A prospective cat owner should realize that having a cat in the house
will make a difference. Even the most independent of cats will
require your time and attention, as well as care and affection. If
you feel you don't want to be bothered to give this to your cat, then you
should choose a different pet, or no pet at all. A cat can provide a
comforting presence, both emotionally and psychologically. The cat also
has a need for the presence of its human companion. Cats need and require
love and security. Also they require thought and the providing of food,
water, change of litter and some grooming, depending on the type and breed
of cat. Some require more caring for than others. Cats adjust readily to
household routines and are relatively easy to care for. They train themselves as
kittens to use a litter box. They will usually accept almost any reasonable
diet of foot, and are not as finicky as their reputation would make you think.
Cats come in many breeds, colors and personalities. Look around before
acquiring one. Consider the various sources to acquire a cat. If you consult
a breeder, be sure it is a reputable one. One of the best ways to choose
a cat is to visit the local animal shelter and find a kitten or cat in need
of a home. Shelters also make certain that the animals are healthy, have all
their needed immunizations, and have been spayed or neutered before you are
able to adopt.
If you are interested in a kitten, the best age to acquire one is about two
months. Kittens this age are usually weaned and completely housebroken, and do
better away from their mother than when younger. A kitten should have its
own carrier from the start, as well as a warm box for sleeping quarters.
He or she may choose a favorite place, but it's best to provide something
One of the first things to do is to choose a veterinarian. A complete exam once a year is
advisable for an adult cat, and more often for a kitten, until all immunizations are
completed. Keep the phone number and address of the vet handy by the phone. And take a look
at the numerous books on the market with information on cats and their care. Many questions
can be answered without calling the vet, if there is no serious problem or acute emergency.
Box or bed with blankets or towels for sleeping.
Carrier for travel.
Water dish and food dish - two separate containers.
Scratching post or box - to protect your furniture and woodwork from claws. One type is a corrugated box within an oblong box container, filled with catnip, and inexpensive. Cats seem to love it! Rough pieces of wood from outside sometimes work well.
Litter box, plastic liners, and litter - experience with which kind works best for you and your cat. Scoopable litter is slightly more expensive, but is worth it in my opinion. It seems to control odor much better than the regular type. There is a great invention --- an automated cat litter box which is activated when the cat has visited. It scoops automatically into a container which can be dumped later. Cats want a clean box to use every time and this insures that. Although it is relatively expensive, it is worth considering, especially if you have more than one cat or simply don't like to scoop!
Comb and brush for grooming.
Collar and identification tag - usually from a mail order company. Ask your veterinary office for details and addresses.
Nail clippers - Clipping nails is a tricky job at first, but ask your vet to show you how. If you want to protect your furniture, it is much better and safer for the cat to clip nails rather than de-claw. De-clawing can be painful and dangerous, and is definitely not recommended.
Anderson, Niki, "What My Cat Has Taught Me About Life." Honor Books, Tulsa, OK, 3rd printing, 1997.
Carr, Samuel, "The Poetry of Cats." Longmeadow Press, Stamford, CT, 1991.
Edney, Andrew, B. V. M., "The ASPCA Complete Cat Care Manuel." Dorling Kindersley Inc., New York, 1992.
Johnson, Norman H., D. V. M., with Saul Galin, "The Complete Kitten and Cat Book," Galahad Books, New York, 1993.
Taylor, David, "You & Your Cat." Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1992.
© 1997-2001 Ann Johnson Donovan. All Rights Reserved. EMAIL
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