Owning a Cat 101

Cat Kitten Care

I love hearing my cat purr. When Jonesy is purring, I’m a happy guy. Seriously. It’s almost relaxing in a way. But cat’s are fickle. Remarkable animals, but fickle, to be sure.

So I got to thinking that owning a cat, especially for the first time, is a bit of a wild ride. So in this article, I thought I’d give you guys some tips on how to keep your kitty purring because that means there’s one more happy cat in the world.

In the grant writing world, where I spend my days, we call it best practices. Ugg. Best practices for cat owners? Sound way too corporate. A furry friend?

Ah, that’s all good.

Should You Spay Your Cat

Uh . . . yes.

Flat out and right off the bat: Please plan on spaying or neutering your beautiful cats as soon as they come of age. This goes even if you have an indoor cat. This happened to my family growing up. Our family cat was an indoor cat but she got outside and the next thing we know: kittens. Spay or neuter your cat if you want to prevent this kind of thing.

Get Your Cat a Vet

Love your cat? Well, then one of the best things you can do for him is to get him to a vet.

Would you bring a child into the world and never take him to the pediatrician? Well . . . So be sure to take your cat has regular vet visits. They need a check-up one time a year. Alternatively, more if they require certain shots. Cats should visit the vet right away if they are having any issues.


Is Dog Flea Treatment Harmful to Cats?

Yessss! Totally.

Please be cautious about using canine products on your feline friend. They can have very strong and possibly negative reactions to dog products. This definitely applies to flea products. I don’t want to freak out anyone, but bog flea prevention products can be deadly to cats.

The reason has to do with the insecticide that’s commonly used in dog flea products. (More about this in this article.)

Claire Bessant, Chief Executive Officer of International Cat Care, put it this way:

“These cat deaths are totally preventable. This is simply down to mistakes at point of purchase, with pet owners mixing up cat and dog products, or simply unaware that you cannot use a dog treatment on a cat. . . As well as checking its intended use, pet owners should be asked if there are cats in the home which may come into contact with a recently treated dog, so that they can be warned to keep the dog and cat apart, or advised to use a different product.”

So here’s what you have to know when it comes to your dog and fleas and your cat. If you’re treating your dog for fleas, keep Fido well away for hours after the application.


How to Keep Cats Off the Counter

Yup. We all struggle with peeping our cats off the kitchen counter. Or any counter, for that matter. What’s the deal with that?

Well, your kitty likes to see what’s happening and getting up on the counter sure helps. So cats actually enjoy high places for that matter. So there’s a couple of ways to deal with this annoying little problem. One way is not fight them but join them.

What I mean is give you cat a high place to hang out. Getting my drift?
You may be able to battle this issue by giving your cat a high place to chill. A cat tower. Simple. And put it near the kitchen and—voila!—you cats won’t lay on the counter.

There are bunch of other approaches, including using tin foil. I’ve not tried that but people swear by it. Make it easy on yourself. Get your cat a tower. Amazon has a bunch of good ones.

My Cat Won’t Sleep at Night!

There’s a really good reason for that.

Most cats nocturnal. Well, actually crepuscular. That means they’re active during the daytime and nighttime. I told you cats are remarkable animals.
In fact, cats seem to have a happy hour around 3 or 4 in the morning. Right? You’ve run into that pleasant experience. Me, too.

First, that’s just how cats roll. All cats. Lions have the same basic sleeping habits. The theory and science behind is that it’s an evolutionary trait. It’s cooler at night to go hunting for prey. Make sense.

So what to do. So I got two simple solutions for you.

1. Close the door

If you sleep with your cat around or leave your bedroom door open, you’re asking for trouble. Just close the door and your cat won’t bother you. I told you it was simple.

2. Get an Automatic Cat Feeder

Another easy one. Many cats like to eat at night. Remember the hunting at night? A many more cats like to eat at the crack of dawn. This was driving me nuts. That’s one of the reason I got into the whole automatic cat feeder thing. That and the obesity problem with our pets. So set the feeder to dish out a meal at night or early in the morning and your cat will leave you to your ZZZZs.

About That Litter Box

Not much to say here. But please place Fido’s litter box where it’s most acceptable to him. Common sense. And shove it over by a corner or near the washing machine or what have you. Basically, shoot for a secluded area, your cat will thank you. And, of course, keep the litter box away from the cat food.

And don’t try to show your feline how to go in the litter box. This is something that comes naturally and is not learned. This may just traumatize the cat, even though a lot of people think that they can take their cat and try to rub their cat’s paws on the litter.

Cats and Dogs

Are you the owner of both a cat and dog? I’ve had both cats and dogs. At the same time. So I speak from experience when I tell you that unless you train your dog, it will wind up eat the cat’s food if your Golden Retriever can get away with it.

So train your dog. Or if that’s just not possible, the simple hack is to have your kitty’s cat’s feeding area in a spot that’s too high for a dog. Remember that stuff about cats liking high places. That’ll help here. This will help you to be sure that the animals won’t fight over the water either after they’ve eaten all their food.

The other easy fix is to get . . . yeah . . . you guessed it, an automatic cat feeder. One with RFID technology so the feeder will only open when the cat is around. Your dog tries to muscle in on the food and the feeder will close right up. Problem solved. (Check my review of a smartfeeder.)

What Should I Feed My Cat?

So I could go and on when it comes to pet nutrition.

You guys know how concerned I am about pet obesity. Sixty percent of American pets are overweight or obese. We can do so much better. We must do better.

And it starts with the food we feed our pets. I truly believe that.

All right, enough of my sermons. What should you feed your cat?

First and foremost, your cat deserves high-quality food. Excellent sources of protein include chicken, fish and beef. These are staples for a cat diet. The reality is our feline friends are meant to eat meat, which means that they need to have foods that are high in protein.

OK, so here we go. Does that mean wet food. Or dry food.

I have friends who swear left and right that wet food is healthier for cats. Wet food does high moisture content (up 75%), so it’s a good source of water in addition to the nutrients. And many cats tend to like more than dry food.

But sorry. The research doesn’t really bear out the superiority of wet food.
There is nothing wrong with dry food.

“Dry food is fine as long as it is complete and balanced,” says Francis Kallfelz, DVM, Ph.D., board certified by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition and James Law professor of nutrition at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Just make sure your cat is getting enough water.

As I say, canned food is great and will give your cat more water. And as a cat ages, it may have a harder time chewing. So it definitely has it place.

And Dr. Kallfelz says there’s nothing wrong with mixing a bit of both.
I will tell you that there are more and more automatic cat feeders that will dish out wet food, most dispensers are optimized for dry food. Something to consider.

And before you are tempted to give your feline bits of food from your table, think about how it may affect his health. The additives in human foods and how we cook it isn’t good for felines. A bit of cooked meat or egg is a healthy treat your cat will enjoy. Before feeding your cat anything, make sure that you consult with your vet.

Is Phenol Toxic to Cats?

Never use chemicals that have phenol or pine oil in it near your cat. Lysol, for example, has many harmful agents that can harm your cat. Pine Sol isn’t much better. The smell of the chemical isn’t pleasant for your cat and prolonged exposure may cause liver problems.

Keep these disinfectants far away from your cats, please.

Indoor and Outdoor Cats

You should try keeping your cat inside or allowing it to go in the backyard. Indoor cats typically live longer than those who live outside. You can exercise your cat by playing with it.

But you shouldn’t let your cat go outside if she’s been declawed. Without claws, your cat is essentially defenseless against other animals. So it stands to reason that indoor cats are the only ones that should be declawed. Even then, you should only have the front claws removed. Don’t cut the back claws because they won’t scratch up your furniture or floors.

Love Your Cat and Let Her Be Who She Is

All right, I got a bunch of tips but I’ll stop here. I promise I’ll do a Part II.
I leave you with these last few thoughts. Don’t forget that cats are super good sense of smell. That means they’re good at figuring out if something in their environment has changed.

This is why it is sometimes difficult to get them to use something new, like a bowl or cat toy. Don’t fret if your cat doesn’t use the items right away. It’ll happen but always be patient with your cat. They need to slowly assimilate the new.

And make sure your cat gets lots of love. 😊

They’re loving animals and deserve affection back. Cats, just like you and all of us, want to feel like a loved part of a family. Socialization is important to them. Your cat wants to be as much a member of the family as anyone else. So show them the love. Early and often.

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