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Many pet owners have an especially curious dog or cat that will try to eat anything that's left out in the open. This can be a scary prospect for pet parents, as this can lead to thousands of dollars in veterinary costs and potential discomfort for your furry friend. According to CatChannel.com, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. policyholders spent almost $5.2 million at the vet's office from January to November of this year treating their pets after they've ingested everything from cell phone cases to dental floss to a wedding ring!

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.

The insurance company estimates that owners spent on average nearly $1,472 for surgery to remove these items from a pet's stomach, and even more if it made its way to the intestine. Luckily, you can prevent your pet from eating some of these household objects with a combination of animal wellness techniques and behavioral training.

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.

First and foremost, eating foreign objects can be traced to sheer boredom as well as a lack of proper nutrition. If you own a pet, be sure to play with him at least a half hour a day to help him break out of the doldrums of being inside all day. Additionally, consider looking into a pet food that offers well-rounded nutrition. If your pet isn't receiving the right amount of nutrients in his diet, he will be more inclined to sample some of the random objects around your home. Look for products that use natural ingredients – they may cost a bit more, but they will ensure that your four-legged friend's needs are met.

Another tip is to invest in a few more pet toys for your companion and make a concerted effort to hide some of the small objects that may be lying around. For instance, give your cat a new scratching post or give your dog a new uncooked bone to munch on. This will help to give them something to do during the day when you're off at work, and they'll be less inclined to eat objects that are lying around.

Finally, it's important to train yourself to keep a close eye on your pet. Be mindful of the signs that your pet is interested in a certain object and make sure to hide it as soon as possible. With a little behavior modification, you and your pet can avoid an embarrassing trip to the vet's office!

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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