The first thing to consider when choosing a cat is do you want a moggy or a pedigree. Moggies can be hardier but personalities are less easy to predict, while breed types do have their own personality traits and are also predisposed to certain hereditary and congenital conditions. Do you want long or short haired cat? Will a cat suit the whole family and your life style. Once you have decided on these things what other things are there to think about?
Depending on what age cat you get will depend on which life stage diet you will require.
For kittens it is critical to choose the correct food during the first year of life to promote healthy development. Over feeding a kitten will lead to adult obesity so you must follow the feeding guide.
Adult cats require a maintenance diet and there are several tailor made types available from Regular, Light, Hairball and so on. You'll need to choose the correct diet for your cats life style.
For senior cats will need to provide a senior diet, this takes into consideration the aging process of the cat and adjusts the nutritional requirements accordingly.
The choice of feeding wet or dry food is up to you, dry tends to promote better dental care but you will notice that the cat will drink more water - this is normal.
Make sure that you are feeding a good quality complete food and always follow the recommended feeding guide. Over feeding leads to obesity and onto further health problems that will reduce life expectancy.
Cats and milk Cats actually don't need milk and for some cats cows milk can cause diarrhoea, therefore if you want to give your cat milk then make sure it has been specially formulated for them. Whether you provide milk or not, water should still be available at all times.
This is an initial course of two injections three weeks apart, followed by yearly boosters. Vaccines cover the main diseases which are: Cat Flu, Enteritis and Leukaemia. These diseases are killers so make sure you keep vaccines up to date. More information about vaccines can be found on our vaccination page.
Cats are not required to wear a collar for id purposes, and in some respect they are not always appropriate as they can hang themselves on branches and various other obstacles that might get in their way, not to mention collar injuries under armpits and around mouths that can occur. The alternative would be microchipping and more information can be found on our microchip page.
Exercise And Training
Cats need exercise to stimulate mental health, prevent boredom and prevent obesity. They need to hunt, climb, scratch and sleep - this is the natural behaviour of a cat and therefore this must be accommodated for especially if you wish it keep the cat indoors.
Hunting skills, climbing and scratching can all be provided for through play in the form of toys, activity centres and scratch posts.
For kittens you'll need to aim to spend at least 20 minutes a day of interactive play.
Because cats love to climb or get into hiding places don't forget to cat proof your home.
Toilet training Cats are naturally clean and the chance are that any kitten you get will already have learned how to use a litter tray. But if you experience difficulties then show your kitten where the tray is and put the kitten in there after meals and also if you see it sniffing around, crouching or generally behaving like it needs to go.
Keep litter trays away from food or sleeping areas and make sure it's somewhere reasonably private.
Litter trays need to be emptied regularly as cats don't like using dirty trays and may go off to find an inappropriate place around the house if no other options are available. If you find yourself cleaning up urine areas around the house make sure that you use a cleaning product specially designed for the job as regular cleaning products contain ammonia products which will attract the cat back to that site to re-offend. Cats recognise ammonia as another cat scenting they territory.
A point to remember on the human side here is Toxoplasmosis so if you are female and considering pregnancy then strict hygiene is a must, wear rubber gloves and wash hands thoroughly afterwards.
Worm, flea and tick prevention are good personal hygiene routines to have. Not only do they lead towards health problems for cats if not treated, but also they can cause health problems in humans. The frequency will depend on your cats life style.
When it comes to kittens they are not actually born with worms but they can become infected while feeding from the mother therefore it is very important to start a worming regime as soon as the kitten is old enough. If left untreated it will lead to poor development and a life threatening intestinal blockage.
Make a point of regularly checking your cat from head to toe. By grooming your animal on a regular basis you will make yourself familiar with any thing that is abnormal and by doing this will also get the cat used to being handled. Remember long haired breeds will require more frequent grooming than short haired breeds.
Dental care is important to all animals and should be encouraged from an early age on a regular basis; this is to help reduce dental disease and loss of teeth in the years to come. The build up of tartar encourages bacteria to pass from the gums into the blood stream spreading further infection around the body. Always use a toothpaste specially designed for animals as human products cause digestive upsets as they are not designed to be ingested.
This reduces the risk of unwanted litters, also reduces the urge to fight with other cats in the neighbourhood therefore the cat will be less likely to get infected with infectious diseases such as FeLV and FIV. More information about neutering is on our neutering page.
Cats cost money on a regular basis whether it be food, worm or flea treatment, vaccinations, bowls, toys, bedding etc... But what about unexpected vet bills due to illness or an accident. This is where pet insurance comes in and it's worth looking into the right policy. More information can be found on our pet insurance page.
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