Taking care of cats is not an easy task. But one thing is sure – the right and proper care will give your cat a long and healthy life.
Most cat owners make a common mistake – they wait for their cats to get sick before taking care of them. Sadly, this will make you spend more as a cat owner.
Here in this article, we have shared some tips on how to take care of a cat. If you are in a hurry, you can check the following infographic for a quick viewing.
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1. Things You Should Consider Before Adopting A Cat
Decide If You Want A Kitten or Full-Grown Cat
This is one crucial thing you need to consider before you adopt a cat. Do I need a baby kitty or a full grown?
Generally, most people love kittens, their large eyes, oversized ears, playfulness, chasing, pouncing and its cute look, are some of the things people love about kittens. But having a kitten comes with a lot of work.
However, full grown cats are friendly and most times are happy to find a new home. Most fully-grown cats can quickly adapt to a new home. And can be groomed to a litter box.
In my opinion, if you are 60 years and above, a full-grown cat would be an excellent choice. They will make a good companion help you maintain a serenity lifestyle you are already used to.
However, if you are younger with school-age kids, a kitten would be great for you. Such kitten will always grow up with your children.
Consider Adopting A Cat from An Animal Shelter – A friend or A Stray
You should consider adopting a cat from an animal shelter. It is more cost effective when you get a cat from such a place.
Some people have the misconception that shelter cats are problem cats. But this is not true. Most cats are in animal shelters due to lifestyle changes from their former owners.
For instance, some people give up their cats when they have a new baby, or because their spouses are allergic to cats.
However, you can always talk to adoption counsellors. They will be able to match you with the right cat.
Consider the Amount of Time You Have For A Cat
Having a cat takes a lifetime commitment. Some cats can live up to 13 to 20 years. So, you must have quality time to take care of your cat.
Don’t forget that you have to keep your cat’s litter box clean at all time. There is no way your cat will use a messy litter box.
If you have enough time for a cat, adopting a cat is a great decision. Otherwise, you should have a rethink.
I never knew cats needed much attention until I adopted Fred (my lovely cat). I had to feed him twice a day. I gave him at least one hour of my time every day for grooming, exercising, and playing. I ended up adjusting my lifestyle accordingly.
The hard truth is this – if you travel a lot, have a serious obligation at work, or a great social lifestyle, you probably won’t be able to meet up with needs of caring for a cat.
Does the Cat Match Your Lifestyle?
You need to adopt a cat that fits your lifestyle. Here, you will look at personality, their hair types, and other things you love in a cat.
If you are the type that like cats with long hair, it wouldn’t be great to adopt the one that has short hair. Other factors you should look at are vocalisation and genetics.
Take the Cat for Checkup and Immunization Before You Bring It Home
I think this is the most important thing you should do before adopting a cat. It is a great idea to take your newly adopted cat for veterinary examination before bringing it home.
The essence of the examination is to ensure that your new cat is healthy. And if it has any medical issue, the veterinarian can address it before you bring it home.
Also, your veterinarian can decide to administer vaccines and parasite preventatives to protect your cat from preventable illness.
Consider the Medical Concern That May Come with A Specific Cat
Some cats come with some medical concerns. You have to consider these medical issues before adopting. This is why medical checkup is essential.
Some cats in animal shelters may have Upper Respiratory Infections (URI), Feline Panleukopenia Virus, Intestinal Parasite, Ringworm, etc.
If the medical issues with the cat you want to adopt are not something you can cope with, it is better you take another one.
Calculate Whether You Can Afford A Cat
Adopting a cat is awesome. But don’t forget that it comes with added expenses.
Before you adopt a cat, ensure you have enough money for healthy food, routine veterinary care, licensing depending on local regulation, collar, and identification tags, and unexpected costs.
Ensure you have the financial wherewithal to meet a cat’s feeding, health, and social needs. Otherwise, you don’t have a business adopting a cat.
2.Preparation for Adopting A Cat
After you finally make up your mind to adopt a cat, you have to start making the necessary preparations. Below are some of the things you need to do.
Choose A Quiet Place for Your New Cat as His Own Little Safe Haven
Cats love their own space. So, you have to prepare a safe room for your new cat in your home.
This will give a sense of safety and serenity to the cat, while it familiarizes itself with the scents and sounds of your home.
The size of the safe room is not too important. But it should have a secure door and ceiling. Also, ensure that there is enough food, water, and litter in the safe room.
Look for Holes or Registers That Leave Ductwork Accessible and Cover Them
From experience, cats love playing around ductwork. So, try to cover holes or registers that leave your home ductwork accessible.
It is not a good idea if your cats have access to ductwork, they could damage the seal break. When this happens, there will be a drop in the heating and cooling as well as a rise in the utility bill.
Set Up A Feeding Station with Food and Water Bowls
Every cat needs a feeding station. This is because they are solitary hunters and eaters. They love their privacy and want it to be in their own space.
However, when you are setting up a feeding station, ensure you include food and water bowls. As a rule, an ideal food station should be accessible, big enough to harbour your cat in harsh condition and waterproof.
Ensure you provide water every day and maintain a regular routine.
Litter box is an important consideration when you are preparing to adopt a cat. It helps to mimic a cat natural bathroom environment.
You have to consider where you will place your litter box, the quantities you need, and the type you are buying.
Although the quantities and types of litter box you are buying depends on the number of cats you are adopting and their ages.
In all, it is better to get a convention non-clumping clay litter. They are absorbent and doesn’t track onto the floor easily. And they are reputable for preventing odours.
You don’t need to train a cat to pick the food. This is because cats are always instinctual towards them. But you still need to help your new cat adjust to litter the box.
Position the litter box in a place that is readily accessible but private to your pets.
It is a known fact that cats have a natural urge to scratch. It helps them to remove old materials from their claws. They also scratch to mark territory with scent glands in their paws.
So, as part of the effort to make your home comfortable for the new cat, you need a scratching post. It is a wooden post covered in rough materials. And it enables the cat to have an acceptable place to scratch.
With a scratching post, your new cat will have something to provide her with vigorous activities. It enables cats to adjust to a new environment quickly. And you are less likely to witness any of cat’s exhibit when they are in a different environment.
Also, your furniture will be safe from scratching as post diverts cat’s attention from clawing your expensive furniture.
A cat carrier is used to safely transport your cat when you are going out with it. And most times, cats don’t like it when you expose them to uncomfortable and new environments.
So, you need to introduce your newly adopted cat to a carrier before using it. This will work with any cat’s natural instinct and make the experience very easy.
Below are some tips to familiarise your cat with the carrier
- Place the carrier in a place your cat likes to be. It could be in the sun or any other location, depending on the cat’s preference.
- Put a soft towel in the bottom of the carrier. This will make it very comfortable (Don’t forget that cat loves comfort)
- Place some few things your cat like inside the carrier. This will attract it to the carrier always.
- Calm your cat with a Pheromone Spray.
- Always leave the carrier’s door open, this will give your cats some sense of comfort whenever they use it.
When you apply the tips above, your cats are likely to be familiar with pick the food.
Introduce New Cats to Other Pets
When you bring your newly adopted cat home, you should introduce it to other pets in the house. Bear in mind that cats are independent; they have the tendency of being anti-social and unpredictable.
So, you have to be very patient, understanding, and approach with care when you are introducing new cats to other pets.
With a pick the food, there is going to be a good relationship between all the animals under your roof.
3.House Training Cat
When you bring your new cat home, it has to undergo some training. With this training, your cat will know its limit. Below are the areas of focus when house training your new cat.
Discourage the Cat from Exploring Forbidden Surface
It is natural for cats to seek high vantage points to survey their territory. Sometimes, they tend to jump on kitchen counters, coffee tables, night stands, etc. Trust me, this can be very annoying.
But it is a distinctive behaviour among cats, and you can discourage your cat from jumping and exploring forbidden areas.
Let them know that counters are forbidden surface, and provide alternatives to satisfy their climbing instinct.
Also, make forbidden areas less tempting to cats. You can do this by removing all human food from the counter and feed your cat more frequently.
Consider Using Feline Pheromone Products
When you are house training a newly adopted cat, feline Pheromone products are often recommended. These products will help to make your cat behave the way you want and relief any stress it is passing through.
Cats are instinctual and sensitive. When you try to alter their routine unnecessarily, it can lead to a host of unwanted behaviour.
But pheromone products help to calm your cat and make them behave the way you want. These products could be spray, diffusers, plug-in, wipes, and collars.
Feeding is an essential aspect of cat care. You have to ensure that your cats get the right nutritional content in their food. This will help them to stay healthy.
When it comes to feeding your cat, you must pay keen attention to the following.
Decide What Type of Food to Feed Your Cat
It is not easy for new cat owners to pick the food for their felines. And don’t forget that the right food will always make your cat happy and healthy.
I would advise you to pick the food for your new cat based on the ingredients contained in it. You can also consider the type of food, the age of your cat as well as its allergy reaction.
Choose A Good Brand of Cat Food
When it comes to feeding your cat, you must be very careful. You don’t just pick a brand of cat food because it is cheap. In fact, it is better you avoid brands that are not popular or too cheap.
When choosing a brand, you should look at the following; the meat content, if the brand meets the dietary needs of your cat and vet advice.
Don’t Overfeed Your Cat
Don’t make the mistake of overfeeding your cat. In fact, develop a feeding schedule, this will help to control its feeding habit.
When you overfeed your cats, you are exposing them to a serious health condition. And cats are often unhappy when they are overfed.
You need to groom your cats once in a while. This helps to prevent the formation of hairballs and stimulates oil production for shiny skin.
Brush Your Cat Depending on Its Coat Need
If your cat has short hair, use a fine-toothed flea/tick comb; bristle brush, damp cotton or rubber glove, and grooming pad to groom it once in a week.
As a rule, ensure your cat is relaxed when doing this. Use the flea comb to check if there is any flea dirt.
Also, if your cat has long hair, you will need to groom it once in a day. The equipment to use is a wide-toothed comb and grooming pad.
6.Keeping Cat Healthy
The health of your cat should be your primary concern. A healthy cat gives you less problem. Below are tips to keep your cat healthy.
- Always check your cat skin for conditions like fleas or other parasites.
- Schedule an annual visit to a vet. But if you have a kitten, you need to visit the vet more often.
- Don’t forget to spay or neuter your cat.
- Try to make your home natural to your cat. If possible, get a climbing tree to satisfy its climbing instinct.
- Get pet insurance for your cat.
Summing it up
Before you think of adopting, you should first learn how to take care of a cat. Even though some people believe that cats have nine lives, it is only the right care that will make your cat live a long and healthy life.