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Anyone who lives with cats knows they are an important part of the family, and like other family members you likely want to take good care of them to ensure they live a long, healthy life. An important part of that is finding a healthy cat food. Unfortunately this can be a little more difficult than finding healthy food for yourself, unless you know what to look for in a cat food, as cats have different nutritional needs than we do.

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.

What To Avoid

Cats require protein as their main ingredient in food, but unfortunately many pet food companies cut corners and use cheap sources of protein as the main ingredient. Avoid cat foods using meat byproduct meals or meat and bone meal as the main source of protein. These byproducts meals can vary a great deal from one batch to another so they are not a reliable nutrition source for your companion. They are inexpensive rendered products that are cheap for pet food companies to use.

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.

In general it is best to stay away from any foods that use various meat byproducts as the main source of protein. While using them occasionally may be okay, it is best to choose a higher quality source for their regular food. These byproducts are made from a variety of leftover parts and organs, in some cases even diseased or dying livestock, that are not acceptable for human consumption.

What To Look For

Instead look for meat sources that are named, for example chicken meal. A quality named meat source should be the first ingredient in a healthy cat food. Often times choosing brands that are promoted as “natural”, or better yet organic, is a good idea. While the term natural can be somewhat misused at times, more times than not these pet foods will use better ingredients. This is especially true if you choose a trusted brand that has a history of making higher quality natural foods.

Many quality cat foods will also add ingredients like flax seeds, probiotics and enzymes. They will also use vitamins C and E as preservatives instead of things like BHA and BHT.

Since proper nutrition is a basis for a healthy life choosing a healthy cat food is important. It can help keep your cat's immune system strong and give her the nutritional profile she needs to help her live a healthier life. As with any member of the family you want to take good care of her so you can have enjoy a long, healthy life together.

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 — 5:54 pm

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