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How to care for a cat

Three Maine coons advice © Pixabay

Cats make wonderful pets, even though they are quite independent creatures. However before you adopt or buy a cat, ask yourself the question – how will you care for a cat?

By Dawn Parrish

Cats aren’t only cute pets, they also make fantastic friendly companions. With the proper care, a cat can live a healthy and long life. There are certainly many things you need to consider when deciding to get a cat.

Choosing your cat

First of all, you have this big decision to make. A cat can be quite independent, but she still needs someone to take care of her daily needs. Because this person is likely to be you, make sure you have room in your lifestyle for a cat. Another thing to consider is that some felines live up to 20 years old and because of this, it needs real commitment. Do you opt for a kitten or a grown cat? Even more important is where do you find your new pet? From a friend, a stray or adopt from a shelter. Many people ask “how do I take care of my cat?” Do your research and make sure you get the right kitty to suit your personality and lifestyle.

Here are some tips to help with how best to care for a cat.

Tip no 1. Will your cat be an indoor or an outdoor cat?

Ginger cat in the grass
Outdoor cats love to explore ©Pixabay

This is quite a large decision that you need to make when your kitten first comes to live with you. Of course, outdoor life is good for us all, sunshine and fresh air help us to stay healthy and feel better. Cats who are allowed to go into the great outdoors are more at risk from fights with other animals, diseases and of course busy traffic. Indoor cats need more of your time and attention for playtimes and grooming.

Tip no 2. Feeding your cat

This daily task is a very important part of caring for a cat. You will have to remember to put fresh food and water down for your cat. Even more important is deciding which type of cat food to offer. The choice is huge within the pet food industry, dry food, wet food, kibble or treats.

Tip no 3. Toilet duties

If your cat is allowed to go outside, she will probably do her toileting duties in the garden. In contrast, if your cat lives inside all day, you will need to provide a litter tray. An enclosed litter box gives your cat a little more privacy. It’s important to keep the litter and the tray clean, not only for your cat’s comfort but also to eliminate odours in the home.

Tip no 4. Provide plenty of toys

Brown kitten playing with ball
Most cats love a choice of different toys ©Pixabay

It seems like all cats love to play. Squeaky toys, feathers, string and cardboard boxes, all make great playthings. Most of these can be made at home; you certainly don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep your cat active, happy and of course, occupied.

Tip no 5. Give your cat a scratching post

Cats love to scratch and use their claws, it’s a fact of feline life. However, because you don’t want your sofa destroyed, invest in, or construct a scratching post for kitty.

Tip no 6. Remember the treats

Just like with cat food, the choice of cat treats is numerous. Use them for training and bribery. Dental health treats, freeze-dried and hand-made cat treats will all be her favourites. Another favourite to buy when you care for a cat is catnip. This natural mood enhancer might make your pet more affectionate, or frisky.

Tip no 7. Make sure you have pet insurance

Because no one knows what’s around the corner, its best to make sure you have adequate insurance cover for any eventuality. A cat can be prone to suffer many feline illnesses, and accidents do happen. It’s, therefore, best to sign up for cat insurance to help with any costly pet medical expenses.

Tip no 8. Begin grooming sessions early

If your choice of a new pet is a young kitten, the best advice is to begin grooming her very soon. Regular brushing, bathing and claw trimming will be something she looks forward to.

Tip no 9. Handling your kitten

Learn how to gently handle your cat. Never pick her up by the front legs or the scruff of her neck. Place one hand under her bottom and the other behind her front legs. Pick her up, pet her and stroke her often, so she gets used to being touched and handled.

Tip no 10. Neutering and Spaying

An important aspect of care for a cat is preventing further unwanted pregnancies. Male cats should be neutered and female cats spayed by 5 months of age.

Grey cat in basket
Give your cat a comfortable bed ©Pixabay

These 10 tips are just some of the things you need to know when it comes to cat care. Bear in mind that no two cats are the same and different breeds have varying personalities. We hope that you and your new cat will enjoy the time you spend together.

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