More Cat Care Information:

Cats and dogs can be surprisingly communicative with their owners, and pet lovers will often have a way of knowing when their animal companion wants to go for a walk or is thirsty or hungry. It may some as a surprise, however, that animals don't always let people know when they are feeling under the weather.

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.

In fact, for dogs especially, showing weakness or signs of illness can be a sign of weakness. Because they are descended from wolves, dogs often hesitate to show this weakness for fear that the pack will abandon or turn on them as a result of their infirmity. Although dogs have been bred and domesticated for generations, some believe that a portion of this dislike for showing weakness remains strong today. This may help to explain why dogs often don't indicate to their owners that something is wrong until there is a big health problem.

Because animals may not show obvious signs of illness and because they can't talk or tell their owners what is going on, it is very important that pet owners be watchful of potential problems. It is also important that pet owners know the signs that something might be wrong and that they learn when to ask a veterinarian about behaviors they are seeing.

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 to Ask a Veterinarian
Although every animal is different, it is important to ask a veterinarian what is going on with your pet when your dog or cat is acting out of sorts for a lingering period of time. For instance, if your animal is lethargic, not eating or not interested in activities that he or she normally enjoys, you should considering speaking to a veterinarian to find out if there is some reason for the behavior. The longer your animal goes acting tired or refusing to eat or do routine activities, the more important it becomes to ask a veterinarian what is going on.

If your cat or dog is limping or favoring one let or paw, it may also be important to ask a veterinarianwhat is going on. Discomfort and problems walking can have a host of causes- some simple like simply getting something stuck in the paw pad and others more complicated and serious like arthritis or hip dysplasia. When the problems begin to become apparent, it is likely that your animal is really experiencing discomfort since the dog or cat may try to hide the difficulty for a while. As such, you should usually take action right away.

Excessive licking is another sign that you should consider speaking with a vet about what is going on. When a dog is licking itself repeatedly, this can be a sign of an allergic reaction or of a skin condition such as mange. Cats who like too often, on the other hand, may give themselves hairballs that can cause digestive issues.

These are just a few examples of situations where it can become important to ask a veterinarian what is going on. If you see any behavior out of the ordinary, you should consider having your animal checked. It may also be advisable to ask a vet online first about behaviors that you are seeing since a licensed and qualified online vet can help you to determine if behavior you are seeing is worth worrying about or not.

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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