Looking after your cat: advice and practical tips
Looking for the best tips on caring for your cat? One of the greatest learning curves for the first time pet owner is the energy involved in looking after their pet. It doesn’t take long to fall head over heels for this furry creature that now shares your home and your life. Discovering that there is some work involved sometimes comes as a surprise, not that different to first-time parents.
This creature will be completely dependent on you for shelter, warmth, food and healthcare. Often the responsibilities only begin to dawn on the new owner after the fact. The joy and the shared affection more than makes up for that and people will continue to provide for their beloved companions through time immemorial. Here are a few tips to get you going:
Cats have been part of human society since records began. They are revered placed in Egyptian society several millennia ago illustrates how firmly they have been ensconced in the domestic world of human society.
While domestic cats relay an air of independence that may leave some believing that they can look after themselves, this is not entirely true. In situations where they are left to look after themselves, they won’t starve although feral cats are clearly not as well off as those with loving homes. Even feral cats need shelter and so both domestic moggies and feral cats often rely on humans for shelter.
1. Cats that live outdoors mostly should have outdoor access to shelter, whether it is a barn, garden shed, a garage or purpose-built cat house.
2. Currently, most domesticated cats live in their owner’s home, with a substantial number gaining access to the shelter through cat flaps indoors, or through windows.
3. While cats do have a knack for taking ownership of any space that they occupy they do prefer exclusive use of their own sleeping area, whether it is an enclosed cat cosy or a doughnut bed. In fact, cats that have their own space in the home are often as contented as they can be.
Cats have unique health needs and inexperienced owners often think that they are like dogs. There are many things that a cat cannot consume that a dog can and vice versa. But there is more to a cat’s health than its diet and exercise.
4. Most cats’ self-groom sufficiently well to keep their coat in good form, however, some long-haired breeds need some help. When their coats become unkempt, cats can develop problems and so this is an important consideration when becoming a cat owner. It may be cute and fluffy, but will you have the time to take care of it?
A cat’s health is directly related to its shelter, level of exercise, diet and its social life, so integrating these is very important.
5. Domestic cats should be vaccinated against a number of illnesses, feline leukaemia arguably being the most important. Ensuring that your cat is vaccinated and receives boosters as advised by your vet will ensure a long and healthy life provided that the all the other basic needs are met.
Learning and socialising
It is a common belief that a cat cannot be trained. This is in fact untrue. How else would trainers be able to use cats in film shoots? Cats need to be trained at a very young age. Methods used to train them are quite different from those of dogs. While positive reinforcement is a method, experienced trainers will train a cat according to its instincts. There are often jokes about how cats train their owners and owners train their dogs. But cats also learn where and how to get into their homes.
6. If a cat is scratching the furniture, providing an alternative in the form of a scratching post and removing boredom by providing toys usually does the trick.
7. Sometimes a cat’s behaviour can be a sign of a health issue. If a cat is suddenly not using its litter box or is behaving strangely it is unlikely that the problem is training. It may a change in the environment such as a new cat in the home or even a new cat in the neighbourhood.
8. If the cat is handled with love and care from very young, it will most likely become an affectionate pet. Like all pets, they all have their own personalities but once they feel content in an environment, their innate social skills will come to the fore.
Cats need exercise. Possibly more than any other domesticated pet. For cats that spend most or all their lives indoors, toys will become an absolute necessity.
9. There are plenty of automated gadgets when an owner doesn’t have the opportunity to interact. Cats that don’t exercise will become overweight and develop a host of health problems that will shorten their lives.
Outdoor cats will on the whole exercise themselves, seeking out activities that are similar to those of their wild ancestors, including hunting, nesting in safe spaces in the garden and exploring the immediate neighbourhood.
10. Remember to microchip your cat. Sometimes their curiosity gets the better of them and they land up in removals vans many miles away, unable to find their way home.
Tips when feeding your cat
Cats require a balanced diet that is easy to obtain from your local supermarket. Ensure that you buy a reputable brand that is recommended by your vet.
11. If your cat has special dietary needs, follow your vet’s advice. Do not feed your cat human food. This may result in them refusing their own food and developing weight and deficiencies.