Pet Cat Care and Health

More Cat Care Information:

It is often said that there are two kinds of people in the world-those who love cats and those who do not. Cat lovers are often portrayed as introspective, introverted people seeking a companion that is equally introverted and self-interested. While this stereotype may hold true for some cats and cat owners, the only real “rule” for who and who should not own a cat involves who and who is not willing to devote themselves fully to offering the best in pet cat care and health.

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.

Because kittens are so cute and in plentiful supply, many people are tempted to impulsively attain a cat, operating under the impression that cats are “independent” and can “take care of themselves.” For your future cat’s sake, pay attention to this pet cat care advice before falling in love with the perfect feline.

Learning how to care for a cat isn’t rocket science, but it’s also not as simple as some people think. The first thing you want to be absolutely certain of before you decide to get a cat is that you are giving it a forever home with you. Not a “you clawed the sofa so you’re out of here” home or an “I’m moving and don’t want to bother finding a cat-friendly rental so I’ll take you to the pound” home, but a permanent home with a person who can devote as many as 20 years of their life to cat pet care.

If you’re ready to accept this commitment, then consider opening your home to one of the thousands of cats whose past owners failed to make this commitment–adopt your kitty from the local animal shelter. Many cats and kittens are euthanized every day simply because there aren’t enough loving homes for them all. Save a life and get your new best friend all in one go!

So now that you’ve decided a pet cat is indeed something you’re ready for, it’s time to create your pet cat care and health checklist. To ensure that your cat stays as healthy as possible, you’ll need to find a regular vet where you’ll take your cat for his or her yearly check-ups, vaccinations, and any other medical issues that may arise. Hands down, the easiest way to keep your cat healthy is to keep your cat indoors.

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.

While most cats enjoy being outside, they’re just as happy, and far safer, curling in a sunny window or on a screened-in porch. Cats who spend a lot of time outdoors will inevitably end up in fights with other cats which usually result in costly abscesses. They also run the risk of being hit by a car, contracting Feline leukemia or FIV, being attacked by a dog, or being shot, poisoned, or trapped by a cat-hating neighbor.

Regardless of whether or not you decide to allow your cat outdoors, you’ll need to be certain that you’re prepared for the cost of having your cat spayed or neutered. A bonus of adopting from an animal shelter is that many shelters “fix” their pets before placing them in new homes. Regardless of where your new cat comes from, you must make the commitment to have your cat altered, whether to prevent diseases of the reproductive system in females, to prevent territorial “spraying” in males, or to prevent litters of kittens from further increasing an already tragically large cat population.

Another easy way to ensure your cat’s continued health is to feed him or her a quality diet of premium dry cat food. The difference between a few dollars per bag could mean the difference between less veterinary bills down the road. Search for a cat food that offers chicken or fish (not meat by-products or corn) as its primary ingredient.

Keep a small amount of dry food is in your cat’s dish at all times, as cats will usually nibble throughout the day, and always keep your cat’s water dish clean and full. If you want to offer your cat a little more variety in his diet, try roasted chicken, cooked fish, and cooked vegetables such as green beans. Do not, however, offer your cat milk or other dairy products as many cats are slightly lactose intolerant.

Obviously, much of what you learn about pet cat care and health will come to you in the many happy years you spend with your cat, but hopefully, this has been a start. Commit to providing your feline companion with the best you can offer and he or she will reward you richly-with unconditional affection and unrivaled devotion.

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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