Caring for Cats All the Time
View more related buyers guides
Published by TOP4 Team
Caring for cats is much easier than for other pets, yet should still be learned. If you have a cat in your home or planning to have one, here are some tips for you.
Domestic cats need relatively little care, compared to other household pets, but you should make every effort to integrate your cat into the household. For example, call it to you for feeding at the same times each day - cats are generally creatures of routine, and will soon get into the habit of responding if conditioned to do so from kittenhood. It may be harder to form this type of bond with an adult cat.
Whatever type of cat you have, you should brush it daily to keep its coat in prime condition. Daily brushing will remove any tangles before they develop into solid matts, which will need to be cut out of the coat. Check also if there are any signs of flea dirt - which is often more conspicuous to the naked eye than the flea themselves - in the coat, and take action if necessary by treating your cat and its environment. Cats are generally fussy about grooming and washing themselves, so bathing is not normally necessary, unless you’re showing your cat or your vet recommends a medicated bath to treat parasites or a skin condition.
An Outdoor Run
Urban living becomes increasingly dangerous for cats, due to the growth of traffic on most roads and the free-ranging lifestyle of many individuals that leaves them at risk of being killed or badly injured by passing vehicles. While you can try to encourage your cat to stay indoors, another good option is to provide a spacious run in your garden. Your cat will be able to exercise and play safely during the day in this type of run, as well as get plenty of fresh air, and you can then bring it indoors at night.
Suitable ready-made runs and other equipment, such as safe heaters, are sold by cattery manufacturers. If possible, put down a solid concrete base for the run so that you can easily clean and disinfect the area.
In many towns and cities, owners keep their cats entirely indoors. The major problem can be boredom, which may lead to behavioural difficulties such as furniture scratching. One of the best ways to prevent a cat from becoming bored at home without human company all day is to provide a companion pet. If this is to be another cat, you should ideally start out with two kittens together as they’ll settle down and remain friendly, whereas an older and a younger individual may get on less well together.
You should make arrangements well in advance for your cat’s welfare during the holidays. Cats can’t be taken frequently abroad on holiday (as an anti-rabies precaution), and few hotels are geared to feline guests. In any case, most cats - apart from show cats, which become used to travelling from an early age - are poor travellers. In an unfamiliar environment, your cat can even go missing, which would certainly spoil your holiday. Nor will it always be possible or desirable for a neighbour to drop in to feed a cat left at home.
The best option when you go away is to take your cat to a good boarding cattery. There are many excellent establishments around, but standards can vary considerably, so it’s worth spending some time investigating the alternatives. Ask friends or your vet for recommendations, and visit all the catteries in your area before deciding which one to use. Remember to book in your cat well ahead because good catteries often get extremely busy, especially during the peak holiday periods.
Many pet owners worry about their cats settling in new homes, but remember that cats attach themselves to humans, not to property. However, to be safe, keep your cat confined to the house (with a litter tray always accessible) for the first two weeks. After this, you can allow it to go outside - preferably with you - for short periods which you can gradually increase. Most cats will not run off, but gradually move further afield, exploring their new environment and often pausing to sniff cautiously.
If you need professional help in caring for your cat, consider working with pet care experts in NSW.