Cats are often regarded as an easy pet, especially compared to dogs. Although they are often more independent than dogs, cats can still require a lot of work on their owners’ behalf. The more work you put into taking care of your cat, the happier its (and your) life will be!
Feeding Your Cat
When cats are young, they’ll require more food than when they are adults. When cats are growing and up to six months of age they may require as many as three meals a day. However, once they reach maturity, one or two meals will suffice, adjusting size portions for the size of your cat. Cats require consistent feeding, as going without food for a couple of days leads cats to start developing fatty deposits around the liver, which in turn can lead to liver failure. Cats also require constant access to water. If you are feeding your cat dry food, water supply is especially important, as wet food will contain much more of their water needs.
Checkups and Vaccinations
When you get your cat, it’s essential to make sure it has all the relevant and necessary vaccinations to protect both it and the other cats and humans it comes into contact with. Here are some of the most common illnesses that cats are vaccinated against:
- Feline leukaemia virus – a virus that attacks the immune system and makes cats more susceptible to infection and illness.
- Feline enteritis –a virus that has a rapid onset and causes profuse and usually bloody diarrhoea, severe dehydration, malnutrition, anaemia, and often death.
- Feline respiratory disease (‘cat flu’) – causes sneezing, coughing, eye and nose discharge, loss of appetite and ulcers on the tongue. This can lead to severe dehydration and potentially fatal weakness.
It is also necessary to get your cat desexed, preferably at an early age when recovery time is quick and before the cat can reproduce. Desexing has obvious benefits with regard to unwanted litters. However, there are additional benefits to having your cat desexed. Desexed cats are less prone to get mammary cancer, uterine infections and prostate problems. It also reduces the desire to roam (thus exposing it to unnecessary risk) and reduces aggression in males.
It’s important to get regular checkups for your cat. While the owner can perform important functions – checking for lumps on the body, monitoring energy levels and examining vomit and stool for obvious signs of illness – nothing replaces the expertise of a vet, who is able to properly judge and examine your cat and knows the various health pitfalls for a cat at every stage of its life.
How to Keep Your Cat Stimulated
Keeping your cat mentally and physically stimulated is important. Talking to your cat in a soft, high-pitched voice while at their level helps to build trust. Relaxed cats blink slowly (as they’re not keeping watch) and it helps to mimic this behaviour in turn.
Scratching posts and balls are also cat favourites and they love it if you take the time to engage in some mild play – a bit of chasing, etc. As little as fifteen minutes a day will markedly improve your cat’s happiness.