Cat Care Guide
Owning a cat will be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things you will ever do.
To enjoy all the benefits of owning a cat, it is vital you take these steps to ensure they stay healthy and happy.
Owning a cat
While it’s exciting bringing a new cat home, remember the environment is new and cats get extremely scared and stressed. Act calm and allow your cat to explore on their own. They may not want to play or interact with you for several days. Don’t worry; they will come around in their own time.
Provide a warm, soft and cosy area for your cat to feel secure.
Cats are not little dogs and should not be fed dog food. They are ‘obligate carnivores’ and require more protein and other nutrients than dogs. Wet food is fine but it is important to always feed some dry food too, as it’s much better for your cat’s teeth!
Feed your cat once or twice a day. Premium adult cat food is full of the right nutrients in the right proportions, unlike many supermarket foods. Make sure you give your cat the correct portion of food each day and avoid topping up the bowl every time they meow or ask for more, as this can easily make your cat overweight.
Scratching is a natural behaviour that cats are motivated to do. It is important to provide your kitten with appropriate scratching resources, especially for cats with no outdoor access. This will help to stop them scratching in the future.
Ensure your cat is vaccinated
Cats are at risk of a number of serious diseases, including feline enteritis, feline respiratory diseases and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) - similar to the AIDS virus.
These diseases are debilitating and can be fatal, so vaccinating against them is vital.
Your cat should have been vaccinated as a kitten, so yearly boosters should be sufficient. If you have any doubts about your cat’s vaccination status, an immediate course of two injections, four weeks apart is required except FIV vaccinations, which follow a course of three injections, each two weeks apart.
Your cat should be wormed every three months for life. The most common intestinal worms include roundworm, hookworm and tapeworm. Worm treatments are easy to administer and come in the form of a tablet, paste or spot on.
Protect against fleas
Fleas carry tapeworm and can cause severe scratching and allergic reactions, known as Flea Allergy Dermatitis.
Protect your cat with a good quality flea control product on a monthly basis, all year round.
Heartworm – is it required?
Cats are about 2,000 times more resistant to heartworm than dogs, meaning the general consensus is that it’s less vital to protect against them in cats.
However, heartworm disease has been associated with sudden death in cats, so prevention is available and advised.
A microchip is a permanent identification device implanted under the skin, allowing a quick and easy return if your cat ever gets lost.
Pet microchipping is mandatory in most Australian states. Your cat can be microchipped at any age but the earlier the better. Microchipping is quick and easy, causing very little discomfort.
As well as microchipping, it’s a good idea to purchase an I.D tag for your cat’s collar, engraved with their name and your contact number. This will also increase their chance of finding their way home if they ever get lost!
This is a common behaviour in adult male cats when they’re ‘marking their territory’ or stressed.
Firstly, ensure your male cat is de-sexed. If he sprays an area, clean it thoroughly with a biological detergent or spray.
If spraying reoccurs, consult your vet, as there are special pheromone sprays and diffusers that may help.
Due to various health and behaviour problems it is highly recommended your cat is desexed at five to six months of age. This will not change the personality of your cat. Female cats can get pregnant as early as five months old, so it’s best not to let them outdoors until they are desexed.
Keeping your cat indoors at night
Most traffic accidents involving cats happen at night. Keeping your cat inside during the hours of darkness will help keep them safe. Cats are nocturnal animals and are most active at night when they love to hunt and fight other cats. One of the most common illnesses seen in cats are abscesses caused by fighting - this is usually when FIV is transmitted. Keep your cat indoors from dusk until sunrise to ensure they stay out of trouble. Many councils will also enforce fines if your cat is found roaming at night.
Cat check list
✓ Flea & tick control
✓ Premium food
✓ Litter & tray
✓ Food & water bowls
✓ Treats & toys
✓ Collar ID tag
✓ Grooming brush
✓ Council registration
✓ Secure cat carrier
✓ Scratching post
Article supplied by PETstock