If you’ve ever owned a cat, you probably know how sensitive they are. One simple mistake on your part can mess their health real quick. Although it may seem simple, owning a cat requires a lot of responsibility. It is one of the main reasons why there are a lot of stray animals in the city. Those who abandon or neglect their pets were probably overwhelmed with the responsibilities of taking care of pets.
People who abandon their pets are not worthy of them. All kinds of pets deserve love and care.
This is the reason why we advocate pet adoption. Sometimes, it’s better to adopt than to get a new cat since you are helping take one stray cat away from the streets. Opting for adoption can get rid of stray cats in the streets one by one. Adoption truly saves lives in more ways than one.
Should you decide to get a new pet or perhaps adopt one, keeping them sheltered is one thing. Keeping cat mentally & physically healthy and happy is an entirely different thing.
1. Think yourself as a parent
Kittens that are taken away from their mothers before 16 weeks are more likely to develop behavioral problems later in life. In the wild, we observe that kittens will be on their own by the time they turn 4 months. The main reason is cats need to feel the company of their mothers to prepare them to live on their own. Letting the kitten grow up with their mother before taking them away will reduce the chance of them developing any behavioral problems. Once you do take them, you should consider yourself their new parents. You should always be there for them especially when they need your care.
2. Spaying/neutering your cat
Cat overpopulation is quickly becoming a problem in many cities. Anywhere you go, you can see stray cats and their number only seem to increase overtime. What you can do to help control the feline population is by spaying or neutering your cat. This will make them unable to reproduce, thus decreasing the potential number of stray cats later on.
Another benefit of spaying your cat is it helps reduce the risk of acquiring a fatal cat disease such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) or feline leukemia virus (FLV). Ideally, spaying should be done at a young age (at around 8 weeks) just before they reach the age of sexual maturity.
3. Regular Veterinary Care
Regular visits to the veterinarian are needed to ensure that your cat is disease-free. Veterinary visits are usually done to do vaccination, deworming (recommended 4 times a year), and regular screening for any parasites such as fleas, ticks, or lices.
For certain cat breeds, special screening may also be advised depending on the breed. There are many breeds that require regular checkup and vaccination more than your regular cat. It can be said that owning a certain cat breed is more expensive than owning a regular cat. Regardless of breed, regular checkup from the veterinary is needed to maintain the proper health of the cat.
4. Allow your cat to hunt every now and then
Cats are natural predators in the wild. Included in their basic instinct is the need to hunt or stalk their prey. Allowing them to hunt or play lets them live out their natural instinct. This will keep them healthy both mentally and physically. Boredom may lead to behavioral problems and weight issues. Try to introduce new activities to your cat to get them physically and mentally active. A happy cat is a healthy cat.
You can even encourage your cat to hunt. But make sure not to overdue it. You do not want your cat to be bringing dead animals into your doorstep every time he goes out. To avoid this, introduce other fun activities such as fetching, funball and even box hopping. Cats are simple minded creatures that only need simple stimuli to keep them in top mental condition.
5. Keep a close eye on your cat
Although it is not possible to keep a close eye on your cat at all times, it would greatly help if you are on the lookout when you are together. It is also important to keep a close eye on their mood since it can tell a lot about their mental condition. If they seem tired and weak, you can assume that something bad has happened to them – it’s pretty simple, really. Cats, unlike humans, don’t need complex analysis before you can tell what’s wrong.
It is also important to keep track of your cat’s favorite place. Every cat has a special place they love to go to when they feel like it. When you know your cat’s favorite place, you know the first place to look out for when they go missing. Usually, their favorite places would be spaces near the windows where they can observe their surroundings. This also makes for a great spot to see other cats around the neighborhood.
6. Set up proper places for food tray, water bowl and litter box
It is important to put each of these things on their rightful places. For food tray, you want to put them in the kitchen where food is easily accessible. Many trainers would not recommend placing the food tray near the dining table because it psyches the cat to ask for food every time they eat. Though it may seem cute at first, it becomes tiring after a while. Therefore, it is a good idea to set aside their food tray a bit far from the dining table.
For the litter box, it should be placed in the part of your home which allows it to be disposed of quickly. Put your litter box in a secluded but easy to find space. Your cat will want privacy when they do their business. Also, make sure that the litter box is not placed near appliances or closed spaces because it can leave a bad smell. If your house has several floors, you need to place litter boxes on each floor. Having several litter boxes is also recommended if you own more than two cats.
7. Allot a scratching post near their favorite route around the house
Cats need to groom their nails on their own. They do this by scratching them to walls and other rigid spaces. To safeguard your walls from the damage these scratches might cause, make sure to place the scratching space (mat or post) to a space near their sleeping area or walking route.
You can install several of these scratching mats to several spots in your home to make sure that your cat finds them. It is better to install several of these than to always change the wallpapers on your walls.
8. Know your cat’s personality
Every cat has a different personality. That becomes evident when you study their behavior patterns. You have to understand your own cat and make sure that you two are connected. It is called a pet-owner relationship. It is a connection that makes you understand each other without even communicating. Pet owners know about this, it is a sort of connection that is built overtime upon hours and hours of bonding.
You need to consider that cats need alone time much like us. If you think that your cat wants to be alone, let it be. Your cat will surely come back when its feeling better. If your cat is gone longer than usual, it is surely a sign that something is wrong.
9. Socialize your cat
Every animal needs to have social interaction amongst their kind. Although companionship to humans is not to be taken lightly, socially interacting with other cats is still better. Just be careful not to overdo these feline social interactions because if done frequently, there is a high tendency that the cat will be dependent to other cats. Once this happens, your cat’s mood will be influenced greatly by other cats and this can be troublesome.
Try to find the right balance to make your cat happy. Social interaction with other cats for about once a week is sufficient enough to keep your cats socially satisfied.
10. Do not punish your cat when he does something wrong
Every cat has a weird behavior that can sometimes cause frustrations among its owners. It is important to find out why your cat does certain things that you find strange. When you find the cause of the problem, address the problem accordingly and wisely. It is important to make the right move when disciplining your cat. Punishing your cat will often have a negative effect as it can make them feel insecure and fearful.
What I recommend is investigate on your cat and find the real cause of its wrong behavior. Do not ever punish your cat without knowing the real cause. This can worsen the situation and can often lead to phobia. When it comes to that, it is better to seek help from an animal behavior expert.
Most of these tips are simple and easy to apply. However, many pet owners fail to use this information to keep their pets healthy. Owning a pet isn’t just about taking care of them physically. Keeping your pet healthy means keeping their mental, social and physical health on check when you can. Owning a pet is a big responsibility. Therefore, deciding whether to get a pet or not must be taken very seriously. Never buy or adopt a pet on impulse alone, think about it carefully because every life is precious. You should do whatever you can to assure that your pet will get the care he deserves.