A well cared for cat is a happy cat. Below are a few tips to help keep you and your cat living happily for many years.
- Spay or neuter your cat. This surgery should be done between four and six months of age, preferably before kitty exhibits signs of her first heat cycle, or your little guy begins spraying.
- Please do NOT declaw! Declawing your cat may save your furniture, but it is an outdated and barbaric procedure, outlawed in many countries. Declawing is an amputation of the last joint on their toes, where the claws are. It is equal to removing the last joint of our fingers, where the fingernails are. It is a painful surgery, with a potential for many dangerous complications. Consider regular claw trimming or soft paw claw covers instead. Provide scratching posts and toys.
- Put a collar with a name tag on kitty. Make sure kitty’s name and your current phone number are on the tag. No matter how careful you are, kitty might slip outside at some point, and this helps her have a safe return home.
- Keep kitty indoors to keep her safe. If you wish to let kitty outside, SUPERVISE! Keep kitty on a leash or in a confined area on your property. There are many really nice “catios” available. Catios are large enclosures that can be attached to a window in your home, where kitty can go in and out safely.
- Keep a clean litter box. Several litter boxes may be necessary if you have more than one cat. Some cats are particular about their boxes- some experimentation may be necessary to find the box and the type of litter she prefers.
- Provide some entertainment for kitty. Interactive toys are good for creating bonding with your cat, such as a piece of string you wave around for her to catch. Kitty also will want to play alone sometimes. Pet stores offer a huge variety of toys, but do not feel you have to spend a lot of money. The little plastic rings off milk jugs, toilet paper rolls, jingle bells and paper bags can provide hours of entertainment for kitty.
- Training a cat need not be a painful experience. While it is true they have their own minds, and want to do things their way, they can be trained. A squirt gun or bottle is a wonderful thing! A quick squirt of cold water on kitty’s ear most likely will stop her in her tracks. Reward good behavior with whatever kitty likes best- hugs, telling her what a good kitty she is, etc. Beware of using food as a reward, as it may lead to obesity. Be consistent in training, or kitty will not want to listen to you.
- Talk to your cat. Yes, talk. Cats understand the words we use, not merely the tone of voice. Tell her some behavior is unacceptable. Tell her you are proud of her when she does something right. Mostly, tell her you love her.