toxoplasmosis can cause serious birth defects.
Does your cat fight you everytime you try to give it a pill? Well there is an easy no hassle way to give your cat that pill. Take the pill and cover the top of the pill with the cats favorite tasting treat. I recommend that the flavored treat be sticky so that it will stick to the pill. Then give it to the cat and the cat should eat with pleasure!
GURU'S NOTE: Check with your vet about the contents of the pill, and if this is an acceptable means of giving your pet his medication. Some medications can be toxic or loose their effectiveness if chewed and subjected to saliva.
Your vet has determined that your cat has a urinary problem; he has given you medicine and recommended a special food for Kitty.
As one last question for the vet, ask him about the water quality in your area and if that could be contributing to Kitty's problem. If need be, you may want to switch kitty over to bottled water that has most of the minerals removed. (Water that has been treated with Reverse Osmosis or even distilled water).
To check your cat's temperature rectally, use a digital thermometer with K-Y jelly or Vaseline applied to the end. Press the button on the end of the thermometer prior to insertion and only insert the tip. Any further than this can cause serious internal damage to your pet. After the "Beep" remove thermometer and write results down prior to calling your veterinarian. This procedure should only be done in extreme emergencies and with the aid of another person.
All of my experience and my vets' instructions validate the idea that Ash Content in your cat's food can lead to urinary infection, or irritate it. Although I have read in recent studies that this is not the case, the source of the articles was a pet food company. I still keep the ash content in my pet's food at 3.2% or lower, and I don't have any troubles.
Dandruff, and a dull, brittle coat are usually triggered by malnutrition. No, I'm not saying you don't feed your cat; the food your cat is eating is not helping her, or it is not a balanced diet providing all of the nutrients a cat needs to be healthy.
Corn is the number one ingredient in most name brand pet foods; and corn is very difficult for our pets to digest; thus allowing most of it to pass right through. This will prevent your cat's system from absorbing any nutrition available in her food.
Your budget will determine what you can feed your cat, but the better quality of food, the more healthy your cat will be.
Well, normally cat's breath is not as 'pleasant' as a breath mint (especially after eating), but if it is really bad then you should have that looked at by a vet. Excessively bad breath can be a sign of gum disease, rotting teeth or stomach disorders. Any one, of which, can cause serious discomfort in your kitty, and even death if left untreated.
If you are feeding your kitty wet food exclusively, then that can encourage the build up of plaque and tartar and lead to bad breath. I recommend dry food to help with keeping teeth clean. Also, there are treats designed to keep kitty's teeth clean.
Your vet has determined that your kitty has a urinary problem, and you have discussed medicine, food, and water.
To help Kitty with this problem, and to protect your carpets, add another sand box in a different location from the other(s). UI creates the intense need to urinate, and having extra litter boxes around the house will insure he can get to one in time.
To make sure your cat has a safe pregnancy and a healthy birth, take your cat to see your vet - he or she may suggest basic blood work to establish baseline readings and to spot any potential health problems.
Follow your vets recommendations for prenatal care and don't give your cat any extra medications, vitamins, or any other pills without discussing them with your vet first.
Your cat will become restless about two weeks before giving birth and will look for a safe place to have her kittens. She should be confined at this time to the house and be provided with a box for birthing. It might be better to confine her to a single room, maybe your bedroom, so you can keep a close watch on her.
Make sure she delivers where you have easy access to them later on, because it's important for them to be as well socialized as possible.
If you are concerned about using pesticides in your home, and you can't handle the smell of herbal remedies, there is one other means of controling your flea problems.
Fleas can't process salt as well as we do. Try sprinkling salt on your carpets and in the pet's beds. Leave it for a few hours and vacuum. Repeat two or three times a week for as long as needed.
This does not work as well as the mint spray, but it does not leave any smell in the carpet.
NOTE: THIS CAN GET MESSY IF YOU LIVE IN AN AREA OF HIGH HUMIDITY. THE SALT WILL DRAW THE MOISTURE OUT OF THE AIR, FORCING YOU TO USE A WET VAC TO VACUUM IT UP.
Remember to have your veterinarian check your cat's mouth on a regular basis for any missing, loose or diseased teeth. This can be a major reason for health problems. Root canals, fillings and even flouride treatments are now available at the time of dental cleanings. Remember to follow through with regular brushings.
Altering/neutering/getting them fixed does not cause damage to your cat. It prevents many types of health problems when they are older. It keeps their personality in that 'kitten' phase where they are playful and love interaction with humans. And it saves your sanity from the incessant and constant 'mating behaviors' of the females being in heat.
Certain internal parasites and worms can cause your pet enough distress and discomfort to cause them to behave very strangely. Cats will growl and hiss at their back, chase their tails, attack the base of their tail and run around erratically, if the internal parasites are really bothering them. A quick trip to the vet can eliminate this minor health issue.
Also, stress can cause this strange behavior, and can lead to other more severe behaviors if it isn't adequately addressed. If this is the case, you need to take measures to eliminate the stressor, or help your cat manage their stress.
Either way, take your cat to the vet to determine the cause of this behavior.
Through the years there have been many Home Remedies for feline Urinary troubles.
The problem with these remedies is that most of them are based on human physiology, and are not necessarily appropriate for cats. Also, though some of them are sound in their theory, measuring a proper dosage makes them impractical in their application.
There simply is no substitute for a vet's care when treating urinary troubles in your cat.
Be cautious when choosing houseplants for your home, if you have kitties or children.
The Berries on Mistletoe are poisonous to cats and humans. Other dangerous plants to cats include: diffenbachia, poinsettia, english ivy, crocus, and others.
For a more complete list of dangerous plants, the symptoms they cause in pets, and what to do when a pet ingests one, check the Links page for the ASPCA link or the University of Illinois link.
Through the years there have been many home remedies for treating feline urinary troubles.
The problem with most of them is that they are based on human physiology, and aren't necessarily appropriate for cats. Secondly, finding the proper dosage for your cat makes the practial application almost worthless with out a vet's assistance.
There simply is no substitute for a vet's recommendation when treating feline urinary distress.
Claw tips are plastic tips that glue onto the cats claws, much like artificial finger nails. They are designed to lessen the damage the cat can afflict when clawing furniture. They come off on their own after time, so you will need to re-apply them. You can find them at many online pet stores.
The female will roll around on the floor and exhibit other unusual behaviors depending on her personality, and her ability to reach male cats.
If she is not bred, these behaviors will stop for a few days-and only for a few days, before beginning again until she is impregnated.
Puberty for cats usually starts at 6 months, however, females can have their first 'heat' as young as four months.
To get that nagging fur ball out, put vaseline on the paws of your cat. The cat will lick it off and ingest the vaseline and the fur ball will soon be gone. Do this on a routine basis and it will help your cat.
GURU NOTE: This is an old method of preventing hairballs, and should be used sparingly. There are much better ways of preventing hairballs with special food, and preparations that are specifically designed for a cat to ingest with safety.
Some cats prefer a real log instead of the traditional carpet covered scratching posts.
When using a log, be certain to check it for insect pests such as spiders, termites, and carpenter ants. However, applying any type of insecticide could poison your cat as well. Generally, the wood you buy for your fireplace from a grocery store should be free of pests.
It is always recommended that you buy good quality food for your cat. Some foods contain ingredients that cause common allergic reaction in cats.
Some signs of allergies include: intense itching (scratching), diarrhea, hives (small bumps) and hairloss.
Read the ingredients, and ask your vet for treatments of your cat's allergies, as well as, other brands of foods that could help lessen the allergic reactions.
When caring for your older cat (or cats of any age), be sure to take notice of the litter box deposits.
If the stool samples are runny or too hard, those are indicators of intestinal troubles. Runny stools demand a thorough check up from your vet. Hard stools may need nothing more than extra roughage or a laxative recommended by your vet.
Yes, take Ol' Kitty to the vet for a check up when you notice inconsistancies in the Litter Box.
Cats can contract ticks and fleas by walking through infested areas such as your yard or the vacant lot down the street.
Ticks are attracted to water sources such as ponds, streams and creeks, so if you live in an area such as this, be very wary of ticks on your cat.
Kittens as well as adult cats love to play with string. This can be a deadly combination. Not only can your cat choke on this, but string can cause irrepairable internal damage and even death to your kitten or cat.
Never let your cat play with string unsupervised, and always use a string/twine/cord that is as large as a pencil.
My vets have always recommended that the cat should be declawed at the same time they are altered, so that the animal has to suffer anethesia only once. However, veteranary medicine has advanced as much as human medicine and this is not as big a risk as it once was.
When considering declawing, you should have your vet give your kitty a thorough physical exam to insure you pet is healthy and will heal quickly afterwards.
A female will utter an unusual cry known as calling or chirping to attract a male cat for breeding. Also, her hormonal changes emmit an odor-detectable by male cats-that will attract male cats. Male cats have a call of their own to entice the female to breed. This will continue night after night until the female is impregnated.
Once a cat becomes pregnant, her gestation period is about 65 days. One of the most visible signs of pregnancy is the abdominal swelling that will happen as the kittens grow.
Some veterinarians suggest feeding the mama cat kitten food for the last three weeks of pregnancy and during the time she is nursing her newborns.
About three weeks after becoming pregnant, a cat will have more of an appetite than usual and you will be able to see enlarged nipples.
Your cat may throw up once in a while when she is pregnant and she will be more loving to you and show more affection. Be certain to assure her that you're there and that everything's fine.
Keep the litter box very clean during this time and don't overtire her with too much play, activity, or excitement.
Although it is preferable to have your male cat neutered at about their 6th or 7th month of life, it is not too late to have your adult male cat altered. Behaviors like fighting, urine spraying and roaming will be dramatically reduced, although some retraining for behavior problems such as urine spraying may prove necessary. Neutering must be done only by a veterinarian, and requires general anesthesia. Post-op care involves monitoring, keeping the incisions clean and dry, and keeping your male cat inside. The incisions heal within three to five days. Check with your vet for more details.
Yes, your kitty can contract one type of intestinal worm from eating fleas.
Cats swallow the flea when they chew on the skin that the flea is irritating, then the bristles on the cat's tongue force the flea into the stomach.
If you have a flea problem, be sure to get your kitty de-wormed after you have eliminated the fleas.
Cats contract heartworms from mosquitoes, so if you live in a typically heavy mosquito-populated area you should get your kitty tested for heartworms.
Spring is a good time for a Check up, so your vet can test your cat or kitten for heartworms, and then give you all the necessary feline heartworm treatments to combat parasites.
Ol' Kitty goes up to the bowl and tries to eat, but then moves away after only a bite or two. Or poor Ol' Kitty's breath could kill a dragon.
This could indicate a dental problem of various sorts. It is best to take Ol' Kitty to the vet and get a thorough check up. Veterinary Dentistry has advanced in recent years, and your kitty can survive just fine with few or no teeth.
A single infection normally ensures immunity. Serious infection by toxoplasmosis can be effectively prevented by the avoidance of raw meat and by ensuring that all rare-cooked meats are heated throughout to at least 600 C (1400 F).
Contact with infected or unfamiliar cats and cat feces should be avoided, and the cat litter box should be emptied every day, because the oocytes in cat feces do not become infective until two to four days after excretion.
Keep a digital thermometer handy specifically for your cat or kitten. If you do not feel comfortable in taking your cats temperature rectally, you can now purchase a children's thermometer which lets you take your cat's temperature through their ear. Giving your veterinarian this advice can help determine if your call is serious enough to warrant an emergency visit.
Male cats do not go into heat. They respond to the hormonal changes in a female cat's body.
Males have a mating call, too, which will continue until another male cat has fought and defeated him, or until he impregnates the female cat.
If males are not neutered, they will develop behaviors that are perfectly normal, but undesirable in pets.
Male cats will mark their territory with urine, also known as spraying if they are not altered at 6 months old. This includes the bushes, tress, the front door-inside and outside, furniture, and carpets. Deficating is also a means of marking his territory (leaving solid waste outside of the litter box.)
Males become more agressive and less affectionate if they are not altered at 6 months old.
Trust me, it is easier, safer, and much more pleasant to have your male cat neutered at 6 months old.
If your cat is hiding, pay special attention to why. Hiding can be an excellent sign that something is wrong with your cat, or that he may not feel good. Be sure to rule out stress from noisy visitors, or furniture deliveries and other stressors that will cause a cat to hide. Closets, under beds, and in dark areas are some favorite hiding areas.
Kitty seems to drink more than ever! Increased thirst is an indicator of diabetes, kidney or liver problems, and these are important to consider with the health care of an elderly cat.
Although your older cat needs fewer calories and more fluids as he ages, to rule out cat health problems, it would be best to take your cat to the vet for a thorough checkup when you notice he is drinking more than normal.
The easiest way to remove ticks from any animal is to use a pair of tweezers.
Grab the tick with the tweezers as close to the animal's skin as possible; this will insure that you remove the head as well as the body of the tick.
I have had better luck if I use a quick, jerking motion, rather than a continuous pulling motion, since this could separate the head from the body of the tick.
Veterinarian Cat Care - Many options for your cat or kitten and your home are available through your veterinarian. Your vet is a wonderful source of information when deciding the best method for you and your family in combatting those nasty pests. Always use pesticides and flea products strictly according to your veterinary's instructions.
Drs. Foster and Smith recommend that you first get your cat or kitten used to your hands around her face and mouth before you attempt to clean her teeth.
Once she is relaxed about this, dip your finger in tuna fish water and put your finger along the gumline in her mouth for short and eventually longer periods of time.
Your vet has determined that your cat has UI, or cystitis or anyother type of urinary problem, now what do you do?
Follow the vet's instructions for any type of medicine, and ask your vet to recommend a preventative diet formula designed to help kitty maintain urinary health. Not all foods are created equally, and if your vet has a preference, then use that food. It will help your vet to better treat your cat, if he knows what the kitty is eating.
Kidney failure is the result of disease or injury to the kidneys, the organs that remove waste products from the body. As these organs begin to fail, waste products produced by normal body functions begin to accumulate, poisoning the animal. The result of these toxins building up can result in blood pressure rising to dangerous levels, seizures and shortness of breath from fluid buildup in the nervous system and lungs, and abnormal heartbeat from electrolyte imbalance. If left untreated, it will eventually result in death.
Kidney failure is classified as either "chronic"; the disease comes on gradually over a period of weeks or months and is often a result of the aging process. Giving the animal non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics and related medicines may also contribute to the onset of kidney disease. Kidney failure is termed "acute" when it suddenly appears – often as a result of trauma, such as poisoning or other injury - and is usually more severe than chronic.
The symptoms of feline (cat) kidney failure can include appetite loss, lethargy, vomiting and other digestive problems, increased thirst and increased urine output. The cat should be checked immediately by a veterinarian if it shows any of these symptoms.
While there isn't much a pet owner can do about an animal’s aging and the inevitable loss of some kidney function, you can help to lessen the chances of a pet developing kidney disease. This can be avoided by not feeding the animal very high amounts of protein; keeping the animal away from poisonous substances, such as antifreeze and most houseplants, as well as yard and household chemicals; and making sure the animal has access to plenty of clean drinking water. If blood tests or x-rays show that the animal has kidney disease, a veterinarian can advise the best course of treatment; many pets have lived for years with proper care and medicine.
Cats do not necessarily have a period, like a human female, then have a time where they won't be fertile.
Cats are not like other animals that have a particular season when they breed. Once a cat reaches puberty, she will go into, and stay in heat until she is bred or surgically sterlized (altered, neutered, fixed, spayed).
In rare cases, feral cats may have an infertile time during extreme cold that could last for several months.
As in human medicine, veternary medicine is not an exact science; there are differing opinions amongst the specialists.
My current vet suggests that you declaw your cat as young as possible, because they heal faster and adapt better. He will declaw cats as young as 4 months old.
But he also states, that it is really best to declaw your pets at the same time you have them altered starting at 6 months old.
If your cat is strictly indoors and you must declaw to perserve your furniture, please make sure to do only the front paws. Cats need their back claws for certain types of grooming. Also, should your cat escape his/her safe haven, they still need their back claws to help climb and for self-defense as well.
Declawing of Cats - I can't lie: there is a lot of negative press detailing the horrors of declawing your cat. I know that some of that press stems from bad experiences with less than qualified persons performing the surgery. Some of the bad press is from animal rights activists. Regardless of your political views on this topic, you should make certain you have an experienced and reputable vet.
You don't accept second best with your own health or the health of your children; don't settle for second best with the quality of your vet. Ask your vet about her experience level; how many times has he performed this operation; what is her success rate; has he had any failures; what is his/her personal opinions about the operation. Ask neighbors, friends, and local breeders who they use for their vet.
The most important step in declawing your pet, is to make certain you have a good vet.