No amount of articles can prepare you for raising your first cat! This is a wonderful and exciting experience that you may only have once in life. Make every moment count by having fun with your pet, feeding it delicious food, and keeping it active outside of the home. If this is your first cat, you’ll be glad you took the time to read this article and get prepared.
Never have your cat declawed. Many people misunderstand declawing, thinking it is the simple removal of a cat’s nail. This is not true. In fact, the veterinarian must remove the top knuckle along with the claw during the procedure. This can result in arthritis pain later in life and many behavior problems, such as biting. There are many alternatives from scratching posts to glue-on claw caps that can protect your belongings from a cat’s claws without resorting to such a harsh surgical solution.
Make your own enclosed litter box from a large tote box with a lid. Use a coffee can lid as a pattern to cut a door in one side of the tote. Place the coffee can lid fairly high up on the side of the tote. Trace around it with a permanent marker. Cut out the circle with tin snips or a box cutter. Add litter. Put on the lid.
Do not assume that because a medication is okay for you to take, that it is safe for your cat as well. Many medications made for humans are lethal to cats, such as acetaminophen containing drugs and aspirin. Always check with your veterinarian before you give your cat anything.
If you going to be gone for more than a day, you should have someone look in on your cat. Leave out plenty of food, but have someone come to make sure it doesn’t run out. If you do not have a neighbor or family to look in on your cat, you can usually find a cat sitter for a few dollars each day.
Just as important as it is to take care of your own teeth, you need to take care of your cats as well. Cats can develop tarter and plaque build-up over time. Purchasing a toothbrush and toothpaste made specially for felines is a great way to keep your cats teeth clean and healthy.
When getting a small kitten to eat dry kitten food, be patient. At first they usually just play with food. It may take a little while, but they’ll eventually learn that they are supposed to eat it rather than toy with it. If the food is moistened first with milk, a kitten may take to it faster.
Ensure that your new cat is spayed or neutered. This is important even if your cat will not be outdoors or around cats of the opposite gender. Studies show that spayed cats are less vulnerable to uterine, mammary, and ovarian cancer. Neutering your male cat decreases his risk of developing prostate cancer. Another benefit of neutering is that your cat will not feel compelled to mark his territory by spraying.
Entertain your cat with simple “toys” made from household objects. Many cats enjoy exploring boxes, such as those that hold 12-packs, small appliances, or other products. Before allowing your pet to play with a box, you should be sure that the animal cannot get stuck in small openings or tight spaces. This would be dangerous and very frightening to your pet!
If you are expecting a child, this is more than enough reason for you to have your pet spayed or neutered. Some cats get very aggressive when they see little ones in the house. After having this procedure done it is less likely for your cat to do anything to harm the baby.
Use aversives to deter your feline friend from going places where it is not allowed. An aversive is anything that creates an undesirable environment for your cat. Examples include shelf paper (sticky side facing upward) and tinfoil. Most cats prefer to avoid these textures at all costs. You can also use carpet tape that has adhesive on both sides.
Make sure that you change your cat’s food and water on a regular basis. Just like humans, cats want to eat fresh food and drink water that is clean. Feed them at the same time each and every day if you want them to get into a regular feeding routine.
Encourage your child to play with cats by using toys, not by using their fingers and hands. Choose toys that put distance between the child’s hands and the cat’s teeth and claws. During a vigorous play session, an excited kitten is more likely to accidentally scratch its playmate’s skin. For example, you might use a long wand-type toy with a dangling feather or bell.
Vet visits are often inevitable, and the bills can quickly pile up. You can save yourself some money by ordering your cats medications online. Some companies deliver medication to anyone who orders it. This can be great if you have to get heart worm pills or flea treatments that your cat has to take every month.
If you are a responsible pet owner, you need to keep your cat indoors. The outdoors is no place for your pet. There are lots of dangers out in the world. Your cat can be injured by wild animals, hit by a car or get infested with bugs and diseases if you let them roam free.
Your first cat is a special pet that should remain in your memories as a great time spent raising an adorable animal. Future pets will get easier to train and feed, but cats will always be a complex, confusing, messy animal. Small changes here and there help make this a unique experience.