Cats are popular indoor pets. Though domestic cats spend about 70 percent of their day sleeping, they do like to play and can even be trained to do tricks. If you are considering cat ownership, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Once you have decided that you want a cat, the next thing to consider is whether you want a kitten or an older cat. Kittens may have an easier time adjusting to your home and routine since everything will be new to them. However, older cats, if they are a good match for you and your home, can make good pets as well.
The best time to place a kitten in a new home is between 8 and 12 weeks old. Most small cats will know how to use a litter box if they have spent time with their mother for the first few weeks. Feed your kitten at regular times and in one specific place. With so many kinds of food available, the choice of what to feed your cats can be overwhelming. It is helpful to ask your veterinarian to steer you in the right direction. If you have other pets, make their first introduction to each other a quick one. They will probably work things out themselves in a week or so.
Cats like to play, so buy or create some appropriate toys for your new pet. Small balls, string, or wadded up pieces of paper can be fun for a kitten to play with and are better than using your hands or clothing for play. Though he is small now, your adorable kitten will soon be an adult cat, and you do not want him to become aggressive.
The Cat Fanciers’ Association recognizes 41 breeds of cats. According to them, some of the most popular kinds are Persian, Maine Coon and Siamese. Most pet cats, however, are of mixed breeding and fall into the general category of “domestic.” Unless you purchase your cat from a breeder and have papers to prove its background, you will probably not know its pure breed.
Can cats be trained?
Though we don’t usually think of teaching cats to do tricks, it is possible. Since they spend so much time indoors, cats often get bored. While many cats are content to cuddle in a chair with their owners, some experts suggest that cats can learn tricks like sitting on command or jumping through a hoop. These tricks are entertaining for people to see and also provide purposeful behavior for the cat.
More common types of training for cats include staying off the countertops, using a scratching post, and staying out of the trash. You can teach these behaviors to your cat with a little effort. Cats do not like to be surprised, so if you catch your cat engaging in unacceptable behavior, make a sudden loud noise such as clapping or hissing. Hitting your cat will make if fearful of you and will not help in the training process.
Cats generally do an excellent job of keeping themselves clean, but your cat will need some help from you in other areas of grooming. Help prevent hairballs by brushing your cat regularly or try a product that is explicitly made to alleviate hairballs. Though you shouldn’t have to bathe your cat often, it may become necessary on occasion. If he gets his fur especially dirty or if you need to reduce allergens, you may wash your cat using warm water and cat shampoo. Make sure it is scorched afterward, as cats can catch a cold easily.
It is also essential to examine your cat’s eyes, ears, mouth, and nose regularly. A cat’s eyes should be bright, with no redness or discharge, and its nose should be calm and damp. Make sure the ears are clean and dry and that the mouth is odorless with pink gums. Since cats cannot let you know when they are not feeling well, these exams allow you to keep track of their health and find any illness before it progresses very far.
Spaying and Neutering
Part of being a responsible cat owner is having your animal spayed or neutered. Female cats are spayed, which means that their reproductive organs are surgically removed. This can be done after a cat is six months old, or in between heats. Male cats are neutered, which involves the removal of its testicles. If all cat owners took the time to spay or neuter their animals, fewer cats would be abandoned or put down each year.
Contrary to popular belief, neutering a cat does not change its personality. There is some concern that the procedure will lead to obesity since metabolic changes do occur afterward. However, by keeping a careful watch on the cat’s diet and encouraging playful activity, you can prevent additional weight gain in your cat. Due to the existing overpopulation of cats, spaying, or neutering, your cat is strongly encouraged.
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