Cats make wonderful companions and can be great pets, but they require careful consideration before you bring one home. With an average lifespan of 15-20 years, owning a cat is a long-term commitment, and their needs should be taken into account.
It is important to check your local council’s regulations regarding things like night curfews, compulsory containment within a property, desexing, and microchipping before bringing your cat or kitten home.
A cat’s housing needs are relatively simple, and they will usually find a place where they feel safe and protected indoors or outdoors. Indoor cats generally live longer and lead healthier lives, it is worthwhile considering a cat enclosure for outdoor cats, this will keep them safe from other animals and protect local wildlife.
If you are bringing home an older cat or already have cats in your household, using Feliway and Feliway Friends sprays and diffusers can help reinforce cat confidence and reduce the need to mark areas and new objects as safe and secure.
Provide a scratching post for your cat to keep their claws in good condition for climbing and defending themselves. This will also reduce the chances of your furniture being scratched.
Cats like to be clean at all times, so they can easily be toilet trained with a litter tray filled with dry earth, sand, or cat litter. The litter tray should be cleaned daily to remove faeces, and the litter itself changed frequently. Ensure the litter tray is placed in a quiet and private location, and consider having multiple trays if you have more than one pet cat.
All cats need exercise, and providing climbing opportunities and perching locations can help keep them active and engaged. Indoor cats will benefit from having a scratch pole or indoor cat gym to provide an effective alternative to furniture.
Grooming is important for cats to remove excess hair and reduce the chances of furballs/hairballs and matted/tangled fur. Short-haired cats are typically able to groom themselves adequately, but long-haired cats require daily grooming by their owners. During the moulting season, daily brushing is essential, and food designed specifically to assist with the reduction of hairballs can help your cat process shed hair.
Feeding small amounts often is recommended, as most cats are grazers. They require a high protein and fat diet, and there are many formulations of cat food available. Discussing your cat’s individual nutritional needs with your veterinarian can help you choose the most suitable formula.
Ensure a fresh water bowl is accessible at all times, especially if your cat has a dry food diet. While many cats love to drink cow’s milk, it’s not recommended as they can be lactose intolerant and experience stomach upsets.
Cats require a minimum of one health check per year, including routine vaccinations, worming, and flea control. Regular visits can help diagnose, treat, or prevent health problems before they become life-threatening. Your veterinarian can also provide additional guidance on nutrition, behavior, training, and life-stage treatments available to help keep your cat in optimum mental and physical health.