I've been a cat owner for many years, over 20 years in fact. Because of my experience with cats, and from what I have learned from my vet, I thought it would be helpful for others to share what I have learned.
Some cat owners have questions about their new pets. Others may wonder about things before they get a pet. Being a responsible cat owner is a commitment. He or she will depend on you to provide them with the best care you can, and of course love and affection.
What Table Foods Can Cats Eat?
Should you feed your cat scraps from the table? For the most part, it's best that you don't, for a couple of reasons. The first is, if you feed a cat table food they may not eat much of their regular cat food, which is necessary for them to have proper nutrition.
Also, some table food may even be toxic for them. Even if not actually poisonous, with different seasonings that we use it may upset the cat's stomach and make them vomit.
Another point to be made is that if you start this habit, it will be hard to break. You probably don't want your cat to be hanging around the dinner table waiting for scraps, especially if you have company.
What Should you feed your feline friend?
Dry Food or Wet Food?
It seems that even among vets, there is disagreement as to whether or not you should feed your cat dry or wet food. I have fed my cats only dry food since they became adults. The only exception was if they became ill.
Dry food is good for your cat's teeth, since they have to chew more. In addition, it usually provides more fiber, which is as important for cats as it is for people. If you do want to feed your cat wet food, I recommend adding some dry from time to time for these reasons.
Cats do love the wet food and I think it is the smell that attracts them.
As for how often you should feed, a kitten will need about four feedings a day, gradually decreasing that to eventually twice a day. An adult cat usually needs food twice a day. However, if your cat has no weight problems, you may choose to keep dry food in the dish all the time for the pet to nibble on whenever he or she wants it. Freshwater should always be available.
Can I Let My Cat Outside?
Whether you should let your cat outside or keep them as an indoor pet depends partly on a few factors. One of the most important is where you live. If you are in a rural area, and there is little risk of the cat being hit by a car, stolen from someone or other potential problems, then you may want to let them outside.
However, if you are in a busy neighbourhood, your cat is under much more risk when they are outside. They not only may be hit by cars, but may get in fights with other animals, and are more likely to get certain diseases. An outdoor cat needs to have rabies shots and other vaccinations that are not necessary for those who remain in the home.
To be on the safe side you can take her out using cat harness and leash, this way you will keep the cat in close proximity to you while also allowing it to move freely.
If you keep the cat indoors, he or she still needs exercise, and toys and stimulation should be provided for them. My own cat has never had any interest in going outside, but she does love to look out the window.
Exercise and play
Just like people, cats need exercise. If your cat is indoors you can help them remain active and get exercise with toys, and if you are in a house, putting the litter box downstairs. Some people love to give their cats a catnip toy. Cats will always act funny after getting some catnip, but it's debatable as to whether or not it's a good thing.
Your cat should have toys though for stimulation and exercise (Buy her "The world's smartest cat ball toy"). You will want to be sure the toys don't have pieces the pet can chew and end up choking on. Cats can get bored too!
How often should your pet go to the vet?
How often do you take your cat to the vet will depend partly on the pet's age, condition and other factors. As I've previously mentioned, cats that go outdoors need more vaccinations than indoor cats. Generally it is recommended that cats get vaccines every year, however, if your cat is still fairly young and in good health, male cat or female cat may not need them quite that often. Of course, any serious health problem should mean taking your cat to the vet for assessment and treatment.
Vet care and hospitalization can be very expensive. Feeding your cat a healthy diet, and ensuring the pet gets exercise will help prevent illnesses and diseases, as well as keeping the cat at a good weight. It's the same as with people...... prevention will go a long way to helping your cat live a long and healthy life.
Caring for cat's nails
As every cat owner finds out, cats like to scratch, and their nails need to be kept short or else they damage furniture, plus their nails can hurt us. If you are going to cut your cat's nails yourself, be very careful not to cut too close to the quick.
This is the reddened area you will see that contains the blood vessels. Until he or she gets used to it, you may find it easier for one person to hold the cat while the other does the cutting. Other products on the market such as Pedipaws may make it easier for you.
Scratching posts give your cat an opportunity to scratch, and cat trees also allow them exercise and to climb, which a cat loves to do.
Should I Get a Second Cat?
If you already have one cat, should you get another and why you should think twice before adopting a cat.
If you have one cat, you may be wondering if it's a good idea to get a companion for him or her. If you are considering this, there are a few things you should know.
Don't expect them to be friends right away. It may take a week, a month, or even longer. Usually a week or so is average. It's likely you will have to keep them separated at first, especially if you are going to be out. Don't try and force the cats to interact with each other. It's better to let them get used to each other on their own time.
Also, although cats and dogs are supposed to be enemies, many people have successfully had a dog and a cat together. As with two cats, you need to give them time to adjust.
Some cats seem fine with their own company, and others don't like to be alone. If your cat is a loner type personality, and doesn't demand a lot of your time, chances are he or she is fine being alone when you are out. If the cat is clingy, or seems to need a lot of affection, they likely would benefit from having another pet around.