General Care For Cats

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General Care For Cats
The everyday important stuff

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Bringing a new cat or kitten into your home can be exciting. Whether you’re a first-time pet owner, or you’re thinking about welcoming another animal into your home, there are many things to consider before adopting or purchasing a feline companion.

“Before adopting or purchasing a cat, you should consider the time and financial commitment of pet ownership,” said Dr. Sarah Griffin, lecturer at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Additionally, you should determine if your lifestyle is suitable for responsible pet ownership.”

For example, if you are thinking about adopting a kitten, you should be able to provide the kitten with at least three wellness visits to a veterinarian for vaccines and deworming, Griffin said. Additionally, Griffin recommended kittens be spayed or neutered when they are six to nine months of age and given monthly flea, intestinal parasite, and heartworm prevention, whether the kitten lives primarily indoors or outdoors.

Cats should also be given these treatments to prevent the spread of certain diseases. Griffin recommended cats visit the veterinarian for wellness visits semiannually to annually. “It is important to treat cats for fleas and other parasites because fleas can spread disease,” Griffin said. “Some intestinal parasites can even cause zoonotic disease, meaning the disease can be transmitted from animals to people.

Additionally, heartworms can cause permanent heart and lung damage to cats, so it is important to provide preventative care against heartworms.”

Another important factor to consider before purchasing or adopting a cat is diet. Providing a well-balanced and nutritious diet plays a key role in your feline’s health. “I recommend feeding cats high-quality dry and canned food,” Griffin stated. “It’s important to introduce both types of food to kittens in case they require a special diet when they get older. Look for The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) label on food before purchasing it to ensure quality.” If you have any questions regarding feline nutrition, ask your veterinarian for guidance.

If you are considering bringing a cat into your home, you should also be prepared for their natural behaviors, such as scratching. Scratching may not be conducive to an indoor domesticated lifestyle, so cat owners should give their cat an outlet for this behavior, such as through a scratching post. Other options for cat owners include declawing their cat. However, declawing should only be done after failed attempts to prevent the cat from using its claws destructively or when its claws present a health risk to the owner, Griffin said. Some possible ways to stop destructive scratching include trimming the claws weekly, giving the cat plenty of scratching posts or other items made for cats to scratch, or placing temporary synthetic nail caps on the claws, Griffin said.

Another factor to consider for potential cat owners is the responsibility of cleaning litter boxes. Litter boxes should be cleaned daily and fresh litter should be used weekly to every other week, Griffin said. “I recommend having one more litter box than cat in the home. For example, if you have two cats, you should have three litter boxes,” she said.

Cats should naturally use a clean litter box that is in a quiet part of the home and is well separated from the cat’s food and water. If inappropriate urination occurs, or the cat is not using the litter box, this could be a sign of a medical or behavioral condition. Talk to your veterinarian to determine the best solution to this problem.

Whether you are an experienced pet owner or beginning a new journey in the world of pet ownership, be sure to review and understand the responsibilities of a kitten or a cat. Pets fully depend on their owners for food, love, and care, so it is important to be completely committed before adopting or purchasing a new furry friend.

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Comments (3)

I'm am so outraged that you have published a recent article that says it is ok to declaw a cat if you're other attempts have failed. That's complete B.S. It is a barbaric procedure that amputates most or all of the last bone of the cats' toes. It's not just permanently clipping the cat's nails. It's a barbaric procedure, and some vets to the quicker version which costs less but then ends up causing more pain & complications then the other method, but they both cause the cats pain and complications. I've had cats all my life, and there is no reason at all to declaw them, that is completely for people who are entirely ignorant about cats. I have been scratched, I just recently adopted a new kitten when one of my older cats, who at 14, died from cancer a year ago. And I have a severe autoimmune disease as well, but I wash the scratch with soap and water immediately and in all the years I've had my disease (over 20) I've never had a problem. And from the start always play with your cats with toys, never your hands, and if she/he goes for them, redirect. We have all kinds of scratching posts and trees and different styles, and they use all of of them, each preferring one a little more, but having a variety is key. We also clip their nails twice a month, which seems to work well. My other older cat who is now 13 will only start to scratch on a piece of furniture if her nails are too long and we had put off clipping them for some reason, life happens, so sometimes you don't always follow your schedule. But no cats have ever destroyed a piece of my furniture in all my years, which is over 35 years that I've had cats, and it's been different cats of course over the years; the main thing is you need to regularly clip their nails, provide many cat scratching options and know that it's a myth that you don't need to play with your cat. Yes they are not dogs but they need mental stimulation of all kinds when they are not sleeping, which yes they do a lot but not all day. When my older cat was a kitten I found that she knew just what to do that we didn't want her to do, and ONLY would do it when she was bored, because she knew she would get our attention. Cats are extremely intelligent, and learn quickly and need to learn good behaviors which is completely possible, and to even suggest as a last resort to declaw is unbelievable to me. It is completely inhumane and the myth that people use that those cats would not be adopted if they hadn't been declawed has been proven over and over again to be false. And actually it's the opposite. Since it's actually amputating part of their body, which also is an extremely important part of their natural behaviors, not only are many declawed cats in extreme pain afterwards, so that they won't use the litter box b/c the materials hurt their paws, and then they act out in behavioral in many negative ways. All across the U.S. people, including many vets especially, are trying to ban this barbaric procedure. It's like docking dogs' ears etc., completely unnecessary and only is done for the owners' sake, often who doesn't understand what the procedure is, and unaware of the consequences afterwards. I've seen more cases of regret and horror for declawing their cats by owners than I can count. And then the owners end up getting rid of the cats since they aren't using the litter box, and often acting at aggressively or in other negative ways, because you've taken away a huge part of what is natural for the cat, and then even more they are also in pain. There are angel vets out there who try to somehow undue some of the damage that the declawing has done, since some vets do the easier cheaper way more often which causes more problems afterwards; so that they can try to ease the pain of these poor cats. And hopefully some kind-hearted soul will adopt them. But you can't undue a declaw procedure so the damage is done forever. This is "Modern" cat magazine, yet you print an article for new cat owners that should be from the dark ages. After reading this I think I will unsubscribe, unless you retract this article and put a new one in it's place actually explaining what really declawing a cat does and all the problems these cats have afterwards and there is no good reason to do it. If you are so worried about a piece of your furniture then you shouldn't adopt a cat, or even a dog, because more dogs do damage to the house then cats, which also makes me wonder why people don't push for declawing dogs, you have the same reasons for wanting it I guess, so they don't scratch or mess up your furniture. But I don't know the anatomy of a dog so maybe you can't do it or you will end up having to amputate your dog's legs or something. Or maybe there is just more ignorance when it comes to cats. Please, Please retract this article and give good information and the actual horror of declawing. I can't believe you're contributing to the spread of saying that it is ok. It is horrifying to me.
Thu, 02/16/2017 - 12:50
I am completely with you Marianne Cassidy, I was gobsmacked when I read they suggest declawing as it is a very invasive procedure. Look if you don't want your precious things scratched up, do cats a favor and don't get one! I am immune-compromised, I had a bone marrow transplant from a brother and take immune-surpressants daily but I would never declaw my cats!!
Thu, 02/16/2017 - 18:15
Thank you Debbie for also speaking out against the suggestion that this article put forth that it was ok to declaw. I appreciate the support and that there are others who see it as cruel and unnecessary as well. However, I really wanted someone from this magazine to address this issue with this article and so far have heard nothing. I don't know if they ever bother to read these comments so I also discussed what I said here on their facebook page, and how I was upset by this specific article targeting new cat owners in this recent newsletter. However, I only got one like to my comment by someone I don't know, so they have also not bothered to respond there either. I'm giving it some time to see if they will but if they do not respond, as in the way of a responsible and humane cat owner, and make an effort to put the real information out there about the procedure, what it really is, as well as the negative effects that cats experience, many for the rest of their lives I think that will be it for me. I've heard too many stories of first time cat owners who just checked the box along with spaying/neutering and first shots, since they thought that's what their vet was recommending and they received no information from their doctors about the declawing procedure and the "side effects." It broke my heart, along with these poor people who never would have intentionally done this had they known all the facts, but they were naive so left it to the "expert," who sadly in some cases were more concerned about the money. Then they ended up with a totally different cat, and many decided to give back to the rescue groups, etc. Because in those cases the owners hadn't even complained about the cat's scratching, they just thought that was one of the things a new owner does when adopting a cat. So that's why this also really bothered me since they were aiming this information at new owners, who usually don't know a lot about cats. So, if neither happens then I think I will unsubscribe to this magazine newsletter and not follow them on facebook. They are plenty of sites dedicated to modern cat products and also information about all aspects about cats and their care. I don't want to support anyone that even says declawing is OK as a last resort. People who don't have all the necessary information about the many options to provide your cat with scratching posts, how to clip their nails, regularly, and even behavioral training, b/c cats do need mental stimulation, this and more needs to be discussed especially with new cat owners since sadly people are want quick & easy fixes and if they don't understand this procedure they will end up regretting their ignorance afterwards. Which is why they need to know all about the procedure and it's negative affects on cats afterwards. So, yes I definitely believe Modern Cat Magazine needs to address this and make a retraction from that first article or at the least explain how painful the procedures are and what can happen to their cats afterwards, all the behavioral issues, especially about not using the litter box, as well as the cat often becoming more aggressive. So thanks again for speaking up with me. I appreciate that a lot.
Mon, 02/20/2017 - 02:30

Cat of the Week!

Meet: Mr No Ears