Cat Care Articles
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I have been a cat owner for most of my life and have learned many tips and tricks on how to keep cats happy and healthy. Our regular articles cover all the basics you need to know about caring for your cat. If you are a new cat or kitten owner, you probably have a lot of questions about looking after your new friend. As you may already know or will soon find out, cats are funny, playful, independent, loving, curious, intelligent, and often very entertaining. As you are looking for information about cat care online, your pet will be lucky to have a caring owner.
Cats are easy to care for and relatively low-maintenance pets. Once you are familiar with the basics of feeding, litter trays, grooming, general health, and safety, all you need to do is love and enjoy your cat.
Here you will learn about the essential topics that new cat owners should be familiar with to have a happy and healthy pet. You'll also get helpful tips and advice on cat grooming from a long-time cat owner.
We'll start with the topic that your cat probably considers most important.
feed your cat a healthy food
The food you choose has a significant impact on your cat's overall health, so make sure you provide her with something nutritious. If you know the brand of food your cat has been eating before introduction, it helps to get a small amount of the same food to keep her on a consistent diet and slowly switch to the food you want to feed her. The changeover to a new food requires a small adjustment, and a slow transition can prevent upset stomachs.
Kittens (under one-year-old) should eat kitten food as they are still growing and need a higher-calorie diet. If your cat has health problems, is overweight, underweight or is a senior, it's best to visit your vet to help you choose the right food. For example, if your cat needs to lose weight, this needs to be done slowly for health reasons. For the average, healthy cat or kitten, here is a quick breakdown of the types of food you can find in grocery shops or pet shops.
Most cats like canned food, also called “wet food” once they get used to it. The high-water content in this type of food provides extra hydration. Canned food comes in a variety of textures, such as pieces, slices, minced meat, pâté, or pieces in the sauce. Some cats eat everything; others have preferences. If necessary, try different types to find out what your pet likes best. There are significant differences in the quality of food, so make sure you read the list of ingredients before buying. Look for foods with meat as the first ingredient, not grains or fillers. Cats are carnivores by nature and have little need for grains in their food. Higher quality, high value canned foods often have meat (poultry, beef, fish, etc.) as the first and several ingredients. They do not contain any by-products, artificial colourings, flavourings, or fillers.
You can find these foods in most pet food shops and online. Although they are generally more expensive than grocery shop foods, pure ingredients, and fewer fillers mean more nutrients are packed in a can. Feeding high-quality food can contribute to better health and fewer visits to the vet. My suggestion is to buy the highest quality canned food that your budget will allow. Wet food should not be left out for more than half an hour (twenty minutes in hot weather) as it can spoil and become insecure when eating. Cover and cold food leftovers in the tin and throw away uneaten food in the bowl.
Dog food or even a can of tuna does not provide complete nutrition. The first ingredient should be real meat and not “by-products”.
Some people prefer feeding with dry food or a combination of wet and dry food. Dry food is practical if you are not at home during the day because it can be left out without spoiling. As with canned food, you should read the ingredient labels and look for brands that contain meat in the first few ingredients. Try to avoid products with by-products, fillers, and artificial flavourings. Tip: Buy just a small bag of new food until you are sure your cat likes it. Like
How much should I feed my cat?
That depends on your cat's weight and activity level. Either stick to the suggested portion size stated on the packaging or obtained a recommendation from your vet. If you feed both dry and wet food, take this into account when determining the amount of food to be fed. If you have an adult cat that appears to be gaining weight, reduce the portion size or switch to a reduced-calorie or “indoor” formula.
Choose food bowls and water bowls, Stainless steel and ceramic bowls and bowls are ideal for food and water. Unlike plastic, they are odourless and easy to clean thoroughly. It is a good idea to have more than one plate and bowl so that you always have a clean one at your disposal. Feeding bowls, I like DuraPet Cat Dishes for feeding because they are flat, so they are comfortable for cats to eat. They have a rubber ring at the bottom so that the bowls cannot be pushed around when the cat is eating. Water bowls Keep a bowl of water in a place that your cat can always access.
Cats love freshwater. So, change it at least once a day and wash the bowl with warm, foamy water at least a few times a week. Tip: To encourage higher water consumption, you should keep a water bowl in two places.
Have a litter tray
Here are a few things you should know about cat toilets and accessories: Litter tray You need at least one litter tray for each cat you have—mine like the standard open style litter boxes. Covered boxes can trap odours or make some cats feel cramped. Whatever type of litter tray you choose, make sure it is big enough. Smaller boxes are suitable for kittens, but cats over 10 or 11 pounds may find a standard-sized box too small. Choose an extra-large box if you need one.
There are many types of waste to choose from: Clay, lumps, pine pellets, corn and recycled newspaper waste, to name but a few. If you are not sure what type of litter to choose, start with a simple clay litter. Is usually the cheapest and most cats and kittens are used to it. Look for “low-dust” or “dust-free” varieties, as dust is not pleasant for your pet or you. Tip: Once you have found a type and brand of litter that works, stick with it. Changing the litter type too often can lead to fussy cats avoiding the box.
Litter scoop and bucket
Choose a shovel that works with the type of waste you buy and a small bucket to dispose of dirty waste while you shovel. Optional: waste mat If you keep a mat under the box, it will help to catch the waste before it is distributed around the house. Scoop out the box once or twice a day to keep the box clean for your friend. Replace all bedding about once a week and wash the box with dishwashing detergent and warm water. It can be disgusting, but watch out for anything unusual in your stool or urine (e.g. worms, mucus or blood). Also look for diarrhoea, hard stools or more or less than usual. If you see something that does not seem familiar, call your vet and ask him/her about it. If you want an insight into how you can avoid problems with the litter tray, call your vet,
4. brush your cat regularly
Cleaning is easy and does not take up too much time. Most cats enjoy being brushed because it relaxes them. Regular brushing removes dead hair and dirt and helps keep the skin healthy. How often should I brush? Short or medium-haired breeds should be brushed about once a week. People with longer hair, such as Persians or Ragdolls, should be brushed two to three times a week. Brush type A brush with regular bristles works well for most cats. You can also use a brush with metal bristles to remove more hair if your pet loses a lot. If you are in a pet shop and are not sure what type of brush to buy, ask the staff to recommend one. How to prevent mats are hard lumps of hair that form if the coat is not brushed often enough. Coat shedding increases when the weather warms up, so brushing is essential to remove dead hairs and avoid mats. Mats can form in cats of any hair length but are more common in medium and longhaired breeds. Once they have formed, they are difficult to comb out. You may need a professional groomer or vet to remove them or shave them off if they are strong enough.
To avoid this problem, use a brush regularly. Decalcifying tool for cats If your cat excretes a lot or has a coat that is prone to tangling, you should occasionally use a FURminator in addition to a regular brush. This particular metal tool removes more hair than a standard brush. It is available in two sizes, and there are versions for short- and longhaired breeds. Note: This tool can remove a lot of hairs, so handle it gently and do not overdo it.
5. bath your cat
Most cats do a good job keeping themselves clean. Unless they are dirty because they are outdoors or older and do not clean well, one or two baths a year are usually enough. Here are some tips for bathing: Use a gentle shampoo designed for cats and avoid bringing soap or water near their eyes or ears. Avoid shampoos with flea treatments (unless your vet recommends it), as many cats have had a bad reaction to certain flea treatment shampoos. After bathing, use a towel to dry her off well, then keep her in a warm place until she is dry. Once the coat is completely dry, a good brushing will make it fluffy and beautiful.
6. keep your cat's claws trimmed
You will need small cat scissors to cut your cat's claws. Trimming is essential so that the claws are not too long, sharp, broken or frayed. Long claws can cause your pet to accidentally scratch you when you hold him or get caught on your clothes or furniture. Usually, it is sufficient to shorten your claws twice a month. The front claws usually grow faster than the back ones. Make sure that the scissors you use sharp. If they are blunt, they tear the claw instead of cutting, and that is painful for the cat. If you've never trimmed a cat's claws before, it's a good idea to have an experienced cat owner, a professional dog groomer or your vet show you how to do it properly until you're satisfied with trying it yourself.
How to trim a cat's claws
Choose a well lit or sunny room.
Find someone to keep the cat quiet unless you can do it yourself. Place your pet on a table, your lap or the floor. Whatever works best for you. With your front paws, press lightly on one toe until the claw sticks out. Look for the “quick” one, i.e. the pink vein that runs down through the nail. Trim only the tip of the claw. Do not go near the nail. Repeat this with each toe, also with the “dewclaws”, which are located on the inside of the front legs at the wrist. Keep a small container of alum stone powder for pets in case you accidentally cut the Quick. When this happens, put alum stone powder on the nail and press down on it with a paper towel to ensure that the bleeding is stopped.
If you are incredibly careful and do not get near the Quick, this should not happen. Some cats get their claws cut better than others. My cats accept it much more when you cut their front claws than when you trim their backs. If you start this habit early, it will be easier for them to get used to it. Then use lots of praise and a few treats to make the experience positive. They love to have fun.
7. enjoy playtime
Cats and kittens love their playtime, so get a few types of toys to keep them entertained. Cats can have individual toy preferences, so if you get one that they don't like, keep trying until you find something they like. One of my cats loves mouse toys that she can carry around in her mouth. She plays fetch like a dog when I throw his favourite toy around. My other guy is more amused by colourful plastic spring toys. He will have fun knocking them across the floor until he exhausts himself.
If your cat is lazy and needs some encouragement to move around, try “Da Bird”, a long wand with feathers at the end of a string that imitates a bird in flight when you swing it around. Even the laziest cat usually can't resist giving it a few punches or chasing it around.
The Bergen TurboScratcher is another fun toy where cats can push a ball around in a circle and use the corrugated cardboard centre as a scratch. The game helps him burn calories, which is especially important for indoor cats who become less active as they get older. 8. have a scratching post or scratch To avoid scratch marks on your furniture, place a scratch in some places in the house. These can be scratching posts, scratching discs or a scratch-made of corrugated cardboard. You do not have to be extravagant.
One of my cats loves to scratch on everything made of corrugated cardboard, and this kind of scratch is very inexpensive. You can also buy a small container of dried catnip that you can sprinkle on the scratch to attract your cat. Whenever the scratching post is used, praise them, so they learn to use the scratch and not the corners of your couch. You can find more tips on scratching in my article: How you can stop cats from scratching furniture, read my article: How to stop cats from scratching furniture A corrugated cardboard scratching ramp for cats.
9. give him a place to sleep
Most cats sleep a lot during the day, so give your cat a comfortable place to rest. It can be a cuddly cat bed or just your soft blanket. Some prefer sunny, warm places to sleep; others want to hide in a dark and private place. Pay attention to where your pet sleeps most often, and place the bed in this area. Cat trees provide a place to sleep, play and scratch
10. have treats
Our furry friends love treats as much as we do. Here are a few of their favourites: Cat treats. It's good to have a bag of treats as a reward for your cat. Look for them wherever you buy cat food. There are many flavours to choose from: Chicken, fish, beef, cheese, salmon, tartar control and even catnip. Cat grass Many cats love fresh cat grass.
You can find it in some pet shops or health food shops, or you can buy a set and grow it yourself. It takes only a few days to grow, and it's fun to watch your pet enjoy it. Organic cat grass from a kit Catnip is delivered dried in containers or bags. You can also buy a container of freshly grown organic catnip in some pet shops or health food stores. Not all cats react to this herb, but those who eat it will behave a little differently when they eat it. Some will roll around in it. Others will act drunk and fall asleep. Sometimes they will become overexcited and more playful than usual. Catnip can cause some cats to become aggressive or fight with another cat. So be careful until you know how your pet will react.
11. own a carrier
Transport carriers are essential for visits to the vet, travel or in case you need to leave your home in an emergency. They come in many sizes and price ranges.
Look for one that gives your cat enough space to fit comfortably and has some room to move on each side. For large cats, look for a large or extra-large carrier or dog carrier. For more information on choosing a carrier,
Brushing your cat's teeth
It may seem strange to brush your cat's teeth, but it is something you should do to prevent all kinds of health problems caused by poor dental health. Bad teeth, plaque and gum disease can cause bacteria in the mouth, which can affect vital organs such as the liver, kidneys and heart and cause serious health problems.
If you start brushing your teeth from the beginning, you can prevent these problems. All you need is a cat toothbrush set, which is available in pet shops or at the vet's surgery. Note: Toothpaste for humans is not safe for cats. Toothbrush sets for cats usually contain a rubber brush that looks like a thimble, a small toothbrush and enzymatic toothpaste. It may take some time for you and your cat to get used to brushing your teeth, but after a little practice, it will be more comfortable. Tip: You can also ask your vet for a drinking water supplement to help prevent plaque formation.
13. find a good vet
If you do not already have a vet for other pets, talk to people you know to get suggestions for good vets in your area. You may want to meet the vet first to make sure he or she has good references, is competent and knowledgeable and charges reasonable prices. Also, look for someone close to where you live who can be easily reached in an emergency. Your vet will advise you on how often your cat or kitten needs to be seen for examinations and vaccinations. Please bring a list of questions you may have about your pet and its health. Your vet is a valuable ally in keeping your new friend healthy. If they are well cared for, cats can live a long, healthy life. A nutritious diet and regular veterinary care can prevent many health problems. Cats are particularly good at hiding signs of illness. So watch out for changes in their eating and drinking habits, litter tray behaviour or activity levels. Ask your vet if you have any concerns to be sure.
14. teach children
How to treat your cat If you have young children at home, teach them how to treat your cat with care and respect. Some children may not know not to pull a cat's tail or play too rough with it. Teach them to stroke the cat gently and give it room to eat or rest.