Care for Your Cat
From Tips and Steps
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If you love that kitty of yours, it's obvious that you'll want to take care of it properly. But if you're not sure where to start, and are feeling just a little overwhelmed by all the different duties, then don't stress--just read on!
- Make sure that you take your cat to the vet regularly for any vaccinations needed, and just a general checkup to see how your kitty is doing. If you notice anything different with your cat, such as the way they're meowing, walking, or acting, and are worried, take your cat to the vet. Sickness nipped in the bud is the best kind.
- Groom your cat regularly. Grooming is very important. It prevents hairballs, stimulates your cats' blood flow, and provides some good bonding time for you and your cat. If your cat has long fur, a pin brush is best for working through long coat. A flat and slicker brush would work better for short fur. A smaller, triangular shaped brush can be used for smaller areas, like around the face and ears. If you want to use a comb, use a wide toothed comb for long fur, and a fine toothed one for short fur. You may want to buy a smaller and more gentle brush for a kitten.
- Make sure to feed your cat the right type of food, at the right times, and the right amount. Feed your cat at the same time you eat-so he/she won't be begging you for crumbs. Don't feed huge amounts-just a small bowl will do. If your cat isn't eating well, it may be a disease. Check with your local vet. If your cat is overweight, never, ever drastically drop the food amount-it is not at all good for cats to lose too much weight very quickly. Instead, try going to your vet and buying a special type of food which is high in protein, low in fat, and low in carbohydrate. Try not to feed your cat your food; it'll become a habit. Give your cat water daily. Don't feed your cat milk; cats can't digest it.
- Find some time to bond with your cat. Simply feeding, grooming and taking a cat to the vet won't fulfill their needs. Even ten minutes chasing a rubber ball around the house together is good. You can snuggle up to your kitty with a good book, dangle a toy in front of their nose, or give them a cuddle. Make sure you pet them every now and then-a little love goes a long way.
- Provide your cat with a scratching post or a climbing tree, cats will naturally want to scratch, it's a behavior from when they were wild that allowed them to mark their territory. Providing acceptable places they are allowed to scratch will save your belongings from cat claw damage. Cats love tall places, so a big, sturdy cat tree will not only provide a place to scratch, but will allow her to climb and enjoy a bird's eye view of her surroundings.
- Keep at least one litterbox per cat. Keep boxes clean at all times. Some cat prefer uncovered boxes. Experiment with different types of cat litter, most cats prefer a natural wood-based litter. Many cats dislike the hard texture and perfume and dust of clay-based litters.
- Help your cat get exercise. Some cats, if left to their own devices, will just sit around the house not doing much of anything. Be your cat's personal trainer! Toys are a great incentive to get your cat moving. Try tossing small toys for them to hit and chase. Fishing pole style toys or pocket flashlights let you give your cat a workout even when you're worn out.
- Let your cat be a cat. Like it or not, you cat is going to do certain cat things that may bug you. Your best option is to give your cat a positive outlet for these behaviors. If you cat scratches your furniture, make sure he or she has a great scratching post to use instead. Your cat loves getting on the china shelf to look out the window? Move the china and put in some windowside cat furniture. The cat uses the spot behind the chair as a bathroom? Put a litterbox there and keep it clean. (You may also want to visit the vet to rule out an underlying medical problem.)
- Think very carefully before deciding to let your cat go outdoors. Contrary to popular belief, cats are not always naturally able to find their way home and even a cat that usually knows its way around can become disoriented if badly frightened. Other risks connected with letting your cat roam outdoors are parasites, serious or fatal illnesses or injuries from other cats or other animals, fights with other animals that can result in serious injury or death, or theft of your cat. Your neighbors may not appreciate having your cat use their yard as a litterbox or chasing and killing the birds at their bird baths and feeder. If you feel you must give your cat access to the outdoors, consider giving it run of a fenced in yard or walking it on a harness and leash. (It is possible.)
- Consult a vet or experienced person before introducing a new animal to the house.
- Declawing a cat can be a quick, easy way to avoid injury or damaged furniture. However, there are some possible health consequences for your cat. Contact a veterinarian before declawing your pet to discuss the pros and cons of the procedure.
- Look for a vet that has been certified by the American Association of Feline Practitioners, and that is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association if in the USA.
- Have your cats microchipped. If they ever get out, or in case of an emergency, it will give you much better odds of being reunited, and could save your cat's lives!
- Cats love toys, so provide your cat with lots of stretching, hiding, perching and playing areas! Your cat will love it, and both you and the cat will have fun!
- It is worth noting that once you have found a good cat litter for your furry friend, you should not change it again. It is extremely aggravating for the cat.
- Don't tease your cat when it is a kitten because if may be mean or may bite you also because you were teasing your cat so it is used to it. So don't tease your cat.
- Make sure you have a safe environment for your cat. Keep plastic bags, dangerous toys, etc. away from their reach. You wouldn't want your cat to choke.
- Never leave string, yarn, or ribbons where a cat can get to them unsupervised. Cats can swallow string and it can kill them by tying their intestines up, and requires surgery to save their life!
- Never leave coins out where cats can get to them. Coins lead to toxic poisoning if swallowed, and also will require surgery to be removed to save the cat's life.
- Never declaw an outdoor cat, the claws are an important defense in the wild, and a method for catching food. There are other options such as trimming the cat's nails carefully.
- Never feed your cats anything that contains onion or garlic, as it leads to Heinz body anemia in cats. (Anemia is a lack of red blood cells in the blood, and it's very serious.
- Never take your vet's opinion as the absolute truth, always seek second opinions for life threatening diagnosises and research health conditions online before making serious decisions about health care.
- Learn about VAS, vaccine associated sarcoma, a life threatening cancer caused by giving vaccines. Choose non-adjuvanted vaccines, they are less likely to induce VAS.
- Never let your cat chew on anything small like barbie or polly pocket pieces. It could lead to choking or get stuck in the stomach which would require surgery to get the pieces removed.
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