More Cat Care Information:

There can be few more upsetting events for an independent, territorial-minded cat than being seized, confined, and forcibly taken to an unfamiliar place – whether on a visit to the vet or to a new house in a new neighborhood. Whenever you are taking your cat anywhere, it is important to minimize the stress as much as possible.

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.

Your cat's safety must be your first consideration when planning how to move it from one location to another. A frightened animal will often behave unpredictably and can run away or lash out. For this reason, cats should always be transported in a carrier. Unless designed for carrying a small animal, cardboard boxes are not escape-proof, and may become wet and unsafe if exposed to rain or if the cat urinates. Wicker and mesh baskets look attractive but may require draft-proofing in cold weather; wrap newspaper or polythene around the outside to insulate the basket.

The most practical option is a fiberglass or plastic carrier. It will last for years, is secure and strong, and can be easily cleaned and disinfected.

Another option, ideal for carrying a cat on public transport, is a large vinyl zipper bag with ventilation holes and a “window” at one end. Some cats seem to feel more secure in the dark, so a blanket placed over an open mesh basket may make your cat less afraid. Others appear to enjoy being able to see their surroundings.

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.

When traveling with your cat in the car, do not be tempted to let it out of its carrier. A cat on the loose in a car presents a major distraction to the driver. The carrier must be properly secured, either by a seat belt or by placing it on the floot so it will not slide around. On long journeys, the noise and motion of the car usually have a calming effect, and most cats settle down to sleep. However, if your cat is a difficult traveler, your vet may prescribe sedatives to help calm it.

For air travel, cats must have a special carrier that is approved by the airline. Call the airline well in advance to find out what is required, and make the necessary arrangements. If the flight is long, it may be worth having your cat sedated.

Moving to a New House

Cats typically adapt quickly to new situations and most will normally accept a temporary or permanent move to a new house. Keep your cat indoors for the first few days to give it time to settle. A cat placed in strange surroundings may run off to look for familiar landmarks and be unable to make its way home. Wait until it is hungry, therefore, before letting it outside. If it seems inclined to wander, you can then call it back to the house with an offer of food. Make sure that the cat's identification disk has the new address and telephone number on it, even if you have taken a vacation let only. Your cat is likely to take a while to establish a position in the hierarchy of neighborhood cats, so if your stay is going to be a short one, you may prefer to keep the cat inside to avoid squabbles.

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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