More Cat Care Information:

While you have your own feline at home to worry about, you may be starting to notice that the feral cats in your neighborhood could struggle with the onset of winter. It's only natural to want to help these felines and bring them to a shelter to find a good home, but they are feral and the outdoors is essentially their home year-round. Worse yet, if you did happen to bring a feral cat into a shelter, they would probably euthanize it since it wouldn't be able to be socialized with humans.

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.

This also applies to bringing a feral cat into your home – he won't be able to adjust and actually belongs in the outdoors. According to CatChannel.com, there are a few cat wellness steps that you can take to give a helping hand to the less fortunate furry friends in your community and give you peace of mind that you're doing something to help. Feeding the cats is probably one of the easiest ways you can help, but you need to be sure that bringing food to the felines won't cause them to be a problem with people that may live in the neighborhood.

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.

Bring the food to a spot that is away from traffic and other people, and try to bring it every day at a scheduled time. While some cats will learn to catch food for themselves, you can ensure that they have a steady supply of food throughout the winter. If there's a large family of cats, they probably need a shelter to be able to get through the winter. You can build one yourself or ask around at animal shelters for a kit that will work for your purposes. This will provide a dry and warmer place for the cats to get through the season – just be sure to ask the person who owns the property if it is allowed to provide this kind of shelter for the cats.

Feral cats are a fact of life in rural and urban areas, and it can break your heart to know that you can't provide a good home for them. However, there are some simple animal wellness improvements you can look into that will improve their lives throughout the coldest months of the year.

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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