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Before Getting a Cat
Cats have always been very popular pets and have been domesticated for thousands of years. When considering a cat as a pet the basis of your decision should not purely be breed or pedigree. There are hundreds of thousands of cats which need good homes, you should always look to re-home a cat from a shelter. Owning a pet should not be a decision made lightly, cats take time and money to look after. I had a ginger tom who lived to the ripe old age of 21!
Calculate the costs. Cat food is possibly the most basic, but you will should plan for veterinary bills and possibly monthly insurance cover. Check to see if your home policy covers pets, there may be add-ons available which could be cheaper than separate cover. Depending on where you live you may also need litter and litter box. Other items you will need are food and water bowls. If you value your furniture invest in some cat toys, such as a cat tree with scratching post, a bed and a carry case.
Cats wander, buy an identity collar, if your cat goes missing people will be able to contact you. FYI, put your phone number on the tag, “Tiddles” doesn’t get them home. Make sure the collar has a safety clip which will break if your cat gets caught on anything. Depending on where you get you cat from they may be already chipped. Chipping is a safe procedure which embeds a small microchip with your details so if your cat ever does go missing and someone picks them up you can be reunited again.
If you live somewhere where your cat can roam freely outside you may also be wise to invest in a anti-flee program such as Frontline. Cats are carnivores and will take wild rabbit and squirrels which can pass flees and ticks on.
Feeding Your Cat
There are generally two types of cat food, wet and dry. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Wet food is generally preferred by cats and it is fairly simple to dish out. Dry food must be accompanied by water but it also has some health benefits in that is assists in cleaning your kitties teeth. Price is also a factor in deciding which to buy. Wet food, especially the stuff that comes in pouches or individual portioned cans, can be exceedingly expensive. However, they are far more convenient. It just depends how much you want to pamper your kitty.
Be warned, price can also swing the other way. El-cheapo bargain basement cat food can do more harm than good as it is generally packed out with filler and your cat won’t get the nutrients it needs. This generally leads to your cat eating more.
How often should you feed your cat? This all depends on their age, a kitten will need to be fed little but often while an adult or mature cat should be fed twice a day. Be aware that your cat should always have access to fresh clean drinking water at all times. We don’t mean you need to put out Evian, tap water will do. Just make sure the bowl is refreshed regularly, tip out wash bowl, clean then refill with clean tap water.
Always keep your cats bowls away from your own dishes, if possible use a separate sink and always use separate brushes!
Cats love milk, don’t give them any! Yes it sounds mean but, they will forever pester the hell out of you if you give in to them. They very quickly learn what that white thing is in the fridge door is. That reason alone should be enough however, if you want a better more logical reason then it can cause diarrhea which is way nastier. Special cat milks are available but can be pricey so consider them a treat. Treats are fine on occasion, although too many of them can change kitty from being slender and athletic to a sleepy super sized McKitty!
Washing & Brushing
Cats are clean and you generally don’t have to wash them. Which is a good thing because most of them don’t like it. Cat + Water = Claws. When that time comes when you will inevitably have to give them a bath then make sure you use products designed for cats. Human products may smell nice to you but, the scent may cause your cat distress, definitely not “Worth It”.
Brushing your cat is mutually beneficial. Firstly cats usually enjoy the experience and secondly it removes loose fur. This reduces the chance of fur-balls and cat fluff deposits all over the place, generally on clothing and sofas.
This may sound like a big long list of why not to own a cat but honestly, if you don’t think you can handle it then it’s probably not for you. Owning a cat is a relationship which can be immensely rewarding with your cat showing unconditional love for you. It also requires work, cats are living creatures, it is quite different from forgetting to water the plant. Just be prepared to scoop poop along with the warm purry cuddles.