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Cat Care Tips

March 11, 2024

Have you just adopted your first cat? Whether you’ve decided to take the plunge into kitty ownership, or perhaps sort of fell into it, you’re definitely starting out on a long and adorable adventure with your furry buddy. Cats are not only adorable, they’re also incredibly charismatic, fun, and quirky … not to mention hilarious. While Fluffy is a pretty easy keeper, there are some do’s and don’t for first time owners to be aware of. A local Exeter, CA vet lists some of them in this article.

What Is The Basic Care For A Cat?

Fluffy’s most essential needs are the same as that of any other animal: good food, a clean, comfy environment, fresh water, and proper veterinary care. A clean litterbox is also a must, of course. Your kitty’s mental health is important as well. We’ll go over the basics here, but you’ll also want to check with your vet for more specific care tips.

What Do I Feed A Cat?

First things first: good cat care starts with proper nutrition. You don’t have to get the most expensive cat food brand out there, but it is important to offer a high-quality food that is appropriate for your pet’s age. Kittens and seniors have slightly different needs, and their diets should reflect that! 

Of course, picking the best brand may be easier said than done, as pet food companies are very good at using advertising tactics to make their products look like they’re the best … even when they aren’t. Look for something that lists meat, fish, or poultry first and most frequently on the label. Avoid brands with lots of fillers and/or ingredients you can’t pronounce or identify.

There are a few variables here. You’ll need to decide whether to offer dry food or kibble, and whether to free feed or give your kitty meals at specific times. There are pros and cons to each. Kibble is cheaper, less messy, and lasts longer, but canned food offers more moisture and, in general, better nutrition. There are also ways to combine the two: for instance, you can leave kibble out, but give canned food for breakfast and dinner. Portion control is also important. Be sure to check with your Exeter, CA veterinarian.

Your kitty will also need fresh water. You may want to get a fountain: many cats prefer to drink running water.

How Long Can You Leave A Cat Alone?

Our feline pals are very independent, which is one reason they are so popular. You won’t have to bathe or train Fluffy, and you don’t have to rush home after work to walk her. As long as she has food and water, she should be fine by herself, even if you are staying out late or going away overnight. (We’d recommend boarding your cat or having someone check on her if you’ll be gone longer than that.)

You do want to keep your pet’s comfort in mind though. If you’ll be out after dark, leave a light and a tv or radio on. Sitting alone in a dark, quiet house isn’t fun for anyone! Climate control is also important.

What Do Indoor Cats Need?

Cats are much safer and healthier staying inside. However, they don’t get as much stimulation as outdoor kitties, so you’ll need to provide entertainment. Toys, kitty furniture, and a comfy window seat with a good view will keep your pet entertained and content. If you want to go all-out, give your kitty a catio.

Fluffy won’t have access to real trees to sharpen her claws on, so if you don’t want your sofa shredded, you’ll need to offer her a good scratching post or board. Cat towers are great for this!

How Do I Keep My Cat Safe?

In addition to grounding Fluffy and providing her with good food and regular veterinary care, we’d also recommend petproofing. Cats are both predators and prey by nature, so they are both very curious and very determined to hone their hunting skills. Fluffy may want to see if there’s a mouse in the cabinet under the sink, or determine if that rubber band is suitable prey. These types of innocent explorations can be quite dangerous. The average household contains many items that aren’t safe for our furry pals!

Here are some things to keep out of paws’ reach:

  • Chemicals
  • Medication
  • Strings, ropes, and cords
  • Plastic bags and wrappers
  • Toxic plants
  • Anything small or sharp
  • Candles

You’ll also need to be careful with large appliances, particularly if you have a kitten. An open toilet isn’t much of a threat to an adult cat, but could be deadly to a baby one. Ask your Exeter, CA veterinarians for more information.

How Do I Keep My Cat Healthy?

As mentioned above, good food is crucial. Keeping your feline friend indoors is also important. Cats that are allowed to wander are at risk from many threats, including cars, weather, and wild animals.

Proper veterinary care is another must. If you have a kitten, Little Fluffy will need to come in a few times during that adorable toddler stage. In addition to her initial exams, vaccines, and dewormers, your tiny ball of fur will need spay/neuter surgery and, of course, microchipping. 

Once your feline companion is all grown up, she may only need annual visits. There are some exceptions to this. Cats that go outside will need more frequent visits, as will those with medical issues. Just like people, older cats usually need to see their doctors more often. Follow your vet’s recommendations.

No matter what age your feline friend is, it’s important to keep a close eye for signs of illness or injury.

Here are some things to watch for:

  • Poor Grooming
  • Reduced Appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Withdrawal
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Changes In Weight
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Increased Thirst
  • Unusual Behavior Or Vocalization.

Call your vet immediately if you see any red flags. It’s important to understand that cats often mask signs of illness. You may not notice anything is wrong until your kitty is quite sick!

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Cat?

Kitties are living longer than ever, thanks to both advances in veterinary care and a growing understanding of their needs. While the official feline lifespan is 12 to 18 years, it’s no longer uncommon to see furballs pouncing and purring their way into their 20’s.

What Makes Cats Happy?

One thing we can say about Fluffy? She really appreciates the simple things in life, like naps and sunbeams. Of course, love is the special ingredient in any kitty care regimen. Pay lots of attention to Fluffy! Don’t force attention on her: that may backfire. Just talk to your feline pal, pet her (if she enjoys it), play with her, and generally interact with her. Even taking a few minutes a day to hold a laser toy for your kitty will help her feel loved and safe.

That said, we do have to mention a few of Fluffy’s favorite things. These include:

  • Catnip
  • Boxes
  • Paper grocery bags (Cut the handles off)
  • Sunbeams
  • Soft blankets folded up on chairs or beds
  • Lap space
  • Treats
  • Catwalks/Cat Shelves
  • Cat grass
  • Toys

And while you don’t have to fill your place with furniture, we do recommend getting your kitty a good scratching post, a cat tower or play center, and a comfy bed.

In Conclusion: Cats are not difficult to care for, but it is important to understand their needs.To keep Fluffy happy and healthy, provide good food, regular veterinary care, and a clean litterbox, and take time to pet and play with your feline pal daily. 

Do you have questions about caring for your feline friend? Contact us, your local Exeter, CA pet hospital, today!

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