As pets go, cats are relatively low maintenance compared to dogs which need companionship, walking, training, etc. However, like any pet, they do need care, and some cats need more care than others. Do you want to spend a lot of time with your cat, do you want it to be demanding, or do you have limited time? Cats can fit into busy, modern lifestyles more easily than dogs, as they are pretty independent, can be left alone much more easily, and are more suitable for smaller flats or houses. Cats are often chosen by people who have busy and stressful lifestyles and who want some companionship when they go home to relax.
What do you want from your relationship with a cat? If you’re the kind of person who really needs to have a close relationship with your cat and to be able to handle it and have it interact with you, then you’ll be disappointed if you take on a nervous cat that hides every time you come into the room. You may want to think about one of the pedigree breeds which can be more interactive and perhaps more needy of the human company than some moggies. This may however become a problem for the cat if you are out at work all day and only available to give attention on evenings or weekends.
Some cats need to know exactly what’s going to happen when in order to feel relaxed. Such cats would be quite happy living with an old lady who rarely has visitors and leads a very quiet life, but would probably find it quite stressful living in a home full of kids and other animals with lots of visitors and activity. Other cats, however, might thrive on different interactions with lots of people and fit in perfectly well in a busy household.
If you’re not likely to have the time or inclination to groom a cat on a daily basis, don’t even think of getting a Persian or a cat with a long coat. In pedigree jargon, any cat with a longer coat, aside from a Persian, is called semi-longhaired because the coat is not as full as the Persian’s and does not have such a thick undercoat; however, it is still long and requires grooming. In addition, if you are extremely house-proud, you may not want lots of hair everywhere.
A shorthaired cat is a much easier option, as most cats are fanatical about their coats and keep them in immaculate condition. That’s not to say that they don’t leave hairs around – bear this in mind if you’re thinking of getting a white cat but have dark furniture, or vice versa. Likewise, a cat is quite likely to sharpen its claws indoors, often on the stair carpet, sometimes on the furniture, or even on the wallpaper. Whether your cat does this can depend on the cat itself and also the environment you provide for it; however there are things you can do to try and deal with this, but it is best to acknowledge from the outset that your cat is an animal with free will and natural behavior that may not suit someone who needs to have an immaculate house.
Keep care for animals you will need to
- Provide plenty of human companionship
- Provide regular, suitable meals with a constant supply of fresh water
- Provide a clean and comfortable bed
- Provide the animal with outdoor access or be prepared to empty and clean a litter tray on a daily basis
- Provide it with a stimulating and safe environment
- Groom it regularly. Longhaired animals require daily grooming
- Have it neutered between 4 and 6 months old
- Vaccinate against the major feline diseases regularly
- Worm regularly and provide treatment for fleas
- Take the animals to the vet when it shows any sign of illness
- Make sure you can afford the cost of any veterinary treatment it may need
To pick up your pet, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a pet by the scruff of the neck or by the front legs.
Your pet should have its own clean, dry place in your home to sleep and rest. Line your pet’s bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Please keep your pet indoors. Outdoor animals do not live as long as an indoor pet. Outdoor cats are at risk of trauma from cars, or from fights with other cats, raccoons, and free-roaming dogs. Coyotes are known to eat cats. Outdoor cats are more likely to become infested with fleas or ticks, as well as contract infectious diseases. Do give them home, take them to you, give them home love as nature granted to you.
All indoor animals need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary, but if you must do so, move the box just a few inches per day. Keep in mind that animals won’t use a messy, smelly litter box, so scoop solid wastes out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent and refill at least once a week; you can do this less frequently if using clumping litter. Don’t use ammonia, deodorants, or scents, especially lemon, when cleaning the litter box. If your pet will not use a litterbox, please consult with your veterinarian. Sometimes refusal to use a litter box is based on a medical condition that required treatment.
Animals need to scratch! When an animal scratches, the old outer nail sheath is pulled off and the sharp, smooth claws underneath are exposed. Cutting your animal’s nails every two to three weeks will keep them relatively blunt and less likely to harm the arms of both humans and furniture. Provide your animal with a sturdy scratching post, at least three feet high. The post should also be stable enough that it won’t wobble during use and should be covered with rough material such as sisal, burlap, or tree bark. Many animals also like scratching pads.
Your cat should see the veterinarian at least once a year for an examination and annual shots, and immediately if she is sick or injured. Never give your cat medication that has not been prescribed by a veterinarian. Your veterinarian will make recommendations based on your cat’s age and health. If spaying, female cats should be spayed and male cats neutered by five months of age.
- Premium-brand food
- Food dish
- Water bowl
- Interactive toys
- Safety collar with ID tag
- Scratching post or scratching pad
- Litter box and litter
- Sleeping Bed or Box with warm blanket/comforter or towel according to climate