Cat Care 101: How to Look After Your Furry Friend

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When choosing to introduce a furry member into your family, it is necessary to understand how best to look after your pet for their overall health and well-being. 

With those of the feline variety, some people have this preconceived notion of many being a case of “you didn’t choose them, they chose you”, as some do tend to have the habit of being able to hunt and fend for themselves and lead a rather solitary lifestyle. 

Whether or not this notion is true, when considering the prospect of getting a cat, whether they are a kitten or an older cat, you should see it as a long-term investment. 

Therefore, whether your cat is aloof and likes to hide, is territorial and moody, or, like mine, a bit zany but loves a snuggle, they all require a few basics to lead a happy life with you. 

Hence, let me give you a guide on how best to care for your kitty friend.

Give them a fear-free health check

There is no doubt that, at least once or twice a year, you will and should take your pet to the vet.

Thankfully, many cat-friendly vets can accommodate for some of the extra stress and guilt for both cat and owner. 

This doesn’t mean that cats get sicker than other animals, rather it allows those that are overly sensitive, to dogs, in particular, can relax and have facilities that are specialised for them.

This can help to relieve the stress and give your kitty a more comfortable and calming experience with their healthcare provider. 

Provide them with a space of comfort

Whether it is the first night with a new kitten or even an older cat, make sure that you have the basics on hand. 

From food, water, a clean litter tray and a safe and secure place to rest. Some felines even prefer to have more privacy when they sleep. 

If you choose to confine them to one particular room during the night or need to when going away overnight, make sure all of these necessities are available to them.

However, much longer it would be best to make sure you have someone who can care for them, whether a pet sitter or cattery.

While you may go out and get some expensive cat beds, you’ll be surprised how many will snooze in some of the funniest of places. (I once found mine curled up comfortably in the bathroom sink) 

Nevertheless, make sure they are comfortable and free from injury. 

Groom your cat regularly

While cats do groom themselves by licking their fur, this isn’t the only way to keep their coat healthy. 

Whether you have a short or long-haired pussycat, all varieties should be brushed regularly, and additional sessions for many long-haired species, with suitable brushes, to avoid matted fur and keep their coat in good health. 

This can be a great bonding experience between you and your cat, depending on its personality. 

However, if your cat is a little difficult to groom or handle, there is the avenue of using a professional pet groomer.

Desex as soon as you are able

Especially with new kittens, it is wise to desex your cat at its earliest signs of sexual maturity. 

This not only prevents unwanted litters and the potential for feral cats, but it also keeps your cat healthy in the end. 

By desexing, you eliminate the risks of certain health problems, such as reproductive cancers. The traditional time to desex is around 5½ to 6 months of age. 

It can also reduce unwanted natural behaviours, such as mounting and the spraying of urine to attract a mate, as well as lower aggressive behaviour that may be associated with marking their territorial boundaries.  

Get a scratching post (or a few) and don’t declaw:

Cats have an innate impulse to scratch and sharpen their claws, as it is just the same as a rabbit’s teeth and our nails -they never stop growing.

In order to keep them under control, they will find any means or place to do this. They will also paw and scratch to alert their owner of things they want or need. 

However, this can be destructive, especially to your curtains and furniture if not dealt with. 

Train your cat to use a scratching post (or a few, my cat tore our old one to shreds) so that he is rewarded for doing a good thing and not tearing your upholstery. 

It is best to get onto this early, as even the best cats may do slight scratching and claw for attention. 

However, do not declaw your cat, for it can harm the cat and is seen in many areas as animal abuse. 

Conclusion:

Therefore, when it comes to acquiring and caring for a new furry feline as part of your family, while these are among the basics to keep your kitty happy and healthy, the best thing to give them is, of course, love. 

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