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
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
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.