Working through some of the basics, as well as some more advanced things you can do to help your cat stay happy at home, this guide goes over everything you need to know about general cat care. The Carter Veterinary Services team in Hardeeville are happy to provide you with this guide to help you have a better relationship with your cat. If you have a pet-related emergency or there is a problem that you want to talk about with a vet, reach out to us today. We are open 24/7, and are able to take care of any problem that your cat is facing. We are the Lowcountry's #1 cat vet! Now, to begin!
11 Tips for Home Cat Care
Taking Good Care of Your Cats
We all know that cats are very independent. However, they are not quite capable of taking care of everything by themselves. So, if you make the decision to adopt a cat, make sure taking care of it is going to fit in with your lifestyle. Some people who get cats really don’t have the time to take proper care of them (not that they are particularly high-maintenance either) — so make sure you make an informed, intelligent decision. This guide will not cover the absolute most basic things — like providing them food and water — but we will be talking about some things that are just as important:
#1: Provide Them Comfortable Quarters
Give your cat a safe, comfortable habitat to live in. Check for any exposed cords or wires, get them a soft place to lay down, provide them with a new litter box and scoop, get rid of any poisonous house plants, and replace broken screens on windows so they don’t wander off.
#2: Veterinary Visits
Good cat owners visit the vet regularly to get their pet checked out for illnesses or other issues. Cats don’t generally like visiting the vet, being adverse to leaving their comfy homes, but there are ways to make the process easier. Get them used to their carrier when they are kittens to teach them that it’s a safe, nice place to be — this will help you avoid having to dig them out from under the bed before a visit to the vet.
Responsible pet care involves getting them properly vaccinated. As soon as you adopt a new cat, you should schedule an appointment to get them immunized, and start them out on a schedule to protect them from illnesses and diseases.
Though most cats don’t need baths, as they stay relatively clean on their own, you should still take the time to brush or comb them regularly. This will help keep their coat clean and healthy, as well as reduce the amount of shedding.
Make sure you license your cats with your county (if required). If you know your cats will be outside, or you just want to take extra precaution, make sure they are equipped with a collar that has your contact information, their license, and their rabies tag. Additionally, it is advisable to microchip your pet if they weren’t already microchipped before you adopted them, as their collar could fall off. Microchips are small electronic devices that are implanted under your pet’s skin which has all your identification information on it. Should someone find your cat, a vet or someone from animal control can scan the microchip and retrieve your information. Giving your cat proper identification will go a long way to getting them returned to you if they get lost.
Spaying or neutering your cat not only prevents them from getting pregnant, but it also significantly reduces their chances of getting certain types of cancer. On top of that, it means they will be less likely to wander off in search of a mate, and it can lower the risk of aggression in some male cats. It also decreases the chance of your cat becoming a biter, and it also keeps male cats from spraying, which is their way of marking their territory.
Cats need to scratch! If you don’t want them scratching up all your furniture, get them a scratching post and also make sure to trim their nails every two to three weeks, so they stay blunt and cause less damage. Cats like both scratching posts and scratching pads. There are a lot of different types of scratching pads and ways to prevent your cat from scratching. However, we’ll save that for another article.
#7: Litter Box
More than just having a litter box, your cats need it to be appropriately located and well-maintained. Cats prefer quiet, easily accessible locations for their litter box. If you have a multi-floor house, a litter box for each floor is recommended. It’s important to keep in mind that cats don’t like using litter boxes that stink or are messy, and they may just choose to go somewhere else if their litter box is not properly cleaned. Scoop out their litter box out at least once a day if you have multiple cats, or once every other day if you only have one cat. At least once a month, you should also dump out the entire litter box and wash it thoroughly with a mild soap. If your cat refuses to use the litter box, consult with your local veterinarian for help.
#8: Get All The Necessary Cat Supplies
Here is a list of all the basic things your cat will need:
Brush & comb
Litter box and litter
Cat bed with a warm blanket
Scratching post or scratching pad
These things will help your cat stay healthy and happy throughout their life.
Play with your cat every day. Experiment with different types of toys for them to chase, stalk, and pounce on. When you can’t be around, lay out some cardboard boxes or handleless paper bags for them to play with unsupervised. To keep them interested, occasionally bring out or buy them new toys. Cats love getting up high on things, so make sure you have some perches for them as well. Cats are natural climbers!
#10: Healthy Food
One of the most basic things for taking care of your cat is to make sure they have access to cool water and healthy food at all times. There are so many different types of cat food out there, and it can be a daunting task to choose which type is best for them. As a general rule, look for food that has a good balance of protein, carbs, and fat, along with some fiber to help with digestion. Pet food also often comes in formulas based on your pet’s age, health condition, and other factors — so choose the type that is most suitable to your cat based on that information. However, if you are thinking of putting your cat on a specialized diet, make sure to speak with your vet first to get a second opinion.
Final Words on Taking Care of Your Cat
Cats are very independent, yet they do need love and care. If you are a soon-to-be cat owner or are thinking about getting more cats, make sure you have all the supplies and are thoroughly prepared and have planned out what is going to happen. These precious little creatures deserve to be treated with respect and lots of love. When you get your new cat, always make sure to bring it to your local cat vet. If you are in the Lowcountry, feel free to schedule an appointment at Carter Veterinary Services to get your cat vaccinated or schedule a check-up. We are also available 24/7, so if there is a cat-related emergency, we are here for you. Consider us your cat emergency clinic.