Holistic Cat Care

More Cat Care Information:

Cats, like the people who love them, are very individual in their tastes and attitudes toward food. Some cats happily eat whatever is set before them … others are notoriously picky eaters. Some cats eat more than they should and get fat as a result, while others (often in the same household, with exactly the same access to exactly the same food) stay slim or even skinny. No wonder cat owners get confused.

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.

How much food do cats need?
Experts vary in their opinions on exactly how much a cat needs to eat each day, but there seems to be a general consensus that a normal, healthy adult cat probably requires about one ounce of food per pound of body weight per day, totaling somewhere in the area of 250-300 calories (depending on the size, age, and activity level of the cat).

All major brand cat foods offer feeding instructions on the can or bag, and it's important to follow those instructions because they're written for the specific nutrients that food contains.

However a rough rule of thumb would be to feed a reasonably active adult cat the equivalent of two small or one large can of cat food per day, divided into two or three separate feedings. If dry cat food is part of the cat's diet, the dry food should be included in the total – for instance, you could meet an eight-ounce requirement with four ounces of canned food and four of dry food.

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.

It's also important to consider the cat's stage of life. Kittens actually require more food than adult cats, and pregnant cats need additional food as well.

Is water important?
Yes, absolutely. Your cat should have access to clean water at all times. If the cat's diet includes dry food this is even more important. If your cats don't seem to want water from a designated water bowl, try leaving some filled glasses of water in cat-accessible spaces (like on the sink in the bathroom). Just remember not to reach for it yourself on a sleepy morning.

How about milk?
Some cats really like milk, but it's not a requirement for health in the diet of an adult cat and many don't digest it well. If your cat develops diahrea after drinking milk, try substituting a small amount of cream. The butterfat in the cream is actually good for cats (in small amounts) and most cats love it.

How often should I feed my cat?
Most experts say feeding twice a day is a good regimen, and for people who are away from home all day it makes a lot of sense – feed before you go off to work, and feed again when you come home. It can be helpful to keep a dish of dry catfood available to the cat at all time. Like us, cats tend to enjoy snacks.

Keep bowls clean and food at room temperature
Cats can be pretty finicky about cleanliness, and if their food dish smells like yesterday's meal they may refuse to eat. Ceramic bowls are good for cat food because they don't absorb odors, as plastic dishes tend to do. Room temperature is best. Food that is very warm or very cold may lead to digestion problems in some 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).
Updated: February 24, 2017 — 5:40 pm

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