Cats can make excellent companions and are wonderful pets. However, with an average life span ranging from 15-20 years, owning a cat is a long-term commitment and their needs must be carefully considered.
Before you bring your cat or kitten home, contact your local council and enquire about its regulations regarding such things as night curfews, compulsory containment within a property, desexing and microchipping. Since regulations are currently changing, this is the best way to get up-to-date information.
A cat’s housing needs are simple. Whilst they will usually find a corner that suits them best indoors or outdoors, provide them with a basket, box or chair in a place where they feel safe and protected. Increasingly, people are using cat enclosures for outdoor cats. Placed in a weatherproof area, these enclosures keep your pets safe from traffic and neighbourhood cats, and protect your local wildlife. Indoor cats generally live longer and lead healthier lives than outdoor cats.
It is recommended that a scratching post be available for your cat to keep their claws in good condition for climbing and defending themselves. This will also reduce the chances of your furniture being scratched.
Cats like to be clean at all times. As a result, cats can easily be toilet trained if a litter tray filled with dry earth, sand, or cat litter is available. The litter tray should be cleaned daily to remove faeces and the litter itself changed frequently. Ensure the litter tray is placed in a quiet and private location. You may even need multiple trays if you have more than one pet cat. A good rule of thumb is one tray for each cat plus one extra.
All cats need to exercise. As cats naturally like climbing and perching themselves up high, trees and fences, for example, provide good opportunities for them if they have outdoor access. Indoor cats, however, will use furniture to climb and perch. Once again, having a scratch pole or indoor cat gym will give an indoor cat an effective alternative. Providing high perching locations will also give your cats a more stimulating environment.
Most cats require grooming assistance from their owners to remove excess hair. This helps in the reduction of furballs or hairballs and matted or tangled fur, which if left, may result in a visit to your vet. Except at moulting time, short haired cats are usually able to groom themselves adequately. In contrast, long haired cats require daily grooming by you to keep their coat smooth. Furballs or hairballs can cause vomiting, reduced appetite and weight loss, and in a worst case scenario, result in surgery. During the moulting season daily brushing is essential and food designed specifically to assist with the reduction of hairballs will also help your cat process the hair they swallow while grooming. Unlike dogs, you should not need to bathe a cat.
Cats require a high protein and fat diet. There are many formulations of cat food available and we recommend discussing your cat’s individual nutritional needs with your veterinarian to choose the most suitable formula. And don't forget about their teeth - you need to keep them chewing to keep the teeth clean.
Ensure a fresh water bowl is accessible at all times, especially if they have a dry food diet. Whilst many cats love to drink cow's milk, it's not recommended as they can be lactose intolerant and experience stomach upsets.
Cats require a minimum of one health check per year. Regular visits help diagnose, treat or even prevent health problems before they become life-threatening. Routine vaccinations, worming and flea control form the basics of feline medical care. Your veterinarian can also provide additional guidance on nutrition, behaviour, training and life-stage treatments available.
We welcome you to book an appointment to discuss how to keep your cat in optimum mental and physical health.