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How To Be A Great Cat Owner

January 15, 2024

Our feline friends are known for being one of the easiest pets to keep. You won’t have to walk or train your kitty, and she’ll take care of her own grooming needs. Most cats also spend a rather ridiculous amount of time sleeping, which also helps make them easy keepers. However, Fluffy needs more than fresh water and kibble to stay happy and healthy. A local Wheat Ridge, CO vet offers some advice on being a great cat owner in this article.

Keep Your Cat Inside

Cats are bold and adventurous, but you’ll need to restrict your furry little adventurer’s explorations. As soon as Fluffy goes outside, she’s exposed to a wide range of hazards. These include cars, weather, chemicals, stray cats, predators, parasites, and, unfortunately, some people. 

There’s also the fact that our feline friends are, well, fluffy little serial killers. Fluffy has been proven guilty of killing many types of animals, including several threatened species. Grounding your pet will also help protect local wildlife.

Make Your Home Cat-Friendly

Cats are quite versatile when it comes to living quarters: they can be equally happy in a small bedroom or a huge mansion. However, whether you live in a mansion or are trying out van life, you’ll want to take a few steps to make it cat friendly.

One thing that will help is adding some cat furniture. A good scratching post or board is a must! Your kitty will also appreciate a cat tower: this will provide not only a scratching post, but also a lookout point, napping spot, and jungle gym.

Fluffy will also appreciate vantage points and things to explore. A comfy window seat can keep a cat occupied for hours. Birdwatching is one of Fluffy’s favorite activities! If you want to go all-out, make your pet a catio or even an enclosure!

Keep Your Cat Happy

Keeping your kitty entertained will go a long way towards keeping her content. Provide a variety of playthings, and try to make a habit of playing with your cat every day.

Our feline pals are hunters by nature, so they are instinctively driven to mimic the hunting behaviors and skills that would help them score dinner in the wild. Pouncing and jumping are both work and play for these little balls of fur. It’s always cute seeing Fluffy pouncing on and chasing after things!

Keep in mind that cats all have their own individual tastes. Some like wand toys, some want catnip mice, some want to chase that little red dot from a laser pointer, and some are purrfectly happy playing hockey with an ice cube or bottlecap. Experiment a bit, and see what your kitty likes. If you have multiple pets, offer a variety. Mittens and Gizmo may have completely different tastes!

Keep Up With Your Cat’s Veterinary Care

Cats are fairly hardy, but they aren’t nearly as invincible as they think. In fact, these little furballs are quite small and fragile. Proper veterinary care is a must! 

First things first: we recommend that all cats be microchipped and spayed or neutered. This ideally should happen while your cat is still young, but the procedures can also be safely performed on adult Kitties.

Wellness care is crucial, and can protect your pet from a vast array of dangerous parasites and diseases. Fluffy will need the core vaccines, which include rabies; (FCV) feline calicivirus; (FHV-1) feline herpesvirus-1; (FPV) feline panleukopenia; and, for Cats under a year old, (FeLV) feline leukemia. Your vet may also recommend some non-core vaccines, such as (FeLV) for kitties older than one year), Chlamydia felis, and Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccines.

It’s also important for you to keep up with your furry friend’s parasite control. This is important even with indoor kitties: parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitos can and do get inside. There are many different products to choose from, so talk to your vet to determine what the best option is for you and your feline pal.

Keep an eye out for signs of sickness. Our feline buddies can be tricky here, as they tend to try and hide symptoms until their conditions have become quite severe. Some signs that Fluffy isn’t feeling well can be quite subtle, so it’s important to pay close attention.

Here are a few things to watch for:

  • Litterbox Avoidance
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Discharge
  • Reduced Appetite
  • Poor Grooming
  • Withdrawal
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Grumpiness
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Disorientation
  • Uncharacteristic Behavior Or Vocalizations

Contact your veterinary clinic right away if you spot anything amiss. The sooner an issue is diagnosed and treated, the better! 

Give Your Cat A High-Quality Food

Feeding a kitty isn’t exactly rocket science. However, there are some things to consider. Your kitty’s exact dietary needs should be based on her age, health, and lifestyle. You will also have a few decisions to make, such as whether to feed your cat wet food or kibble, and whether to free feed her or give her her meals at specific times. 

That said, choosing the right brand may be the trickiest part. Companies have got advertising gimmicks down to a science, so many manufacturers employ slick tactics to help their products look like the best. Get into the habit of reading labels. As with human products, pet food manufacturers must label their products in certain ways. The ingredient that is listed first is the key ingredient, proportionally. Meat, fish, or poultry should be listed first and more often than other ingredients. Avoid brands with long ingredients lists that read like science projects. 

Fresh water is also a must. Consider getting your adorable pet a kitty drinking fountain: many of our feline companions prefer to drink running water.

Keep Your Cat Safe By Petproofing

Our feline buddies don’t actually have nine lives, but it’s not too hard to see where this misconception came from. Fluffy has a knack for getting into—and sometimes narrowly escaping—mischief.

Keep up with petproofing! This entails removing or securing anything that isn’t safe for her. That list includes anything small or sharp, such as beads, buttons, safety pins, jewelry, and small toy parts; plastic bags and ties; anything ropy or stringy, and toxic plants. 

Chemicals and medications are another big concern. Poisonings are one of the biggest reasons for emergency visits, and, sadly, are one of the main causes of death for household pets.

Here are some things that are toxic to our feline friends:

  • Automotive products
  • Fertilizer
  • Cleaning agents
  • Paint
  • Drain openers
  • Detergents
  • Pesticides
  • Rodenticides
  • Bug Spray
  • Medicines, whether prescription or OTC

Keep in mind that kitties only need to walk through a puddle of chemical cleaner or get a little spilled on their fur to be in trouble. Ask your Wheat Ridge, CO vet for more information. 

Make Your Cat Feel Loved

Cats are very emotional little furballs, and they can get extremely attached to their humans. It’s important for your feline buddy to feel loved and safe. 

The biggest way to do this? Just pay attention to your cute pet! Spend time with Fluffy every day. Many cats are lap cats, who love curling up on their humans as we are reading or watching TV. Indulge those cute requests for lap space.

Even just talking to your feline pal can get that motor going. Some kitties will talk back, while others will just listen. Your feline pal will know that you are trying to communicate with her, which is the key thing. That will definitely help with bonding. 

Do you have questions about cat care? Contact us, your local Wheat Ridge, CO pet hospital, anytime!