Cats have a well-deserved reputation for being independent, self-reliant animals. That’s one of the reasons they make such good pets and why so many people enjoy being cat owners. After all, there are more than 90 million pet cats in the United States today. However, it’s a mistake to assume that cats don’t need regular care or that owners don’t need to observe good care habits right from the beginning. If you’re a cat owner or considering getting a cat, take note of the following important points for raising a healthy cat.
The tendency to think of cats as “user-friendly” pets who are self-sufficient can lead pet owners into many different mistakes. Some just dump dry food into a pet dish assuming it’s okay to leave it at that, only to wind up with an obese and unhealthy animal on their hands. It’s important to remember that meat is the foundation of a cat’s diet and should be included on a regular basis in moderate amounts. Dry food is high in carbohydrates and may be unhealthy for cats in large amounts (some cats can even develop diabetes), so consider incorporating organic foods to help your kitty maintain a healthy balance.
Cats are famous for doing their own grooming, which is enough to make them the pet of choice for many people. However, it’s still necessary to brush a cat regularly to minimize loose hair, which also helps keep the hairballs, those nasty build-ups of hair in the digestive tract, under control. Use a small brush with bristles that aren’t too stiff or hard, and brush gently. Your cat may really enjoy the sensation, which will make your job a lot easier. If not, try brushing your pet before treat time every day to associate it with something pleasant. Getting rid of loose hair before it builds up and becomes a problem can also help mitigate household allergens.
Cats are usually very good about using a litter box, which is a good thing, as few things are as smelly as cat urine. If you have one cat, one litter box should be enough. If you have three, for example, make sure to set up at least three litter boxes. Avoid putting a cover on a litter box; cats want to be able to see what’s going on around them while in such a vulnerable position. And resist the temptation to shove a litter box in a deep, dark corner or putting one in a room with difficult or restricted access. If you have a cat that’s started urinating outside the litter box but you don’t know why, consult your veterinarian.
There are different views on whether to have a cat declawed. Many owners do it to protect their furniture from being used as an expensive scratching post. If you’re worried that your pet will shred your living room, be aware that a scratching post can be an effective solution, one capable of keeping your cat’s attention away from grandma’s vintage loveseat. Many cat owners fail to set up a scratching post properly, choosing to keep it in a spot that your cat may not be willing to go. Put your cat’s post in a central location and sprinkle catnip on it to get your cat engaged.
Despite their reputation, cats are loving, social pets who need regular care and attention. Like all animals, they require a balanced, healthy diet and regular grooming. Establishing good care habits right away is essential to ensure your cat lives a long, happy, and healthy life.
By Jessica Brody, Kitty Kasa guest blogger:
Jessica is a dog lover and creator of OurBestFriends.pet. She created the site to offer a place for animal lovers to share their favorite pet photos and stories about their furry pals. Jessica believes dogs are the best creatures on earth. She enjoys writing about and sharing photos of dogs (and other pets!) on her website.