Only other cat owners know how strange and wonderful it can be to have a pet like a cat. Cats can present unique challenges and unique rewards. As their owner, you have special responsibilities to your cat, even though they seem as if they can get along without you. Here are some ideas for taking care of them.
Cats can get into even the tiniest of spaces. If they’ve got a collar on, this may put them in danger as it can get stuck. The advantage to a breakaway type collar is that if enough pressure is put on it, it will just let go rather than strangle the cat. This could save your cat’s life if the collar gets caught in some branches.
Keep your cat indoors. Unlike dogs, it is nearly impossible to confine a cat to a yard. This can lead to many dangers for your cat, from cars, dogs, diseases from feral cats, and simply disappearing to parts unknown. Loose cats also be a nuisance to others, often killing songbirds and leaving unwelcome “deposits” in neighbor’s gardens. If your cat really enjoys the outdoors, they can be trained to wear a harness and leash or you can invest in a specialty cat fence or screened-in porch.
If your cat is pregnant, set up a comfortable, safe place for her to have her kittens. A big cardboard box equipped with a pillow and blanket is good. Place it in the back of a closet or other out of the way place. Keep food and water dishes nearby.
Have your cat spayed or neutered. Pet overpopulation is a growing problem, with millions of homeless cats and kittens euthanized every year. Besides the problem of too many kittens and not enough homes, unfixed cats can have a multitude of behavior problems. Males who are not neutered at a young age often start spraying to mark their territory, and females who are allowed to come into heat yowl incessantly as they try to escape to find a mate. Kittens can begin to breed as early as 4 months of age, so get your new kitten spayed or neutered as soon as possible.
Do not feed your cat any kind of human food that contains bones in it. If you are giving your cat chicken or fish, be sure to remove the bones beforehand to prevent a choking hazard. Chop the food that you serve into small bits to make it easier to digest for your cat.
Use short words when you want to express displeasure with your cat. A short ‘no’ will be remembered, even if not always followed. A lot of people think that cats don’t listen to anything, but short word commands are certainly understood by cats, and they will respond to those commands if you are consistent with them.
Consider getting your cat a scratching post. Scratching is something that comes extremely easy to cats; it is part of their nature. Don’t force your cat to play with it. Rather, interest him in it by spraying catnip spray on it, or by dangling a string from the top. Soon he’ll get the idea that it’s there for a reason!
Handle your kitten often. The longer your cat is handled as a kitten, the more readily they will accept being handled when they are grown, especially around their paws. This is important as all cats will have to visit the vet occasionally, and this process is much easier and less stressful if the cat is accustomed to being handled. It will also make grooming and nail trimming much easier.
Get your cat a breakaway collar. Make sure it has tags that reflect a phone number, even if you are uncomfortable with an address. Cats can run outdoors or slip away, and you don’t want to worry that you’ll never see your cat again. Make sure that there is adequate information so you can be reached.
While children should help with the care and responsibilities of a cat, leave the litterbox duties to the grownups or older children. A cat’s litterbox can carry diseases and parasites. Since younger children may not follow proper handwashing procedures, this job is better left to those older and more responsible.
Seek the advice of others if you have a cat that’s giving you problems. Although you might want to take care of things on your own, advice from other people with cats can be a big help. There are a number of message boards for cat owners on the Internet, or you can go to your vet with problems.
Do not try to hold a cat when they are clearly trying to get away. This will not make the cat feel any closer to you and it may prompt them to start avoiding you in the future. Pick the cat up gently and lay him across your lap. If you feel him wiggling to get away, let him go.
If you are adding a kitten to a household that already contains a dog, it is important to socialize the kitten to the dog at an early age. At first, constant supervision is essential. Let the kitten and dog spend time together while you hold the kitten, letting them explore and get used to each other’s smells. When socialized early, cats and dogs can live happily and peacefully together.
If your cat is bitten by another cat, try to get him to the vet within 24 hours. The vet can put him on antibiotics that will protect him from infection setting in, and causing serious health problems. Cat bites can trap bacteria under your cat’s skin, forming an abscess, or other dangerous infection that can cost you hundreds of dollars to treat later.
Taking care of cats can be an interesting pasttime. The ideas in this article can help make things easier for you. It is not always easy being a cat owner, but if you are like most cat owners you wouldn’t have it any other way. Try the information in this article and see how well you do with your cat.