If you own a pet, you know how rewarding that experience can be. Pets become like family and making the decision to have a pet is a big commitment on the part of any family. It’s a commitment because it requires time and effort on the part of a human to provide the proper care that all pets deserve. While it may seem that dogs require more care than cats because they need regular exercise, cats actually require just as much care as their canine companions. There are a number of things to know when it comes to cat care basics, such as the best food for them, why they need to scratch and whether or not a cat should be groomed.
Nutrition and Food
The food you offer your cat is very important. While it’s not necessary to spend a fortune on cat food, you do want to find a high-quality food that contains taurine. Taurine is an essential amino acid that is important for eye and heart health in your cat. It’s always a good rule of thumb to avoid human food when it comes to feeding pets, including cats. There are many things that are healthy for humans that can be toxic to pets so sticking with your cat food and a few treats is safest. Various animal care organizations, such as the ASPCA provide excellent resources on cat nutrition. You can also reach out to vet for more information.
When it comes to keeping your cat safe, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you live in the city, whether a more urban setting or suburban, it’s best to keep your cat indoors. Why? Because there are a number of dangers that can harm your cat such as cars, predators or getting into fights with other cats just to name a few. Automobiles are a danger to all pets, but for cats, particularly those who like to hunt at night, cars pose a significant danger to cats prowling in the dark. Another outdoor danger for cats are predators such as racoons and coyotes. Yes, Coyotes can be found in suburban areas as well as rural areas. Outdoor cats also tend to get into fights with other cats which can cause injury in addition to making them more vulnerable to various diseases. In addition to predators and automobiles, most people don’t think about other things that can happen to outdoor cats such as getting trapped in sheds or garages for days at a time, stepping in anti-freeze and then licking their paws which can be deadly and finally, getting into the neighbor’s yard and wreaking havoc with plants, dogs and other things that can sometimes lead to cats being harmed just to keep them away. Cats who live in-doors tend to live several years longer than cats who are allowed to roam the neighborhoods. However, even if you do keep your cat inside, make sure to have proper identification on him with updated information on his collar or an implanted microchip should he get out and get lost.
The Litter Box
While most animals relieve themselves outside, cats use a litter box and they can tend to be rather picky about this. Cats do not like a messy litter box so scooping out the litter box at least once per day is essential and giving the litter box a thorough cleaning once a week and replacing with fresh litter will keep the odors at bay. If you live in a multi-level home, consider getting a litter box for each level. Also, if you find that you need to move your cat’s litter box to a different location, it’s best to move it a little each day as this will help your cat to gradually adjust to its new location.
Comfort for your Cat
Cats often have a reputation for being “picky” or “particular” and this may be so, however, like most animals, cats are creatures of habit and they enjoy their creature comforts just like everyone else. Make sure to provide a comfortable bed for your cat to sleep in and also provide your cat with a scratching post or a mat that will provide him with a place to scratch when he needs to do so. Believe it or not, cats need to scratch. Scratching helps to relieve stress or anxiety they might have, it also helps to keep their claws healthy. Their claws grow in layers like onions and scratching helps to slough off the dead outer layer. They also leave their scent behind when they scratch, marking their territory which makes the area familiar and comforting for them.
Cat Dental Requirements
Just like humans, cats mouths gather bacteria that can cause bad breathe and medical problems. Not only can poor oral health be harmful to your cat, it can also increase chance of infection if your cat bits someone. As a cat owner, you can brush your cat’s teeth with a normal toothbrush and toothpaste. Alternative solutions include taking your cat to a pet dentist, or to a cat groomer.
Professional Cat Grooming
Do I need to groom my cat? The short answer is Yes! Cats tend to be very clean animals and don’t typically require baths like dogs but they do need to be groomed. Grooming can consist of taking your cat to a groomer for brushing and nail clipping as well as taking care of other things such as ear wax or eye discharge, which happens to some. Grooming will help to kill fleas, eliminate dandruff, deodorize, correct bad breath and trim sharp nails. Grooming can also consist of brushing your cat regularly. Regular brushing will keep your cat’s coat clean and cut down on shedding, matting and hairballs. Cats lick themselves but they don’t groom themselves so it’s important that regular brushing and professional grooming from time to time is part of your cat’s routine. Here at Cascade Kennels we offer full service cat grooming done by our patient, experienced groomers.
While cats can be rather independent animals, it’s important that the basics of their care not be overlooked. If you’ve never owned a cat but have considered getting one, we hope you found this information helpful.