How To Take Care of a Cat

10 Cat Care Guidelines
By: Dave Markel

There area many common sense rules to follow when caring for your cat. These rules are simple and will ensure your cat will be healthy and happy.

When your cat arrives at home:
Bringing your new cat home can be frightening for it. Be prepared by having a food and water spot already set up. Also have a litter box setup in a quite spot away from the food. Your new cat should be transported in a cat carrier. When you bring the cat inside set the carrier down and open the door. Let the cat come out and explore on its own. Confining the cat to a quiet room for a day or two will make the experience less overwhelming.

Going Outside:
Before letting your cat outside for the first time be sure it is comfortable with you and its indoor surroundings. There are many dangers outside so let your cat have an escape route in case it needs it. My cat uses a cat door and it has save him a few times.

Judge the risk to letting your cat outdoors. If you live close to lots of traffic having an outdoor cat may not be a good idea.

Litter Boxes:
If you are using a cat box it should be cleaned daily. Clumping cat litter makes this easy. Simply scoop out the clumps and you're done. Put the litter box in a place where the cat will not be disturbed.

Food and water:
Your cat should always have a supply of fresh food and water. I prefer to use a heavy ceramic bowl to prevent the cat from pushing it or tipping them over.

The water bowl should be changed daily and food should be added to maintain a good supply.

My cat is now on a high quality dry food. I found feeding him can food was a waste. He generally left some behind at each meal regardless of the portion. At 15 I weaned him onto dry food only.

Scratching Posts:
Any cat is going to have the urge to scratch. The question is where is it going to do it? Best to have a scratching post that is safe and secure. Play with your cat on the post so it gets used to being allowed to scratch there. Rubbing a bit of cat nip on the scratching post will encourage your cat to scratch.

Cat Toys:
There are so many different cat toys on the market these days it is hard to choose a toy your cat will like. After much trial and error I determined my cat likes the string attached to the toy much better then the toy. Whenever I want to play I get a string, or better yet, my gold necklace (his favorite).

Sleeping Places:
A cat always needs a quiet, out of the way place to sleep the day away. A bed near a heater or furnace vent is ideal. In the winter most of the vents in my house have a cat bed near them. If you have small children make sure they can't disturb your cat when it sleeps

Care for eyes and ears:
When cats get a build up of discharge around the eye simply clean it with a damp cloth. A small amount of discharge is normal for a healthy cat but if there are excessive amount then consult a vet.

Regularly check your cats ears for dirt or ear mites. Any dirt can be removed with a damp Q-tip. If you spot small brown clumps of discharge you should consult your vet. This is a sign of ear mites.

Care for the claws:
If you have an outside cat, claw care is less important. Climbing trees, and other outdoor stuff helps to keep claws well maintained.

An inside cat has far less need for its claws. There is really no environment where your cat needs to use its claws. You should trim your cats claws once or twice a year. Clip the very tip of each claw. Taking any more then just the tip can hurt your cat. It is recommended that you have a vet show you how to clip their claws properly.

Care of the mouth and teeth:
As cats age their teeth start to get calcium build up which can cause gum inflammation. Check your cats mouth every 6 or 8 weeks. Find and remove and calcium build up before deposits get too large.

Caring for a cat is quite simple, common sense really. I believe that good food, fresh water, lots of love and exercise is best for a cat. By following these 10 simple guidelines your cat can live a long and healthy life.

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