Housing and Enrichment
Cats are clean and tidy animals that don’t need a lot of space to live a happy life. They enjoy being pet, stroked and playing with their human owner as much as they love being independent by playing by themselves or simply just sleeping the day away. Cat’s exercise themselves through play and can endure being alone for long periods of time due to this independency.
Cats can be kept inside, outside or both. Most are generally housed inside so they don’t endanger themselves or harm the wildlife. There are many bedding choices to choose from including padded beds, hammocks, igloos and even play structures with scratching posts attached. Whether they be outside, inside or both they all need access to plenty of fresh water and shade. Cats that have access to both could have a cat-flap to allow them to come and go as they please. Otherwise you may just like to let them in and out yourself. Cat enclosures or ‘catios’ are another great invention that allow the cats to be outside but not be endangered or harm wildlife.
Litter trays to allow the cat to toilet should be placed away from their sleeping spots and bedding, along with food and water bowls. Cats generally do not appreciate if their toileting tray is right next to the bed they sleep in or the food they enjoy munching on so be considerate! The amount of litter trays does tend to depend on the amount of cat’s you have and/or their behavioral needs. As a general rule of thumb, cats require one litter tray per cat plus one.
Scratching posts are a must, unless you don’t mind your couch or curtains to be used instead! Cats need to sharpen their claws for climbing and defense. They also anchor their claws to enable a good stretch. In the wild they would resort to using trees, logs and even stone to keep them in immaculate condition. However the household cat is more likely to end up using your couch, curtains, carpet and other inappropriate materials that you would rather not like to see be destroyed. Cats can be taught to use scratching posts and they come in a vast variety! Multi-level structures as mentioned previously, provide the cat with different platforms to admire their surroundings. Cats also feel much safer at a higher level. Boxes or shelving can even be used to achieve this so it does not have to be an expensive purchase.
Toys provide many purposes for the cat; they help relieve boredom, exercise the jaw, assist in preventing certain behavioral conditions, provide mental stimulation, enjoyment and exercise through running, jumping and chasing. In the wild cats are very successful hunters, their techniques are passed down to the household cat and this instinctive behavior is shown through stalking, catching and then playing with toys. Therefore care must be taken when selecting toys, lighter toys are excellent for the cat to throw into the air before catching (which stimulates their instinct of catching birds out of the air) and toys that are featured on string which is attached to a rod can be used in different ways to stimulate the cat into different activities.
Although more vital for cat breeds with long hair, brushing removes loose hair and dirt along with encouraging the natural oils in their skin to promote a healthy and shiny coat. Brushes and combs come in a wide variety of different bristle lengths and strengths, shapes and sizes.
Bristle Brush – For brushing long, silky coats. Removes loose hair and promotes a shiny coat.
Slicker Brush – For separating mats in long coats.
Rubber Brush – For removing dust, dirt and loose hair.
FURminator – For de-shedding the undercoat.
Matt Comb – For cutting through matts without destroying the coat.
Molting Comb – For removing the undercoat.
Transport and Relocation
Moving can be a stressful experience for both you and your pet! When introducing a kitten into a new environment all members of the need to know and understand how to care for him/her. The main carer should be chosen as they should be responsible for the feeding, training etc. House rules should be put down and made sure that they will be implemented to ensure everyone is on the same page. If this is discussed and worked out before the arrival of the kitten there will be less confusion and lack of direction for him/her.
Supplies should be pre-purchased and set-up prior to the kitten’s arrival. This should include having:
- Appropriate Food
- Food and Water Bowls – Can be made of plastic, stainless steel and even ceramic. They can be lightweight and inexpensive but it is important to note that plastic bowls can be chewed and scratched. Different bowls are designed for different reasons.
- Scratching Poles
- Litter Tray, Litter and Scoop
It is ideal to have a room set up and prepared for the kitten. This is so the whole run of the house initially isn’t so overwhelming and scary. The room should be relatively quiet with minimal traffic and along with being escape proof the room should have hidey-holes and dark spots for them to feel safe. All cats are different to how they settle into their new environment. Some are accepting straight away where as others take a little longer to work things out and feel secure enough. They may even take a couple of days to completely settle! Always check that he/she is still eating and drinking and if they ae not and not wanting to make any interactions with you it is best to seek veterinary attention.
Once the kitten is showing more signs of being settled such as exploring and wanting to interact with you or play with toys the kitten can be introduced to the rest of the house by leaving the door open. This allows the kitten to pace themselves and explore by itself.