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March is National Nutrition Month in the United States, a time for us all to take a closer look at the foods we eat on a daily basis and how we can improve our overall diet. As a cat owner, it's also your responsibility to make sure that your feline is receiving optimal nutrition, and this month is the perfect time to start. If your feline has become a bit tubby over the winter or doesn't seem to have the same spunk that he used to, you may need to examine what he's eating on a regular basis. Keep the following tips in mind to improve your furry friend's quality of life and increase his longevity.

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.

1. Food labels. The next time you're at the pet store and examining the ingredients in your feline's food, keep in mind that cats are carnivores and shouldn't be eating the corn, grain and carb-filled foods that are very common. Look into products that are made with mostly natural ingredients and are free of preservatives and fillers. Going for an even split between a nutritious dry food and a tasty wet food can help your cat receive well-rounded nutrition.

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.

2. Treats. The occasional treat is alright for your furry friend, but you should really search for a product that will add to his overall nutrition instead of just giving him junk food. If you can't find healthy cat treats at your local pet store, consider looking up all-natural pet stores and holistic vets. These locales will give you great advice to find natural cat treats that can improve animal wellness and prevent any weight gain.

3. Multiple cats. If one of your felines is in need of weight loss more than others, it can be difficult to feed one feline a specific diet while keeping the other one at bay. According to, while you could decide to place the food in a separate area of the house or on a counter top where the other feline can't get it, it may be better just to separate the cats during mealtime. This will prevent your tubby kitty from dipping into extra food and it can help you be diligent about his diet.

Pet nutrition is one of the most important aspects of cat wellness, so use National Nutrition Month as your motivation to improve your feline's overall well-being.

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 — 5:45 pm

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