One of the more common domesticated house pets is the cat. If you are contemplating having one for a pet, there are certain aspects that you need to be aware of before you bring one into your household, specifically basic care issues and proper nutrition. Feline companionship brings with it a variety of responsibilities but your biggest obligation to that pet is the attention and care that you give it.
One of the elements regarding the basic care of cats is the initial preparations needed before bringing the animal home. The basic items needed immediately are a litter box and litter, separate food and water bowls, a brush designed for the type of fur the cat has (i.e. long-hair or short-hair), and a carrier to bring it home in and as well as for trips to the vet. And of most importance, cat toys since they enhance the bonding process. Eventually, you may want to consider a bed or basket for them to nap and sleep in.
Once you have determined what type of cat they will be, as in strictly indoors or indoor/outdoor, then there are additional care issues to be covered. If the cat is going to be outdoors part of the time, one of the first things you should get them is a collar. It will obviously hold the cat's identification tag and veterinary status. Make sure that the collar has an elastic section so that if they get caught on something and start panicking that they can escape from the collar without severely choking themselves.
The tag attached to the collar should provide vital information specifically, your name, address, and phone number. Modern technology has created an identification microchip that vet's can inject into the skin of a cat's neck. Speaking of veterinarians, that is the other most important aspect of the cat's health and well-being. If you want them to be around for a lot of years, every penny you spend on veterinary visits will have benefits and your pet will live a happier and healthier life that way.
Finally, unless you are looking at the cat as an investment, as in breeding them for money, once they have reached the appropriate age, get them neutered or spayed. The ideal age for this is once they are six months old. Where males are concerned, it's an out-patient type surgery, pending any complications --- bring them in first thing in the morning, and pick them up towards the end of the day. Females will vary, but usually the spaying is a 24 hour turnaround.
The first rule of thumb with feline nutrition is that cats are not vegetarians --- they require meat in their diets so that they have a sparkle in their eyes and a glossy coat. They require certain dietary needs and animal derived nutrients are one of the main ingredients necessary to their good health. The cat food that you feed them should come from a reputable manufacturer and be given to your cat at room temperature. One important note here is that you should establish a routine as to the place and time of day that you feed your cat.
Another aspect of feeding is that there should always be fresh dry food and water for them to take advantage of throughout the day. If you include canned food in their diets, it is recommended that they receive two or three small feedings per day, not one big one. And remember that until they are out of the kitten stage, that they are constantly eating and drinking.
Another health issue is your cat's weight. Avoid letting them overeat. Just like with us, a cat can develop obesity and overweight issues. Arthritis, heart problems, and a shorter lifespan are issues that can result from a cat being overweight. So take care on this matter. Based on the breed, adult cats should way between 9 and 12 pounds, and the males tend to be heavier than the females. If you feel that your cat is overweight, a trip to the vet for a check-up and some questions is a good idea. Oftentimes, the weight issue is related to a hormonal problem, so it is better to be safe than sorry.
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