Living with cats can be great, but what does a responsible cat owner need in order to look after their feline friend? Well that is what this page is all about. I want to share my experience plus the experiences of others when raising their feline friends.
Unlike dogs, cat can be relatively independent, and this independent nature makes them much easier to raise and train. There are 5 basic things that a cat needs in your home; a bed, a place to eat, a litter tray, a scratching post, and some toys (especially if they are a kitten). Having these 5 basic things in your home will ensure a great start to you and your cat’s new life together.
Cats can sleep in anything (especially a particularly nice show box), but it helps to have a designated bed for your feline friend, a sacred space where they can just be by themselves and sleep. You just want to make sure that it is big enough for the cat to fit in when fully grown. My cat liked to sleep under my bed, since she felt safe there (because I couldn’t find her to cuddle her).
Keeping your cat to a feed schedule is a great way to add stability to your cats life. Making sure you feed you cat age appropriate food is also a good way to keep your cat healthy. If you are confused by any of this just ask your vet next time you visit. I personally feed my cat dries in the morning and wet in the evening, and I make sure that she has easy access to water all day long.
For starters, most cats can litter train themselves, that is something I am yet to see a dog being able to do. Having easy access to a litter tray is a no-brainer, but try to situate it next to a window or in a well ventilated room, since if you don’t clean the litter tray regularly, it will start to smell. Cleaning it once a day in the morning is a good way to avoid this smell.
The Scratching Post
Cats naturally want to scratch things. It’s how they can leave their scent everywhere and maintain their claws. So you want to redirect that behaviour away from your furniture towards alternatives like one or two cat scratching posts. Cat condos are also a fun alternative and can offer more than just a place to scratch. Trimming your cats claws every two weeks is also an option, but, and I cannot stress this enough, DO NOT DE-CLAW YOUR CAT! This is a very damaging procedure and it can greeting impact your cat’s well-being. If you are that worried about your cat scratching your furniture to the point that you consider this, maybe you should not own a cat.
Playing with your cat using toys is a great way to bond. Kittens in particular need more play time than older cats as they practice their natural hunting skills. Toys can be a tricky things, since you could have all these store bought toys and the cat will only want to play with a piece of paper or a hair-tie. Every cat is different so a bit of trial and error may be needed in finding your cats perfect play thing. If your cat in an indoor cat, play time is more important since that is how your cat will get rid of its excess energy throughout the day (and hopefully keep it from scratching the furniture).
Things to Remember
- Cats live to be around 18 years, often longer, so you have to make sure as an owner you are able to make a long term commitment to your new feline family. If that is a concern, there are plenty of older cats in shelters that are in need of love, and they have the added benefit of being pre-house trained.
- There are a lot of costs when it comes to owning a cat. These include visits to the vet, pet insurance, food, litter, and other minor costs. The RSPCA estimated that it costs roughly $880 (AUD) a year to own a cat, which is roughly $73 a month, not including emergency trips to the vet. So while its not a huge expense (compared to owning a dog) it should be taken into account when planning to own a cat.
- Cats have a tendency to run on roads, so if you live on a busy street, it may be in your and your cats best interest if the cat is kept inside at all times.