By Claudia Bensimoun
Care of Your Cat
Image Credit: Claudia Bensimoun
Image Copyright: Claudia Bensimoun
Cats are one of man’s most popular companion animals today. Unlike dogs, our furry feline friends have rich emotional lives that we need to respect and understand. Cat parents must earn a cat’s love, trust and respect, yet cats do love and need humans. As much as there are so many different cat breeds and colors, there are some individual feline traits that are the same in all cat breeds.
Before you bring an adult cat home there are a few things that you need to know. Bringing an adult cat into your life means taking on additional responsibility and should never be taken on lightly. You will need to spend time with your new furry best friend, and to make sure that your cat is healthy, well fed, vetted regularly and exercised. The litter box will need to be cleaned out frequently, and your cat will need to be house trained.
Cats do feel lonely and need to spend quality time with their pet parents. Cats also need plenty of love and attention, and do not thrive without affection. As with all animals, treat your cat with respect, kindness and love. If you’re house training an older cat that has not been litter box trained, be prepared to spend some quality time teaching him how to abandon some embarrassing potty habits, and teaching him the correct ones.
Make sure that you have the time to devote to a new cat and discuss fostering, cat adoption or purchasing a cat with all family members before embracing this wonderful process. Save a life by adopting and encourage everyone around you to do the same!
Things To Do Before Bringing Fifi Home
- Research all the cat breeds that best suit your lifestyle and personality.
- Read about and understand your responsibilities as a pet parent.
- Know how to prepare your home for Fifi.
- Understand the basics of cat care, litter box training and the essentials of what every cat needs in her life on a daily basis- that includes positive training, clicker training, healthy nutrition, adequate veterinary care, mental and environmental stimulation in the form of interactive cat toys, frequent interactions with other cats, people and children. (socialization) Never isolate your cat.
- A phone number of either a good veterinary behaviorist, a feline foster parent, or a local veterinarian to call in case you feel frustrated and overwhelmed.
- Consider your financial resources for veterinary care, cat food, pet insurance and daily care.
- Consider your work schedule. Are you able to provide Fifi with the care, exercise and companionship that she will need?
- Strive for feline parenting success with love, kindness, respect and positive training! That means no punishment ever, only rewards for the correct behavior.
What Do I Need?
Before bringing Fifi home, you’ll need to be prepared. Feline parenting will be less complicated if you’re well prepared before your new furry best friend arrives home. In addition, make sure that you’ve found a veterinarian that lives close by to give Fifi a check-up. With so many affordable cat food brands and pet products on the market, there’s no reason why shopping for Fifi shouldn’t be lots of fun. Keep in mind that your new cat deserves to live an incredible life with you by her side as her caregiver!
- Food and water bowls
- Cat carrier
- Name tag and microchip
- Grooming essentials
- Feline interactive toys
- Scratching post
- High grade cat food
- A few litter boxes and litter
- Special litter box with lower sides for senior cats
- Kitty bed
- Training treats for rewards
- Feline first aid kit
Fleas and Ticks
With so many flea control products on the market, ask your veterinarian as to which products are best suited to your cat’s health and needs. Keep in mind that cats can also attract dog fleas.
- Examine for fleas by using a flea comb on Fifi.
- Contact your veterinarian to discuss which flea and tick products are best to use.
Bringing Your Cat Home
This is a very exciting time for everyone. Before bringing Fifi home, you must make sure that your home is cat proofed and safe for your new furry best friend. If you’re bringing home a mature cat, keep in mind that she may have already developed a few unusual habits. She also may not be fully litter box trained. In this case, litter box training the positive way needs to start right from day 1 when you bring Fifi home. Homecomings should never be traumatic or loud. Your home needs to be stress free at all times, so as to ensure that your cat is able to adapt to her new environment in a relatively short amount of time.
Cats need to eat a varied diet, so it’s important to understand basic feline nutrition. With so many choices available in the pet market, it’s best to do some research before going to the store. Commercial cat food can also be bought online. There are semi -moist, canned, dry cat food options, as well as foods for senior cats, and cats with health problems. Cat foods contain fish, meat, turkey, beef and lamb. Opt for a high- quality cat food that’s best suited to Fifi’s health and age. Keep in mind that a vegetarian diet is never appropriate for your furry best friend since all cats need taurine. This is an amino acid found in meat, and in tiny amounts in some vegetables. If your cat is taurine deficient, she may be prone to blindness and fatal health problems like cardiomyopathy. (heart muscle disease) Never feed your cat dog food. Ask your vet about supplements for Fifi. Overdoses of Vitamin A and D are toxic and can be dangerous.
Scheduled feedings for cats are preferable. A good reason for this is that so many cats are obese today. By feeding on a schedule you’ll be able to see how much your cat is eating, and if your new cat is overweight, you’ll be able to put her on a diet that supervised by your veterinarian. The other option is free feeding, which means leaving food out all day for Fifi. This works for picky eaters since they’re able to eat throughout the day.
- Buy the very best cat food that you can afford.
- Healthy nutrition is vital for good health and a healthy and long life.
- Read up and understand feline nutrition so that you’re better able to determine which commercial foods are best.
- Always consult your veterinarian when changing diets to make sure that all your cat’s nutritional needs are being met.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Cats
Never leave your cat outdoors unsupervised. Cats can be trained to come with positive training. You can even train your cat to walk on a leash with clicker training. With so many felines ending up at shelters, it’s best to prevent your cat from running free.
Visiting The Vet
You should choose a veterinarian that is located nearby your home, and recommended for his skills. If your vet is located close to your home, it will be convenient in case you have an emergency. Your vet is going to be one of the most important people in your life. Your furry best friend is going to need regular veterinary care so that any health problems may be detected early on. Your cat will also need to be neutered or spayed, so as to prevent more homeless cats going into shelters.
When you first bring home your new cat, it’s best that you bring her to your vet for a checkup. With that said, stay with the same vet so that all your cat’s medical records, vaccinations and treatments for injuries can be referred to by the same veterinary professional. Your vet will examine Fifi’s teeth, gums, ears, eyes, skin and coat. She will also be weighed and blood work will be drawn. A fecal sample will be taken to check for intestinal parasites and any additional vaccinations that may be required will be given. In case of any emergency involving your new cat, timing is always important. Never hesitate to bring your feline to the emergency veterinarian which is open at all hours!
Caring For Your Adult Cat
When bringing your cat back home with you, you will need to transport him in a cat carrier. Open windows pose a danger in an apartment, as does leaving your cat unsupervised outdoors. All cats enjoy basking in the sun and playing with other cats or people every day. These interactions are important for socialization. Cats should never be overwhelmed by loud noises or people. Teach your family how to behave appropriately around Fifi, gently grooming her and calmly stroking her. If you want your cat to be calm you will need to create a calm home environment.
Limit all new experiences for Fifi in the first couple of days after arriving home. Ensure that your cat knows where her area is and place her bed there. You may also place her food, water and litter box nearby for the first few days until she settles down. Cats may hide or act terribly shy for the first few weeks until they’ve adjusted to their new homes.
If you have dogs at home, don’t be reluctant to introduce them slowly. If your adult cat has been around dogs before, both species may develop a great friendship pending on their temperament. Never allow for your dog to chase your new cat. Use the distraction method for Fido, and keep in mind that punishment should never be the end result, only positive training with plenty of scrumptious rewards!
Cats need regular brushing and sometimes an occasional bath. Grooming your cat is vital for good health. Brushing enables pet parents to feel for lumps, sores and to possibly detect parasites. By frequently grooming your feline, you can remove excess hair before it’s shed, and before its ingested by your furry best friend. Daily grooming helps with bonding! Long- haired cats will naturally need more combing. Nonetheless, cats wash themselves with their tongues many times a day. This also keeps their coat shiny and healthy.
Altered cats make for better furry best friends. It’s best to either spay or neuter your new cat. There are plenty of free or low- cost veterinary clinics. Female cats should be spayed between 5 to 6 months of age. Male cats should be neutered at around 6 months of age. If your older cat has not been neutered or spayed, it’s advisable to do so as soon as possible. Having your cat altered will prevent your cat from wandering in search of a female. It also prevents spraying by females. Consult with your veterinarian with regards to all your furry best friend’s health and wellness issues.
House Training Your Older Feline
As cat parents we have to encourage and reward desirable behaviors, With that said, house training an older cat does not have to be difficult. Instead, it can be extremely easy with positive training and the clicker. All cats need to be litter box trained. This can be done within a short amount of time with positive training and your cat’s favorite treats.
Avoiding Punishment and Reprimands
Any form of punishment should be avoided at all times. It does not prevent undesired potty behavior. Research has shown that harsh punishment may even be counterproductive, and sometimes tends to increase unwanted feline behavior, or even start up another unwanted behavior.
Male cats tend to come down with bladder infections. If your feline seems distressed when trying to urinate, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Bladder infections cause small amounts of urine to be excreted. Your furry best friend may be straining to urinate. If not treated immediately, your cat could develop a serious urinary blockage that could be fatal within hours. Often times bladder infections are confused with bad litter box habits. Take your cat to the vet if you see changes in his litter box habits.
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Text and Image Copyright © 2018 by Claudia Bensimoun