Cat Care Can Lengthen Your Life

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Research suggests that spending time providing cat care may actually increase both your life span, and your quality of life. Studies have shown that the relaxation and happiness that come from spending time with a domestic animal like a cat or a dog have numerous health benefits. Cat care that involves directly interacting with your pet may help you make your life longer, healthier and happier.

General Cat Care #1: Before You Bring Your Cat Home
You will need food, food dish, water bowl, interactive toys, brush, comb, safety cat collar, scratching post, litter and litter box.
General Cat Care #2: Feeding
An adult cat should be fed one large or two smaller meals each day. Kittens from 6 to 12 weeks need to be fed four times a day. Kittens from three to six months need to be fed three times a day. You can either feed specific meals, throwing away any leftover canned food after 30 minutes or free-feed dry food (keeping food out all the time).

Feed your cat a high-quality, brand-name kitten or cat food (avoid generic brands) two to three times a day. Kittens can be fed human baby food for a short time if they won’t eat kitten food softened by soaking in warm water. Use turkey or chicken baby food made for children six months and older. Gradually mix with cat food. Cow’s milk is not necessary and can cause diarrhea in kittens and cats. Provide fresh, clean water at all times. Wash and refill water bowls daily.

The research done on the correlation between spending time with a pet and having better than average health is conclusive. A study conducted at Brooklyn College in New York followed a number of heart disease sufferers after they were discharged from the hospital. The single social factor that was shown to be the strongest predictor of survival was pet ownership. Other studies have proved that citizens who put time into dog care or cat care visited their general practitioners less frequently than non pet-owners, and were less likely to require prescription drugs.

Because of the mental stimulation and positive emotions associated with spending time with a pet, treatment centers and retirement homes across the nation are encouraging people to bring pets to visit residents who are in recovery. This suggests that even short term exposure to a cat or dog can have positive health benefits. If this is the case, just imagine what spending time with a cat every day can do for your body and your mind!

As an aside pets are also used in prisons where contact between pet and inmate has improved the behaviour patterns and tendencies of the inmate involved. This is more proof that pets have such an influence on the well being of their handler or owner. Who can forget the ‘Birdman of Alcatraz’ and his care of birds.

General Cat Care #3: Grooming
Most cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath, but they do need to be brushed or combed. Frequent brushing helps keep your cat’s coat clean, reduces the amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs
General Cat Care #4: Handling
To pick up your cat, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck (behind the ears) or by the front legs without supporting the rear end.
General Cat Care #5: Housing
Cats should have a clean, dry place of their own in the house. Line your cat’s bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Please keep your cat indoors. If your companion animal is allowed outside, he can contract diseases, get ticks or parasites, become lost or get hit by a car, hurt in a fight or poisoned. Also, cats prey on wildlife.

Some experts theorize that the reason why engaging in hands on care of a cat can both increase your life span and improve your health has to do with the simple fact that cat care offers you stability.

Cat care is a daily activity that requires you to spend at least a little bit of time each day sharing love and affection with another living being. This gives your day a little bit of structure that can help you stay calm and focused no matter what life throws at you. Pet care is a regular, steady routine that can help you stay motivated and focused on making progress in all arenas of your life.

Daily care of your pet can help you feel positive and confident, two traits which research suggest can greatly improve your chances of beating a disease or making a speedy recovery from a medical procedure. Offering your pet loving care is a boon to your health because it makes you feel like a great person every single day. The love your cat shows you when you provide top shelf care can help you shake off negative feelings and emotions like sadness or anger. Cat care can help you manage stress and keep an upbeat attitude.

What all of this research adds up to is that pet care is good for your health. Making cat care a part of your routine can help you take a positive, enjoyable step towards a healthier lifestyle in the present and the future. The better care that you can provide for your pet, the more affection and happiness your pet can offer you in return. Think of great cat care as a way to say thank you to your cat for the health benefits that it offers you.

General Cat Care #6: Identification
If allowed outdoors (again, we caution against it!), your cat needs to wear a safety collar and an ID tag. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. An ID tag or an implanted microchip can help insure that your cat is returned if he or she becomes lost.
General Cat Care #7: Litter Box
All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. A bathroom or utility room is a good place for your cat’s box. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary. Then do so slowly, a few inches a day. Cats won’t use a messy, SMELLY litter box. Scoop solids out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent (don’t use ammonia) and refill at least once a week, less frequently if using clumping litter. Don’t use deodorants or scents in the litter or litter box (especially avoid lemon scent).
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