domesticcatAre you a cat fancier?  Those of us who are know that we are a different breed of animal lover! We know our feline friend is fiercely independent and some even consider cats to be aloof and downright cold! But we know this is far from the truth! Cats will convince you they are self-sustaining and low maintenance, but the truth is that cats really do count on us to provide them with food, water, safe shelter, veterinary care, a clean litter box, toys, entertainment, and lots and lots of love! Take care of these essentials, and you’ll develop a rewarding relationship with your fury feline companion. Most importantly, make sure you have the funds available to care for your pet cat properly. Cats are less expensive to care for than dogs, but they still do require your help in order to make them happy and healthy.

Here are some handy tips to make your cat parenting experience a positive one:

Safety First:
Kitties are curious creatures, regardless of size, gender or breed! From the big cats to the domestic house cat, they love to get into things, so keep your cat safe by keeping him or her indoors, especially at night when other predatory animals can harm them. This doesn’t mean they can’t go outside or can’t be trained to come and go, but keeping them safely confined in the evenings or when you are not home is for their protection.

Fun Fact: Did you know? Cats can actually be walked on a harness or a leash! Many people are unaware of this, but doing so is great for the both of you. It can create a bond between the both of you, while creating a safety net to protect kitty against the elements!

Here are some other ways to keep your cat safe and secure:

* Always use a cat carrier when transporting your cat. It is protection for the both of you.
* Make certain that all windows are securely screened.
* Keep the washer and dryer closed, and check inside before each use! Why? Because some cats like to climb in these appliances if they’re left open, and this can be very dangerous for them.
* Get into the habit of ensuring that drawers, closets, and cupboards are uninhabited before you close them—a kitty may be lurking inside.

Collar and ID:
Just like you would with a dog, it is a great idea to outfit your cat with a breakaway collar and visible ID that includes your name, address, and telephone number. Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, there’s always a chance she may slip out the door. Your cat is more likely to get home safely if she has a collar and ID. It’s also a good idea to comply with any local cat licensing laws.

Veterinary Care:
It is very important to take your cat to the veterinarian for regular check-ups and vaccinations. If you don’t have a veterinarian, ask your local animal shelter, rescue group, or a pet-owning friend for a referral. Medical care is as essential for your cat as it is for you. If you are having trouble affording veterinary care, we offer some helpful information and resources on financial assistance and pet insurances that might be helpful for you.

If you already have dogs or cats at home, make sure they are up-to-date on their shots and in good general health before you introduce your new cat!

Spaying and neutering your cat will keep him healthier and help decrease the number of cats euthanized every year because of cat overpopulation. If you can’t afford the operation, look into low-cost options.

Proper Diet:
Feed your cat a nutritionally balanced diet and provide fresh water 24/7. Also be sure to educate yourself on your cat’s nutritional needs or ask your veterinarian for advice on what and how often to feed your pet.

Keep the Litter Box Clean for Your Kitty:
Just like us humans, cats are civilized and naturally clean! Most will instinctively use a litter box, which is pretty incredible. You simply have to show your cat where it is and set some hygienic rules for the cat to get into the habit of. DON’T just throw your cat into the box and make little scratching motions with her front paws. This will probably upset your cat and may make her leery of the box! Sit with your cat and show him or her the box. Nicely show them the sand and let them investigate. Because cats also value privacy, place the litter box in a convenient but quiet spot. Be sure to scoop the box at least once daily and periodically wash it out regularly with soap and water. You can wash the box like twice a month, but be sure to pick up and discard the poopies on a daily basis. There are countless types of kitty litter and boxes to choose from. Be sure to check out our shopping and resources section for details.

Grooming is Critical:
All cats, whether long- or short-haired, should be brushed regularly to keep their coats and skin healthy, prevent matting, and reduce shedding and hairballs. They also need to have their claws clipped to keep them from growing into their paws. Grooming is a good opportunity to discover any lumps, fleas, injuries, etc., and to bond with your kitty. If you want to find a groomer, there is an abundance of advice to turn to for help. Many local pet stores have a grooming center. It would be a great idea to visit a local groomer to ask questions and get pricing.

Cats Just Want to Have Fun!
Make sure you set time aside to play with your kitty and provide entertainment for them. Cats often entertain themselves, but regular play sessions with your pet will provide her with the physical and mental stimulation she needs and strengthen the bond you share. Be sure to give him or her toys and scratching posts to distract her from your household goods. Cats really do love to play and will appreciate simple and inexpensive toys. Ping-Pong balls and opened paper bags (remove the handles) can provide hours of fun. A comfortable perch by a window can become your cat’s very own entertainment and relaxation center. Rotate toys to maintain your cat’s interest in them.

If your pocket book permits, you might want to invest in a kitty condo or cat tree—a structure typically covered in carpet or sisal (a rough material cats love to scratch) where your cat can climb, stretch, and hide to her heart’s content while watching the world go by. You can find some really affordable deals on these items by checking your local pet stores or checking online.

Fun Fact: Did you Know? The best three things you can give your cat are love, good food and playtime!

Teach Your Feline Friend the Ropes in Your Home:
Provide your cat with some basic training to help him get along in your household. It’s true that cats usually have their own ideas about how to do things. Even so, a positive approach can teach most cats not to scratch the couch, eat plants, or jump up on the kitchen counter. With repeated, gentle, and consistent training, your cat will learn the house rules. Remember, don’t yell or hit your cat. This will not train them. All it will do is scare them. It’s all about consistency and gentle repetition.

Cats can be a rewarding pet to have in your home. Treat your kitty right and you will be pleasantly surprised just how loving, warm and affection he or she can be. As with any pet, they become a part of your family. Treat all pets with dignity and respect, just like you would like others to treat you 🙂