Maybe you’ve just brought home a kitten, or maybe you’re adopting an older cat. Maybe you have a few cats already, and maybe this is your first little furball pouncing around the house. Regardless of your situation, it’s always good to have a few useful cat care tips on hand.
Cats make exceptional pets, and they’ve even been shown to benefit our health as humans. The sound of a cat’s purr can calm our nerves and lower our blood pressure, linking us to a decreased risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke according to the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology. Loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, and cats have been known to provide just the type of companionship to keep loneliness at bay. Cats have even been linked to a decreased risk of allergies in children as they grow older. The bottom line is this – cats make us happy, but they also do a whole lot more!
Taking The Very Best Care Of Your Feline Friends
It doesn’t take long to fall in love with a cat, and once you do, you’ll want to go above and beyond to make sure they get the best care. You’ll spend hours scouring pet sites, taking in article after article about giving your cat the very best life. When you delve into the nitty gritty of this over that, or one method over another method, things can get pretty confusing. It’s important to remember that, like humans, all cats are individuals, and all will have different “bests” and different ways of doing things. Trying a few things and seeing what approaches work best for your cat in particular is always your best bet. As your cat grows older, the things that they may have loved as a kitten might not do the trick in this new stage of life, so a little more research might still be needed.
With all of the variables in cat care, there are some basic care tips that ring true pretty much across the board. A few basics in cat care that every cat owner should know to take the very best care of their furry companions are:
- Regular grooming is a great pastime – While playing with kitty is great, grooming should be considered equally important. With regular grooming, you’ll find less shed winding up in your carpets and on your clothes, less dander for those allergic, fewer hairballs for your cat to cough up, and the hidden benefit, a stronger bond. Cat families groom one another to bond, and your cat will bond with you as you groom them just the same. If you’re looking to build a strong connection with a cat you’ve just brought home, get the brush out and get to grooming.
- An extra litter box is important – If you’ve just brought your first cat home, you probably think a single litter box is suitable for their bathroom needs. However, the recommended litterbox investment is actually taking your number of cats and adding 1 extra box. So if you have 1 cat, you should have 2 litter boxes. If you have 2 cats, 3 litter boxes, and so on. This can really help to stop accidents in unwanted locations and stop multiple cat households from experiencing fights or spraying to mark territory.
- Accidents might be telling you something – When a cat has an accident, it’s a frustrating situation for all cat owners. However, many cat owners view this as a lapse in good behavior, and they may begin getting frustrated with their cat due to that fact. While some cats might have behavioral issues leading to going outside of the box, this is more often than not indicative of a health problem. When cats experience pain or difficulty defecating or urinating, they’ll begin associating their litter box with that pain, causing them to seek out “softer” places to go. If your kitty decides that the area rug is a more attractive spot than their regular box, a trip to the veterinarian should be in order first.
- Yearly dental checks– You may have heard of dogs needing their teeth brushed, and you’ve surely heard about the importance of human dental care. Many cat owners, however, don’t know that cat dental care is just as important. While most cats aren’t going to allow their owners to brush their teeth, there is another recommended option. Dental cleanings with your veterinarian should be sought around once per year to ensure a healthy mouth and better overall health.
- Always spay and neuter your cat – While kittens are adorable, cat overpopulation is a major problem, and your cat may be more likely to suffer ill health or behavioral effects if they go without a spay or neuter. Female cats will go into heat, male cats are likely to spay, and both sexes are more likely to slip out of the door to go roaming for a mate if they remain intact. Opting to spay or neuter your cat ensures a happier and healthier life for you both.
- Cats can be trained – While you may think that training to use a litter box is where cat training ends, cats can actually be trained to learn tricks for treats much like dogs can. Cats do have a stronger independent streak, and you may not have Fluffy rolling over or playing dead, but small catnip treats and consistency can let you build an even stronger bond with your cat through fun training sessions.
A Long And Happy Life
The average lifespan of a housecat is around 16 years, but it’s far from unheard of for cats to live into their late teens or even early twenties. With the right care, you’re in for a long and happy life with your cat, and one that is certainly filled with great fun, many laughs, and plenty of warm purring snuggles. With the basics nailed down, new and experienced cat owners alike can rest assured they’re doing their very best for their furry friends.