Raising a Healthy Happy Cat

For the past few decades, cats have been America’s most popular pets. Their attractive appearance and typically affectionate nature have endeared them to the hearts of many, but perhaps the biggest factor in their popularity is the kind of lifestyles that modern people lead. Many don’t have an adequate yard, or live in close enough proximity to open spaces, to give a dog the exercise that it needs. A lot of households have two adults working and spending significant time away from home. Cats are easy to care for. They are small, quiet (usually), and don’t need to be taken out for walks. Their convenience has made them the pets of choice for people living in city apartments or other small dwellings.

Still, there is much more to quality pet care than simple housing and feeding. Though they are easily domesticated, cats are still wild on an instinctual level. Kittens born outside of human influence can find it difficult to adapt to civilized life; and even a cat that’s house broken will still live out its instincts in certain ways, like by being solitary and territorial. If you adopt a kitten, make sure that it’s been in contact with people since it was born. If a stray cat “adopts” you, take it to a veterinarian for vaccinations and a thorough checkup.

The modern pet food industry has made the task of feeding cats very simple. Pet foods are scientifically developed to be complete and balanced; they can be relied upon to a much greater degree than canned tuna and table scraps. Cats should be fed at a set time every day. Two meals for adults – one in the morning and one in the evening – are usually sufficient. Use your judgment when doling out portions: don’t leave it up to your pet. Cats have leftover feeding instincts from their days in the wild, when the quest for food dominated much of their time. Left to their own devices, many will eat too much and become overweight. This can shorten their life expectancy and cause other health problems.

Though they are more domesticated than dogs, cats aren’t happy when they’re always confined and denied any opportunities to exercise. They make begin to “exercise” in the house at the expense of furniture, curtains and valuables. Providing your cat with play toys, and devoting a little time to interaction (at least fifteen minutes or more) each day will provide it with a needed outlet.

Because they naturally dig holes to bury their droppings in the wild, cats grow accustomed to litter boxes quite easily. Be sure your box has at least 2 inches of kitty litter. A cat may refuse to use a box if there’s insufficient litter – or if it’s too close to where it eats. Keep your litter box as far away from your cat’s food and water as possible.

Longhaired cats should be brushed or combed with a special brush every day. They can swallow a lot of hair when they groom themselves; this makes furballs form in their stomachs, which can cause vomiting and constipation. Shorthaired cats can be effectively groomed with a single brushing or combing each week. Cats have few and simple basic needs, but if we make an effort to give them extra care and consideration it can result in their leading longer and happier lives.


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