Cats can make excellent companions and are wonderful pets. With an average life span ranging from 15-20 years, owning a cat is a long-term commitment but one that can bring joy and friendship.
Before you bring your cat or kitten home, contact your local council to enquire about its regulations regarding such things as registration, 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.
Whether bringing a new kitten into your home, or you already look after several cats, the follow contains general advice for sharing your house with cats:
- Housing: Cats often like to sleep in places that are either high up or small and dark. Provide several areas where your cat can relax, and see which places they prefer. If you have several cats in the house, making sure there are lots of choices for them will help reduce stress. Since cats that can't wander do tend to live longer, healthier lives, we do recommend confining your cat. For cats that do enjoy the outdoors, outdoor enclosures are continuing to improve and are a great option to protect your cat from traffic, cat fights, and snake bites, as well as protecting your local wildlife.
- Feeding: Cats need a good-quality, high protein and high fat diet to get all their daily requirements. At least some dry food each day is recommended to help reduce dental disease. Cats cannot be fed a vegetarian diet - there are certain nutrients they require that are only found in meat. Your veterinarian can help you select the best diet for your cat.
- Litter Training: Cats are generally easy to train to use a litter tray, since they want to stay clean. However, cats can also be quite picky with their litter tray - make sure it is always kept clean so they don't feel the need to toilet elsewhere. Having a separate litter tray for each cat plus a spare tray will also encourage them to use the trays. Spread these trays around in quiet, private areas away from where they eat and sleep. Not using a litter tray may be the first sign that your cat is ill or stressed, so seek veterinary help if this occurs.
- Health Check: Organise a health check for any new cats in your house. Your new addition will be thoroughly checked over, and you can also discuss any concerns or questions you may have with your veterinarian. Any vaccinations, worming or flea treatments, or microchipping required can be given at this visit.
- Microchipping: It will soon be a legal requirement for all cats to be microchipped. However, microchipping is also important as it is the only way to permanently identify your cat so it can be returned to you if it is found wandering.
- Scratching: Scratching is normal behaviour for cats as a way to maintain their nails and to mark their territory. However, this behaviour can become difficult to live with if they are destroying your nice furniture. Training your cats to use scratching posts or boards will help redirect this behaviour and protect your furniture. If your cats are only indoors or in outdoor enclosures, regular nail clips by your veterinary nurse will also help.
- Entertainment: Although cats like to sleep alot, they also need to have exercise and play time. Some cats can be trained to walk on a harness, and enjoy going for walks with you. Others enjoy play sessions at home, especially games in which they can use their hunting skills to stalk and pounce on toys. And some cats will also enjoy treat-filled toys where they need to get the food out of the toy. Climbing frames and obstacle courses also keep them occupied exploring their environment.
- Grooming: Many cats enjoy you brushing them to remove old hairs, and this helps reduce hairballs and matting of the fur. If you find mats that cannot be brushed out, your vet clinic can help clip these out.
Please call or make a booking if you have any questions about maintaining your cat in optimal mental and physical health.