One of my childhood friends also grew up not knowing a thing about cats and had 2 dogs. We lost touch and many years later, as adults, we reunited and learned that we both had cats!
I remember my friend saying that she was such a cat lover that she had “everything cat”. Cat coasters, cat placemats, cat salt shakers.
My love for cats takes on a different flavor. Yes, I do love cats – I adore them. However, I also love caring for them! I love feeding them and showering them with the best of everything. I stay on top of new products for our feline babies and learn about their health challenges as much as possible. After all, I live cat care every day.
It is my pleasure to share with you some basic cat care tips to perhaps help improve the quality of life (and perhaps health) of your cats. I will certainly elaborate on several of these points in future posts.
1 – Cats generally don’t enjoy eating and drinking near their litter box. They are such fastidious creatures! If you can afford the space, keep food and water in a separate location from the boxes.
2 – Keep all cat food and water bowls clean! This may seem very obvious, but you would be surprised. Have you ever noticed an orange residue in the bottom or along the sides of your cats’ water bowl? Uhm, well, that residue is dirt. Change your cat’s water at least once per day to keep it fresh and clean. I know when pressed for time, it’s tempting every once in a while to put fresh food on top of old, crusted-over food. Please don’t! Bacteria lays in old, uneaten food.
3 – Keep your litter boxes clean. One way to ensure this is to use quality litter, whether it’s clay or clumping (traditional sand or a more natural material like corn or wheat). Ever notice that you could really use a shovel and pick to scoop the box of waste? It doesn’t have to be that way! Using quality litter helps to keep the box clean – if using clumping, you want the waste to clump, instead of it breaking up into small pieces that remain in the box. This will often happen when using a lower quality litter.
I recommend keeping a generous level of litter, especially when using a clumping variety. This will help to remove clumps from the bottom and sides of the box without having to really dig and scrape. There is such good litter out there of every variety – you don’t have to spend your valuable time doing a litter box excavation.
Another way to keep your boxes clean is to totally dump the litter out at least once per month for clumping and about once per week for clay, scrub it clean, dry it and start all over. I guarantee you this will help to keep your boxes clean and so much easier to scoop! I find that when one just keeps adding clean litter to old, the accumulation of dirty litter just sinks to the bottom, adding to your need to pick and dig, because the old, dirty remains just stick to the sides and bottom. And your cat will definitely appreciate the care you put into the maintenance of his box!
4 – Have toys available for your cats. I have met so many people who insist that his/her cat does not play with toys (any toys!) until I pick up an interactive or catnip toy for her enjoyment. I get so much pleasure out of seeing a cat become totally entrenched in play with a new toy – it really doesn’t take much!
5 – Keep your cats’ nails trimmed. It’s safer for you, your children, your dogs, and your other cats, of course. I also recommend keeping them trimmed for fear of having a claw get stuck on something ie carpet or a fabric sofa, only for the claw to be ripped out (sorry!) when the cat tries to free himself. One of my cats’ nails did get caught on a rug and he had to have it removed. It wasn’t even that long, but stuff happens. I have also seen ingrown claws as a result of them growing too long. Not only is this uncomfortable for your cat, but it can be cause for infection. If you find you can’t trim your cat’s claws yourself, call upon a professional who can come to your home to do this, or take your baby to a vet’s office for a nail trim.
6 – Please pay attention to recommended food portions. If you are not sure, contact your vet for guidance. Many cat people overfeed their cats, which of course may lead to obesity, which in turn could lead to certain diseases, or in the case of kitten care, do not feed these growing babies enough.
7 – Cats are curious and playful. Keep string, rubber bands, and hairbands out of their reach! An ingested piece of string can get caught in the intestines, for example, which of course is very dangerous! Also keep wand and string toys hidden away for the same reason – don’t take any chances. I have spoken to numerous people who have paid thousands of dollars for surgery due to ingested items that get caught.
8 – And one of my biggest cat peeves – take them to the vet for regular check ups. Please! Younger, healthy cats can visit once per year for a wellness check. Cats with health challenges or history and senior cats (7+ years) should go to the vet every 6-12 months. I can go on and on about this most important aspect of cat care. You say your cat is healthy although he hasn’t been to a vet in over three years? As lay people, we really don’t know if our cats are healthy by just looking at them. Vet visits include a thorough exam where every part of the body is looked at and/or palpated. Vets check eyes, ears, mouths for irregularities, including the need for a dentistry. Left untreated, bad teeth and/or gums can lead to infection caused by traveling bacteria. Vets ask you questions about your cats’ eating and drinking habits, and behavioral changes that may be impacted by a health issue. For older and senior cats, vets take blood and sometimes urine, to determine very important information, such as liver and kidney values. Most importantly, a regular visit to the vet = a proactive visit. Many diseases and health conditions are caught early enough to be treated, as a result of an exam.
9 – Never let your cat drive your car. Okay, as you get to know me better, you will realize that injecting humor every once in a while is important to me.
10 – And finally, kiss your cats daily, at the very least. He/she will feel loved and I guarantee you will automatically feel better about your day.
Thanks for reading! Please post comments and questions to foster discussion. Please feel free to ask for specific recommendations regarding any of the items I talk about today.