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More Cat Care Information:

Cats are lithe and athletic animals that enjoy exercise. Many cat lovers believe that it is cruel to keep a cat restricted to the house all its life. However, other owners may consider that the risks of allowing their cats outside are unacceptably high, or they may live in high-rise apartments with no access to the outdoors.

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.

If all circumstances are equal, it is up to you to decide whether to keep your cat indoors or out. There are advantages and disadvantages to both lifestyles, but don't impose any sudden changes on your cat once it has adapted to one or the other. If you want an indoor cat, make this decision when you first bring your kitten home or find an adult whose habits fit in with your own.

Outdoor Cats

These cats can roam freely, run, climb, and chase birds and mice. Consequently they are less likely than indoor cats to become bored, frustrated, or obese. On the other hand, they are more at risk of street accidents (especially kittens and elderly or deaf cats), fight injuries, and diseases transmitted by other cats. Pedigree cats may become the targets of thieves. It is highly distressing when a cat is missing and the owner does not know whether it has been stolen, taken in by another household, or even killed. Suburban and rural cats are at lesser risk, but can still incur injury, hypothermia, or heatstroke. It is advisable to have a “pet door” that allows the cat to come and go as it pleases and seek shelter from storms, or during spells of cold or hot weather.

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.

Indoor Cats

An indoor existence keeps a cat safe from all such hazards but raises potential problems of a different kind. All too easily, the cat lacks stimulation and activity, leading to behavior problems such as aggression or furniture clawing. Unneutered toms may spray urine in the house, and unspayed females may urinate more frequently when in estrus, in addition to becoming restless and howling all day.

You can make an indoor cat's environment more interesting by building an activity center or indoor gymnasium out of strong cartons with holes cut in the sides, large cardboard tubes to run through, and a climbing tree or ropes to clamber up. A scratching post is a must if you want to spare your furniture. If you live in a high-rise apartment, put screens in the window frames to stop the cat from crawling out through an open window.

Indoor cats tend to spend more time interacting with you through play and physical contact than cats that spend much of their time outdoors. However, keeping a cat indoors will not necessarily guarantee a high-quality relationship.

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).
Updated: February 24, 2017 — 5:46 pm

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