The beauty, pride and the fulfilment that comes with owning a cat cannot be overemphasised. Cats are ranked comfortably among the most lovable creatures in the world. They are easily trainable in that they can comfortably adapt to your home and become more like a part of the family within a very short time. In terms of popularity, cats cannot just be pushed aside. There are about 88 million cats in the United States alone compared to 74 million dogs.
However, owning and raising a cat successfully does not come without its numerous challenges. One has to have an in-depth understanding of cats and their behaviours to ride above those challenges. Not understanding your cat or its various demands can really pose a great risk to your pet and even the other members of your family. The following tips will ensure a stress free transition for your, your family, and that special cat in your life.
10 important things you need to know
- Be prepared for a life-long commitment:
As a cat owner you must be ready and prepared to continue caring for your cat for many years. This is because cats have a fairly long life-span. The average life-span of a cat can be as long as 20 years. So you must be ready to provide all the necessary things such as food, shelter, love and other important care for the entire duration of the cat’s life. It is important also to note that rigorous changes such as switching owners or moving into a new apartment can be really stressful for your cat.
- Be ready to give maximum care:
Most popular pets require a whole lot of attention from their owners. Cats are not in any way different. Take time to study your cat and understand its unique and peculiar body languages. Do not hesitate to cuddle and stroke the body of your cat whenever you have the chance. Devote time each day to give your cat all the needed attention and it will love you for it.
- Commit to keeping your cat indoors:
Another astonishing thing to know about cats is that cats perform better in all areas when they are kept indoors, than when they are allowed to roam freely outside the house. The truth is: cats do not actually need to go out. Cats that are kept within the house have been proven to live longer than cats that spend most of their lives outside. Also, when cats spend too much time outside, they are at risk of contacting diseases or even being harmed or killed by other animals. Ensure you keep them inside and provide them with food, water, a stimulating environment, and ensure the house is well ventilated.
- Be prepared for the financial implication:
Well, just like any other pet, owning and raising a cat comes with its own cost. The average yearly cost of keeping your darling pet can range from anywhere from $800 to $1000. This includes the cost of food, litter, toys and regular medical care. You may also have to cough out about $250 to $2000 when it comes to emergency care or treating a severe illness.
- Make adequate preparation for your cat’s reception:
Yes, this is really important. When it comes to taking your cat home for the first time and introducing it to its new home, you need to pay great attention to detail. Make sure that all the necessary supplies are already on ground. These supplies include quality food, water, litter and litter box (glass or ceramic), toys, a scratching post, and for trips to the vet, you need a carrier bag.
- Make your house a safe haven for your cat:
Before you take your cat home, one of the things you need to do is that you need to remove anything that could harm your cat. This can be any poisonous plant, plastic or shopping bags, twines, chemical cleaners and ribbon. For vital and detailed information on household items that can harm your cat, you can get in touch with ASPCA Poison Control Hotline (888-426-4435).
- Carefully introduce your cat to your household:
Take proper care in trying to introduce your new pet to your household, especially if you have a baby at home. Allow your cat to gently explore all the nooks and cranny of its new home. This is to ensure that the cat feels secure and at home. If you have children at home, it is important to teach them how to play with the cat. You should also teach them how to recognize and interpret the typical body languages of the cat. For instance, they need to understand that when the cat’s ears are back, when it keeps growling or hissing continually, then it’s time to leave the pet and just let it be.
- Properly introduce your cat to its litter box:
Make sure you put the litter box in a strategic location; and also ensure that the cat is able to get into it. There should also be enough space for it to play and do its normal things like sniffing, squatting, digging, and so on. Once the location of the litter box is established don’t change it.
- Make provision for a scratching post:
Scratching is a behaviour that is common to every cat and should be properly handled by making provision for appropriate equipments that can be scratched. A scratching pole made of soft wood can be mounted on a stable base that is firm enough. The scratching pole should be a minimum of three inches high so your cat can stretch its leg fully.
- Take time to groom your cat:
One thing that is a part of the life of every cat is self-grooming. But you should still create time to groom your cat by brushing it with a soft brush so as to maintain a shining and attractive coat.