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Proper cat care involves many different aspects, from socialization and companionship to taking your pet to the vet. Below you will find ten important parts of good cat care, but the list can of course be made much longer. Also note that the ideal cat care varies from cat to cat. A long-haired cat may for instance need a lot of grooming, while a short-haired moggy might prefer to keep its coat clean and shiny on its own.
Follow the rules
Learn about local pet regulations before you get a cat. Identification systems and registration are for instance mandatory in certain areas, while others have limitations on how many cats you can keep in your home without special license.
Your cat can’t talk (at least not to strangers)
Even in areas where identification systems and registration aren’t mandatory, it is still a good idea to do what you can to ensure a safe return of your pet, regardless of if it is and indoor or outdoor cat. Don’t forget that even if you plan to keep your cat indoors all the time, many indoor felines find a way to escape sooner or later and if that happens you don’t want neighbours and local authorities to think that your pet is a feral cat. You can for instance let the vet insert a microchip in the cat (it doesn’t injure the cat) and outfit your pet with a collar and ID tag that includes your name and contact information.
Have your cat spayed or neutered
Having your cat spayed or neutered is an important part of good cat care, unless you keep cats for breeding purposes. Do not allow your cat to breed unless you are 100% certain that you will be able to provide good homes for all the kittens. There are already such and abundance of abandoned cats out there in need of a loving home – don’t make the problem bigger by avoiding to spay or neuter your pet.
A kitten can be spayed or neutered as soon at it reaches and age of 6-8 weeks, so there is no need to put it off until your cat hits puberty. There is an old myth that says that it is unhealthy for female cats to be spayed before their first litter, but this is just that – a myth. Early spaying and neutering is today considered an imperative part of good cat care since it prevents so many problems for the cat, the keeper, and the community.
In addition to preventing unwanted litters, spaying and neutering have many beneficial side-effects for both male and female cats. A neutered male is less likely to run away from home, less likely to get into violent fights with other cats, less likely to become infected with cat disease such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukaemia virus (FeLV), and less likely to mark out its territory by spraying urine. A spayed female cat will also be less likely to contract the above mentioned infectious diseases, and since she won’t go into heat, you don’t have to endure endless meowing, screaming and attempts to escape. Being in heat without being able to mate can be really frustrating for a cat, so good cat care will involve spaying her is before she goes into heat. Spaying your female cat will also prevent her from attracting all the male cats of the surrounding area to your home.
Keep your cat on a suitable diet
Providing your feline friend with a balanced diet suitable for its age and activity level is another very important aspect of good cat care. Just like a human being, a cat will become obese if it eats more calories than what it burns off, and obesity comes with a long row of negative side effects. Also keep in mind that cats are different from both humans and dogs when it comes to nutritional needs. A diet that is highly suitable for you might for instance be too low in taurine (2-aminoethanesulfonic acid) for your cat.
Last but not least, a cat should have access to fresh water all the time.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help
If you need more advice about how to care for your cat, contact a veterinarian or a local animal shelter. There is also numerous cat forums to be found online where cat keepers from all over the world come together to discuss their beloved pets and share cat care tips with each other. You can also contact a cat association such as The Cat Fanciers’ Association or The International Cat Association. If you keep a special cat breed, be sure to check out breed organisations and breed specific websites for more targeted cat care information.