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What You Should Know Before You Get a Cat

Maybe you are like me; I grew up with birds, dogs, other animals around the house, but not cats. There came a day, though, when I decided to get a cat for some reasons that were decisive for me at the time: a cat was low maintenance, needed less attention than other pets, and it didn't need walking.
But I had never before come in close contact with a cat, so to be honest, I had no idea what I was supposed to do.

Here are some tips for you that I have learned from experience:

1. If you plan to get a kitten that is under 8 weeks, it will need special attention. The young kitten will eat milk from it's mother (not cow's milk), or you can get milk for kittens at your pet store; young kitties also need a very warm place to sleep in, like special beds;

2. The cat you got is older than 8-10 weeks? Than it will be a little bit easier. A young cat (under a year), needs to eat more than adult cats. So make sure you buy enough canned food to feed the cat several times a day; also buy dry food and alternate, or you can make the dry food available all the time; my cat loves canned meat, it will also eat dry food, but doesn't enjoy it as much;

3. Now that you bought enough food (buy around 25-30 cans to make sure it will last a week), buy a nice bowl for food and water. Also buy a litter box (there are many of them in stores, according to your budget you can buy a plain one, or even one that cleans itself, and traps the smells). Get liners for your litter box. and a big bag of litter (also a wide array of choices, from the regular litter, to the more expensive one that clumps and traps smells). My cat started using the litter box from day one (I was very happy about that), but if they are too young and don't know, don't worry, cats learn very fast how to use it. Clean the litter box every day by picking up the big dirty parts and change the litter and liners every 3 days or so;

4. OK, so now you have food, litter box, what else you need? You will need to keep your kitty clean. Buy a special kitty shampoo and a between bathing spray (it deodorizes and cleans the cat by spraying it on the coat, no need for bath). It's said you don't need to wash the cat if it's not dirty or if it's an indoor cat, but I like to wash mine approx. every two weeks. She doesn't like water, but got used to it now and takes it rather well. To keep my house clean, I bought a solid deodorizer for the litter box, an odor eliminator spray for fabrics, and also a carpet powder (or foam) to freshen it.

5. Keep your kitty happy! I bought mine a scratching post that she can climb, and tied at the top of it a toy and a bunch of strings. She enjoys jumping and playing with them. I also got her a nice, warm crib (that she doesn't use at all, she prefers a shoe box to sleep in); I had a few toys that were about her size, that she loves to wrestle; every time I go to the store to buy her food, I can't help buying her a new toy: she has toy mice, balls, feathered toys, toys that squeak, make noises, she has it all; she loves it when I throw her toys around and she runs after them; I also bought her a leash, a collar and a harness to walk her outside;

That is about all that a cat needs to be happy. Take it to the vet from time to time, and you too are in for a lot of fun!
So relax, it will be very easy to take care of your kitty, all you need is a little bit of preparation before you get a pet.

Cat Toy Suggestions

Cats are curious animals and often times their curiosity can lead to mischief. A bored cat will often look for things to peak their interest, unfortunately for cat owners this can lead to damaged sofas, broken glasses and other problems. A great way to keep your cat from damaging your household belongings is to keep them entertained. Here are a few toys which can help keep your cats off the couch and bookshelf.

When you become a cat owner, it is very easy to end up buying every new cat toy you see! There are hundreds of toys for cats on the market. Yet, some toys have added interest that will really keep your cat fascinated. Here is a guide to the best toys that I have found, which really work with my cats. They have lasting power as the cats have never tired of them.
A good scratching post is a worthwhile investment for cat owners. Not all scratching posts are the same, however. A scratching post that is covered in sisal works very well, preventing claws from getting snagged. Also, sisal is long lasting. An important aspect of a good scratching post is enough height for the cat to get a good stretch as he scratches. He should not tower over it but rather be able to reach up to it. A scratching post helps keep your cat's claws short and can save your upholstery, carpet and doors from scratching practice.

A hanging toy is great fun for cats. Again, not all hanging toys are the same. A soft toy that is attached with elasticated string works best because it provides the bounce back action that cats love. A tall scratching post that is enhanced with elastic string with a cloth mouse on the end makes a very popular toy. Be sure that the string is securely attached and keep an eye on your cat when he is playing with the toy to make sure that he does not pull off the string and try to swallow it.

If you are growing a bit tired of playing cat games, a toy that will save you energy is one that moves by itself. For instance, a small stuffed toy with a pull string that runs along the floor by itself will keep your cat enthralled. Again, make sure that your cat does not chew off or swallow parts of the toy.

Finally, cats love hiding. It's no surprise that a cat toy which consists of a cloth tube for the cat to crawl inside is very popular with my cats. The tube has several holes in the middle which serve as 'escape hatches'. The great thing about this cat toy is that it can be folded into a small disc for storage. Not everyone wants a six foot long 'cat tube' decorating their living room when guests are over.

Laser Pointer

Handheld laser pointers are often times not sold as cat toys, but that does not keep cats and their owners from enjoying them. Simply put, cats love to chase that little red light all around the room. Even better, playing with the laser pointer can be a lot of fun for the cat owner as well. Stand in the middle of the room and point the laser pointer to the ground. Get your cats attention by moving the beam in front of them and once they spot it move it around the room. Speed it up, slow it down, zig and zag it back and forth no matter what you do, you will have your cats full attention.

Cat Toy Wand

If you have ever tried to entertain your cat with a small toy there is a chance your hand suffered the consequences. Cat's nails if untrimmed can be extremely sharp and dangerous so a toy that allows you to play with your feline friend without putting your hand or other limbs at harm is a plus. Cat toy wands are similar to a fishing pole with a toy or other item tied to a long string at the end of the wand. Toys at the end of a toy wand typically include small stuffed animals, feathers, dangling strings or other cat favorites. The cat toy wands allow owners to play with their cat by swinging and sliding the toy while also playing tug of war.

Kitten Mitten

If your one of the many cat owners who often times find their feline companion sitting on their lap, a kitten mitten may be the perfect toy for you. Instead of seeing your hand get bitten and scratched, the kitten mitten provides you protection while also allowing you to play with your cat. The kitten mitten is a glove featuring long extended fingers with cotton ball tips. Owners can dazzle their cats by moving their fingers thanks to the re-enforced plastic rods that keep the fingers long and extended.

Catnip Toy

Its no secret cats love catnip, but instead of giving it to them directly or putting some in an old sock, there are a number of toys that hold a small amount of catnip and double as a favorite toy for your cat. The toys are typically a small mouse or other stuffed animal with a closeable slot for the catnip. They restrict the cat's access to open catnip while still providing the same draw. The draw of catnip toys also mean your cat will be prone to play with the toy without much other incentive an extra benefit for owners who are not able to fulfill their cats entertainment needs.

Train Your Cat To Use the Toilet

Are you tired of cleaning out litter boxes all the time? You don't have to! It is possible to actually train your cat to use the toilet using this very simple method. Once your cat is trained you won't have to smell litter boxes anymore!
The most important thing to remember when training your cat is that you must take it slow and you must do it step by step. You just make one small change at a time and wait for your cat to get used to it before moving on. If your cat uses the bathroom in the wrong place, this means that you are going too fast. Back up a few steps and try again, more slowly.

The first thing you must do is to keep the lid up on the toilet and the seat down. If you don't, then the cat won't be able to use the toilet. If you need to, you can write a note for yourself and for guests and leave it in the bathroom. Also make sure you leave the door to the bathroom open.

Start by moving the cat's litter box from its current location to one side of the toilet. Make sure the cat knows where it is and that the cat is using it. Leave the litter box there until your cat gets used to this. This time can vary anywhere from a day to week depending on the cat.

Next, put something under the litter box to raise it up a bit. You can use a phone book, a cardboard box, or anything that will raise it up about an inch. Don't use magazines because they are too slippery and the box will slide around. Again, leave the litter box here until your cat gets used to it. Continue raising the litter box an inch at a time and waiting each time you raise it until the bottom of the litter box is at the same level as the toilet seat.

At the start, the cat will just step into the box, but as you raise it up, the cat will have to jump into it. When it gets really high, your cat will probably start jumping onto the toilet first, and then into the box. Hopefully you've been keeping the lid up and the seat down. If you have, then the cat will be used to walking around on the toilet with the lid up.

Lift up the seat on the toilet and measure the diameter of the inside top of the bowl at the widest spot. Buy a mixing bowl with that diameter made of metal. Do not use plastic because it won't support your cat's weight.

Move the litter box over so that it's right over the toilet seat, not in the toilet. Don't use the mixing bowl yet. Again, wait until you are sure that your cat is used to this before moving to the next step. Now take away the litter box and put the mixing bowl inside the toilet bowl and put the seat down. Put about two inches of litter into the bowl.

At this point in the training, it can become really annoying every time you have to go to the bathroom because you will have to take out the bowl and then replace it when you are done. It is also a nuisance because you will have to watch your cat very closely when he uses the bathroom. Just try to remember that you will never have to deal with litter boxes again.

You will need to watch your cat using the bathroom now. Check how many feet he puts on the toilet seat and how many are in the bowl. Your goal is to get all the feet onto the toilet seat. Try to catch your cat using the toilet whenever you can and show him where his feet go. Lift the feet out of the bowl and put them on the seat. At first just try to get the front two feet out and eventually work your way to all four. After your cat is putting the front feet on the seat, start putting one hind leg on the seat next to the front leg, but on the outside. Every time your cat does it right, praise him. Then start trying to get both hind legs on the seat. Once your cat does this correctly, the front feet should be in the middle and the hind legs should be next to them, but on the outside.

The next training step is the most unpleasant step. You need to wait until you are home a lot before starting this step. You might want to wait until you are home a whole weekend. Start by reducing the amount of litter in the bowl. You'll want to be there so you can praise the cat and dump out the bowl when he goes because as the amount of litter decreases, the smell increases. Also, if you dump it out as soon as the cat goes, the cat won't try to cover it up because there won't be a smell. Each time your cat uses the bathroom, clean it out and reduce the litter amount.

When you get down to a very small amount of litter, it will be very smelly. The next time your cat goes and you clean out the bowl, put a small bit of water in the bowl. Each time your cat goes, put more water into the bowl in the same way that you put less and less litter into the bowl. Once you get to about two inches of water in the bowl and you are sure your cat is comfortable with it, take away the mixing bowl. Your cat will now be toilet trained and your days of litter boxes will be over!

How To Be A Great Cat Owner

Anyone can own or have a cat as a pet. But it does take effort and love to be a great cat owner. I personally believe that cats "own" us instead of the other way around, but that's a different topic entirely. The following are some helpful tips on how to be a great cat owner.

1. Take time out of every day to devote exclusively to your cat

Cats, just like people, love to receive affection and attention. Make sure that you give your cat some quiet one-on-one time each day. This can be spent holding your cat in your lap, stroking her fur, grooming her, and taking softly and soothingly to her. This can also be a time of play, where you can roll a ball to her, play with a string or ribbons, or anything to interact positively with your cat. This alone time spent connecting with your cat will strengthen the emotional bond between the two of you.

2. Make sure your cat has a comfy, quiet place to sleep and/or hide

cat in bed

Cats love attention, but sometimes they also need a little quiet time and space from their human counterparts. Make sure that they have a place they can call their own. This could be as simple and economical as a cardboard box on its side, with some soft towels inside. Or, if you care to make an investment into something more permanent, you can get a carpeted kitty condo for them, where they have different levels to sit and sleep. Sometimes cats will get scared of thunder, strangers, and loud noises, and they will need a secluded place to retreat to. Make sure they have a little comfy hiding spot they can depend on when they need to get away from it all.

3. Make sure your cat is spayed or neutered

This tip is probably the most important. This is probably the single best thing you can do for your cat. When you spay or neuter your cat, you are doing them a favor. They don't have to deal with catfights, mating season, and all the problems that come along with it. You, as the owner, will not end up with unwanted litters of kittens to contend with. There are already too many pets in the world today that are unwanted, abused, starving, and neglected. Don't let your pet create more of these. Spay or neuter your pet, no matter what. Make it a priority.

4. Make your cat a strictly indoor cat

cat licking paw

I have had indoor/outdoor cats in my youth, and learning from that experience, I now choose to keep my cats as indoor only. It lengthens their life span considerably. They are not at risk for fleas, catfights, poisonings, getting hit by a car, dogs, or other predators. They do not have to be out in freezing temperatures or blazing hot summers. They don't have to deal with other cats and their territory. They are safe inside, in a climate-controlled environment, with food and water, and a safe place to sleep. These things are very important, and by having your cat as an indoors-only cat, you will bond more closely with her, and she will be healthier.

5. Get dental checkups and cleanings for your cat

Dental health for cats is important just like it is for people. Cats can't brush their teeth, and they do have plaque build up. Bad teeth and gums can lead to other serious problems with internal organs down the road, if not addressed. It is important, even if your cat is an indoor cat, to take them for a physical examination every year, including a dental cleaning. This will make a much healthier and happier cat, and will likely add more years to her life.

Anyone can own a cat. Anyone can be a good owner. But if you want to be a great cat owner, and really set yourself apart from the rest, follow the tips I have given you. Not only will your pet be happier and healthier, but also you will likely add more years to your pet's life.

What You Should Know Before You Get a Cat

Maybe you are like me; I grew up with birds, dogs, other animals around the house, but not cats. There came a day, though, when I decided to get a cat for some reasons that were decisive for me at the time: a cat was low maintenance, needed less attention than other pets, and it didn't need walking.
But I had never before come in close contact with a cat, so to be honest; I had no idea what I was supposed to do.

Here are some tips for you that I have learned from experience:

1. If you plan to get a kitten that is under 8 weeks, it will need special attention. The young kitten will eat milk from its mother (not cow's milk), or you can get milk for kittens at your pet store; young kitties also need a very warm place to sleep in, like special cat beds.

2. The cat you got is older than 8-10 weeks? Than it will be a little bit easier. A young cat (under a year) needs to eat more than adult cats. So make sure you buy enough canned food to feed the cat several times a day; also buy dry food and alternate, or you can make the dry food available all the time; my cat loves canned meat, it will also eat dry food, but doesn't enjoy it as much;

3. Now that you bought enough food (buy around 25-30 cans to make sure it will last a week) buy a nice bowl for food and water. Also buy a litter box (there are many of them in stores, according to your budget you can buy a plain one, or even one that cleans itself, and traps the smells). Get liners for your litter box and a big bag of litter (also a wide array of choices, from the regular litter, to the more expensive one that clumps and traps smells). My cat started using the litter box from day one (I was very happy about that), but if they are too young and don't know, don't worry, cats learn very fast how to use it. Clean the litter box every day by picking up the big dirty parts and change the litter and liners every 3 days or so;

4. OK, so now you have food, litter box, what else you need? You will need to keep your kitty clean. Buy a special kitty shampoo and a between bathing spray (it deodorizes and cleans the cat by spraying it on the coat, no need for bath). It's said you don't need to wash the cat if it's not dirty or if it's an indoor cat, but I like to wash mine approx. every two weeks. She doesn't like water, but got used to it now and takes it rather well. To keep my house clean, I bought a solid deodorizer for the litter box, an odor eliminator spray for fabrics, and also a carpet powder (or foam) to freshen it.

5. Keep your kitty happy! I bought mine a scratching post that she can climb, and tied at the top of it a toy and a bunch of strings. She enjoys jumping and playing with them. I also got her a nice, warm crib (that she doesn't use at all, she prefers a shoe box to sleep in); I had a few toys that were about her size, that she loves to wrestle; every time I go to the store to buy her food, I can't help buying her a new toy: she has toy mice, balls, feathered toys, toys that squeak, make noises, she has it all; she loves it when I throw her toys around and she runs after them; I also bought her a leash, a collar and a harness to walk her outside;

That is about all that a cat needs to be happy. Take it to the vet from time to time, and you too are in for a lot of fun!
So relax, it will be very easy to take care of your kitty, all you need is a little bit of preparation before you get a pet.

When a Kitten is Not the Answer

I have friends who adore cats as much as I do. I also have friends who desperately want to get (another) cat. But they won't settle for anything except a cute, cuddly, tiny kitten. Kittens are very cute, but sometimes getting a kitten isn't the best choice for a pet. Sometimes getting an older cat would be better suited for someone's particular circumstances.
Kittens may not be the best option for homes with small children. Kittens are fragile; their tiny bodies can be easily broken or crushed. Thus, it may not be wise for parents to adopt a kitten if they have small children in the home. Children inadvertently step on, pull the tail, or otherwise may cause the kitten injuries.

In addition, small children are often too rough with kittens because they have not yet learned how to treat creatures smaller than themselves. Pulling the kitten's tail or holding the kitten upside down may result in the child getting scratched or bitten.

Likewise, older individuals may not want to adopt a kitten because kittens are full of energy and often get into mischief. Seniors may have less energy and patience to chase the kitten around, getting things out of its mouth, pulling it off the delicate curtains, and so forth.

People who do not have a lot of time to spend with a cat should not get a kitten. This is because the kitten may need training on how to use its litter box, how to behave, what to eat and what is unsafe to eat, and so forth. Individuals who work long hours or travel a lot may come home to find their house cluttered with trash, shredded papers, and toilet paper strung all over the house.

Kittens need a lot of interaction. Individuals who cannot provide a lot of stimulation through interactive play should probably not adopt a kitten. Oftentimes if the kitten's owner does not play with him or her, he or she will find something to get into himself or herself.

If a kitten isn't right for you, it doesn't mean you cannot adopt a cat. Often adult cats are cleaner, more polite, and already know social skills. They sleep more often than kittens and do not need as much attention as kittens do.

Consider your circumstances before you decide to adopt a kitten.