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How To Be A Great Cat Owner

January 15, 2024

It’s probably safe to say that cats are one of the easiest animals to keep. You won’t have to walk or train Fluffy, and she will take care of her own grooming needs. The majority of kitties spend a ridiculous amount of time sleeping, which also makes things easy on their humans. (Actually, these little furballs are really good at getting us to pamper them, but that’s another topic.) Fluffy may be fairly self-sufficient, but she doesn’t just need fresh water and kibble to stay happy and healthy. A local Denver, NC vet offers some advice on being a great cat owner in this article. 

Keep Your Cat Inside

Kitties may enjoy exploring, but the Great Outdoors just isn’t safe for them. As soon as Fluffy sets her adorable paws outside, she’s exposed to several hazards, such as cars, weather, other kitties, predators, and chemicals. Cats that go out are also at much greater risk of getting lost, stolen, or even killed.

Grounding Fluffy won’t just keep your pet safe: it will also protect local wildlife. In addition to being adorable and quirky, cats are, well, fluffy little serial killers. In fact, Fluffy hunts and kills a wide variety of animals, including several threatened species.

Give Your Feline Pal Quality Food

There are a few things to consider when it comes to feeding your cat. Fluffy’s exact dietary needs should be determined by her age, health, and lifestyle. However, you will also have to decide whether to feed your cat wet food or kibble, and whether to give her meals at specific times or free feed. Ask your vet for specific advice.

The trickiest part may very well be finding the right brand. Companies have mastered advertising gimmicks, and use very slick tactics to make sure their products look the best. Be sure to read labels carefully.

As with human products, pet food manufacturers must label their products in certain ways. The first ingredient on the label is the main ingredient, the one that represents the biggest percentage or proportion. Meat, fish, and poultry should appear first on the label, and more frequently. Avoid brands with lengthy ingredient lists of unpronounceable words that read like science projects.

Fresh water is also a must. You may want to consider getting your pet a drinking fountain; cats prefer running water.

What Can I Do To Keep My Cat Happy?

Cats can’t spend all of their time sleeping, no matter how hard they try. Boredom is no more fun for cats than it is for us.

Keep your cute pet entertained by providing a variety of toys, and try to spend at least a few minutes each day playing with her. Fluffy may look cute as she pounces on and chases after things, but it’s quite serious business for her, as she is mimicking the hunting behaviors and skills that would help her score dinner in the wild.

Keep in mind that every cat has their own tastes. Some like wand toys, some prefer catnip mice, some want to chase the laser pointer’s little red dot, and some just want to bat ice cubes or bottle caps around. Try out a few things and see what Fluffy likes. 

Take Your Cat To The Vet Regularly

While it’s true that cats are rather hardy, they aren’t invincible as they think. In fact, these little furballs are quite small and vulnerable.

We recommend that all kitties be microchipped and spayed or neutered. Preventative care is also crucial, and can protect your pet from a wide variety of dangerous parasites and diseases. The core vaccines that Fluffy needs include rabies, feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus-1, feline panleukopenia, and (FeLV) feline leukemia. If your cat is older than one year, your vet may also recommend (FeLV), Chlamydia felis, and Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccines as well.

Parasite control is crucial as well. Even indoor cats can be infested by parasites like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. You can choose from a variety of products, so talk to your veterinarian to determine which one is right for you. 

In between appointments, watch for signs of illness. Kitties can be tricky here, as they tend to hide signs of sickness until their conditions have become quite severe. This is an instinctive behavior, as in the wild, showing signs of sickness can attract predators. Unfortunately, that means your kitty may not show signs of illness until she is quite sick. 

Here are some red flags to watch for:

  • Poor Grooming
  • Withdrawal
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced Appetite
  • Litterbox Avoidance
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Discharge
  • Grumpiness
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Disorientation
  • Uncharacteristic Behavior Or Vocalizations

If you notice any of these, or spot anything else amiss, contact your Denver, NC animal clinic right away. 

Petproof To Make Your Home Safe For Your Cat

Even though cats don’t have nine lives, it’s not hard to see where that old wives’ tail came from. Fluffy has a knack for getting into mischief … and sometimes narrowly escaping it.

We strongly recommend petproofing, which involves removing or securing anything that isn’t safe for kitties. Some things to address include small or sharp objects, like beads, buttons, safety pins, jewelry, and toy parts; plastic bags and ties; anything ropy or stringy; and toxic plants. (Note: you can find a full list of safe and unsafe plants at the ASPCA site here

Another big concern is the use of chemicals and medications. Poisonings are one of the biggest reasons for emergency visits, and unfortunately, are also one of the main causes of pet deaths.

Here are some of the things that are toxic to cats:

  • Cleaning agents
  • Paint
  • Drain openers
  • Detergents
  • Automotive products
  • Fertilizer
  • Pesticides
  • Rodenticides
  • Antifreeze
  • Bug Spray
  • Medicines, whether prescription or OTC

Ask your vet for more information. 

Make Your Home Cat-Friendly

In terms of living quarters, cats can be quite versatile: they will be equally happy in a small bedroom or a large mansion. However, no matter how big your home is, making it cat-friendly is a must.

Adding some cat furniture will help. Fluffy will appreciate a cat tower, which will provide a scratching post as well as a lookout point.

You can also make your home fun for your furry friend by giving her vantage points and things to explore. A comfy window seat with a good view can keep a cat occupied for hours. Fluffy loves birdwatching! Make your pet a catio or even an enclosure if you want to go all out.

Make Your Cat Feel Loved

Last but certainly not least, you’ll also need to keep that motor going! It’s very important for Fluffy to feel loved and safe. Spend time with your feline buddy every day, and just pay attention to her. Even talking to your pet can make her feel loved, and can be helpful with bonding. Some cats will respond, while others will just listen. The important thing is that your feline pal will know you are trying to communicate with her. You may find that you melt when your furry friend cuddles up to you, or looks up at you with that charming look of kitty adoration. 

Contact us, your local Denver, NC pet hospital, if you have questions about cat care. We are dedicated to providing top-notch service!