More Cat Care Information:
Puberty begins at about six months for your cat, and adulthood at 1-3 years (large or longhaired breeds may take longer). Although your cat is no longer a kitten, the daily routine of feeding, grooming, and playing remains the same. Any changes you notice should be brought to your vet's attention.
|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.
One important difference between an adult cat and a kitten is that adults have the potential to breed – and they will breed if left to their own devices. Unless you have a pedigreed cat which you wish to mate, it is always advisable to ensure that your cat is neutered before it reaches sexual maturity. Cats that are not neutered, especially males, also tend to roam and fight more, and males will spray their territory, both indoors and outdoors, with pungent urine.
Cat Proofing Your House
You should try to ensure that your house is “cat proof” against accidents. Cats are rarely clumsy but they explore wherever they can. Any fragile items should be put well out of a cat's reach, ideally in a cabinet rather than on an open shelf. Cats may crawl up chimneys, jump on a stove, bite through the extension cords on appliances, or knock over hot irons left on ironing boards.
|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.|
They may chew on a poisonous plant, crawl into a washing machine or dryer, or sit under a car – or, even worse, crawl beneath the hood from below and perch right next to the engine. Kittens and young cats are the most likely to get into trouble. Stop them going near any potential hazard with a sharp “no!” and avoid tempting fate by closing doors, turning off appliances, and putting things away. Put screens on windows.
Cats, as well as kittens, require opportunities for games to prevent them from becoming bored and even destructive. If you are away from home for most of the day, it may be worth considering getting your cat a feline companion. A cat “multi-gym” or activity center provides exercise as well as entertainment and is particularly beneficial for an indoor cat.
If you do not wish to keep your cat indoors all the time, a pet door is very useful to allow it to come and go from the house as it pleases. If there is room, two doors are ideal: one leading into an enclosed porch or utility area and another with a lock leading into the house itself. A locked flap should stop unwanted “gifts” such as mice and birds being brought into the house while you are out. It will also prevent unwanted visits from the more adventurous neighborhood cats.
|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).|