The Happy Cat
Helpful Tips for Kitty Bliss!
Cats are unique creatures. In fact, I feel each cat has a unique personality. If you have ever lived with a cat, you know what I mean. I “sold” the idea of my newest cat, Luna, to my wife by explaining that she would be a wonderful lap cat.
Luna proved me wrong.
Because of her independent personality, she will only occasionally lie on one’s chest. We still love her high energy nature, though!
Regardless of their varying personalities, there are basic needs that all cats have. If these needs are met, it will help ensure a wonderful relationship between you and your cat.
Food and Water
Talk with your veterinarian about dietary choices for your cat or kitten. Recommendations pertaining to diet have changed since I first became a veterinarian. There has been a shift in recommendations from 100% dry kibble foods to higher protein, lower carbohydrate and canned diets.
When it comes to food, keep in mind that cats are not small dogs. Their carnivorous digestive systems have different requirements. In nature, felines will eat a meat-based, high-protein and moist, low carbohydrate diet. Cats have a low thirst drive as well, but felines in a natural setting have prey that is near 70 percent water. I believe some of the medical problems I see, such as urinary tract issues, could be avoided just by feeding the cat a higher moisture canned food.
To help avoid inappropriate elimination problems, review some basic litter box recommendations before even considering a cat.
The common rule is at least one litter box per cat. Some cats do not like to share. It’s also important to keep the box clean.
I believe cats prefer to use a clumping type litter. Scoop the box out once to twice a day. Dump and wash out the box about once a week.
Size does matter with litter boxes. I recommend that the larger the box, the better. Also, I do not suggest a covered box. I know it helps with keeping the scattering of litter to a minimum, but it’s not natural for a cat to climb into a small covered area to eliminate.
Finally, find a low-traffic, quiet area for the box. Cats do not like to be startled while eliminating.
A common reason for cats to lose their homes is destructive clawing. Be prepared before that new cat comes home.
Learn ways to encourage a cat to scratch a certain area. You can start by encouraging them to use scratching posts, which can be done through the use of treats and catnip. Discourage furniture scratching with the application of foil, plastic, repellent sprays or double stick tape. Squirts from a water bottle may help as well. Other options to prevent damage to your furniture include nail trimming and the application of plastic caps called Soft Paws.
Declawing may be elected by those unable to train their cat. Discuss this procedure with a veterinarian.
Contact a veterinarian as soon as you acquire a cat. Preferably, the cat should be seen before having access to many areas of your home or to other cats you may already have. Parasite control and vaccinations should be updated as soon as possible. All new cats and kittens should be tested for Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency viruses.
Cats like to feel safe when sleeping. Try and provide a quiet and comfortable area for your cat to sleep. When I brought Luna home, her quiet spot was in the cat carrier on a soft blanket.
Do not forget to play with your cat daily. You may have to figure out what kind of toy your cat likes best. Both of my cats love a simple inexpensive toy called the Cat Dancer. It is basically a wire with cardboard pieces at the ends.
Do not let cats chew on string, yarn or thread-like material if not observed. This can lead to a life-threatening intestinal blockage if ingested.
Be sure to do your research before you bring a cat into your family. If you’re looking for more information about cats, check out this helpful website: indoorpet.osu.edu