Are you ready as an individual and as a family?
Think broadly about this important step. To have a cat in your family is a lifetime commitment. Cat are perceptive creatures and your cat deserves to be a member of your family rather than being a "one-day wonder". If you are thinking about adopting a cat for a while and that it's the right time, keep reading. As your cat is going to be a part of your family, there are some questions that you should ask yourself and your family members to share this commitment with them and to make it work.
Even if they don't seem like that cats are quite social animals and they love to attract people's attention. Alone and unattended cats will drop into bad habits to spend time. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to be at your cat's back and call. Playing with and petting him for 15 minutes everyday will make the difference between a happy cat and a hell raising one.
Are you ready financially?
Adopting a cat is like having a baby. This means that you should be ready for the costs of a cat owner's responsibility. You don't want to neglect health and other needs of your cat as you don't want to do so for your child.
Is your home ready?
Having a cat in the house is like having a child. Both are curious and want to discover around. As is the case with a child, you should protect your cat against everything that might be potentially dangerous for him. You can start with walking around in your house and searching for things that might pose danger for your cat. Even things for daily use can be dangerous. Put away sharp objects, cleaning supplies and everything that he can swallow (buttons, coins, jewelry, paper clips, etc.).
In addition, before taking the cat home you should have the following ready:
• Cat carrier
• Food and water bowls
• Cat bed
• Litter box, scoop and litter
• Scratching pole
• A few toys
As your cat will begin discovering and getting used to things around as soon as he arrives it's better to have all the materials ready beforehand. In these first days home, you should not make much changes around. We wish you and your cat a pleasant life.
Are you ready to live with a cat? Make sure to answer this question positively because there are lots of danger outside for your cat and it's best if you provide the required conditions in the house.
Cats don't need big houses; they can also live comfortably in a studio apartment if conditions are met.
Try to choose plant species that won't do any harm to your cat. Gnawing some plants may be enjoyable or even good for your cat. But chewing some harmful plants may cause serious mouth, throat and stomach burnings or even death. Plants such as azalea, oleander, castor bean, sago palm, lily and yew are dangerous for cats. If your cat swallows poisonous plants contact your vet immediately. As a heat source a fireplace is delighting for cats. However, if required measures are not taken fire or sparks may cause burning. To keep your cat safe never let him stay alone around the fire unattended. This also applies to burning candles, stoves, irons and grills.
Don't forget, cats are great jumpers. With a good jump a cat may reach places assumed beyond reach. Therefore, don't leave objects that may pose danger and arouse curiosity around.
Cats are also smart creatures and they may solve many problems themselves such as opening a door, turning the light on, etc. Don't underestimate cats' learning skills and don't give them the opportunity to learn unwanted behaviors.
Keeping a pet at home creates joy for you and your family much more than its burden. Therefore, never hesitate to keep one. What matters is that you choose a good friend.
Kids love pets and make great friends instantly. This bond between the child and his quadruped friend helps him develop a strong character. It also creates years of joy and a great friendship for the child.
Pets at home are different, yet still a member of the family and this attracts and mesmerizes the children. It is known that a great friendship emerges, but what people are not usually aware of is that it also supports the self-esteem and the sense of responsibility of the child.
Keeping a pet at home creates joy for you and your family much more than its burden. Therefore, never hesitate to keep one. What matters is that you choose a good friend.
Most common home pet is the cat, since it creates a smaller burden and are safer for children in many ways. Obviously, a grumpy can be reckless enough to make a few scratches but usually cats tend to walk away rather than get angry when the little ones disturb them.
Many people think of cats as distant, cold and somehow ungrateful (!) pets. But these are usually wrong for cats. If you take good care of a kitten, feed him well, pat him, touch him softly and cuddle him every once in a while, you will see that it will occasionally jump on your lap when he is a grown cat. These cats will be a great source of joy for your child.
Rolling a ping pong ball or pulling a piece of rope to watch the cat running after and chasing it will give you and the cat joy for minutes. It is up to you to ensure that your cat will embrace your baby as a good friend and prevent him from alienating in his own world when you come back home with a baby.
You can choose to leave the kitten be without paying much attention, but your child will not like this kind of self-ordained pet very much. Like the dogs, cats have many breeds from a beautiful Ankara and a clever Siamese to ordinary ones you can see on the streets everyday and if properly taken care of at home, even an ordinary kitten from the street will be as joyful as a more expensive breed.
Lessons of Love
Every child loves pets and understands the dependency of pets to human for care, loving and feeding by watching his parents. Keeping a pet at home can take some time and puts a burden on you, but the joy it provides to your child and your family is well worth the time and burden. Watching the bond develop between your child and a cat or dog and develop into a great friendship is amazing.
As the child grows, he will learn many aspects of life including hunger, thirst, even the concept of sexuality from the pet in addition to the fun and the joy. Pets also prepare the child for the interaction with other people and their responsibilities in addition to the fun and joy they create.
Children live in a world where pretty much everything is bigger than them. A pet to take care of helps the child feel a sense of responsibility and maturity and have a special "friend" to talk to.
Most people think that cats and dogs can't live together peacefully. In fact, there is a reference point for the idiom “fight like cat and dog”. Cats and dogs are different animals with distinctive features and it's not certain if they can get along with the other. However, if the right conditions are satisfied, many cats and dogs can live together in perfect harmony.
Most of the cats can live together with the dogs happily if they are allowed to know the other pet freely. If a puppy and a kitten are growing up together, they usually learn to tolerate each other soon, they become friends and even sometimes they can play and sleep together.
But if a dog is already a member of the family and a new cat or kitten is going to join them, certain measures should be taken.
When introducing a cat to a dog, make sure the cat is at the eye level of the dog. In addition, hold the cat and the dog tightly. This makes them feel safe and comfortable. If any of them look aggressive or frightened move the cat away immediately and postpone the introduction to another time. You don't want to make it more difficult by pushing them before they are ready. This would make it worse. If you bring them together for a few minutes several times a day keeping a close eye on you may see that they are more comfortable.
Never leave them alone unless you are absolutely sure that they are comfortable with each other. If you leave them alone as they are checking in on one another, you may regret it when you get back home. You may discover scratches, bites or other injuries in the cat or the dog. Even if there are no visible injuries, an uncontrolled interaction like this may cause the animal to be traumatized and be afraid of other animals for the rest of his life.
The basic harmony between your cat and your dog is one important point that should be taken into account in cat-dog relations. Just as someone might not like another one, your cat might not like particularly that dog. In this case, it is optimistic to expect them to be best housemates. That may be the reason why the number of scratching and hissing does not decrease even if you make time for and be patient to make them comfortable together.
If you are ready for the arrival of a new kitten or cat, help your dog to be open up to this idea. Under strictly controlled conditions, let your cat and your dog sniff each other and try to understand each other's feelings. This interaction will help them to get used to each other soon. However, if it looks like they can't live together, you may want to reconsider your choice of new pet.
The food requirement for a cat changes according to his age. Feeding your cat with a complete and well-balanced food suitable for his nutritional requirements plays a key role in determining his current and future health state, his development and his quality of life. It's not possible to meet a cat's needs completely in terms of vitamin, mineral, energy, fat, etc. with bread or leftovers. Foods with specially formulated contents are practical and affordable for you and delicious and nutritious for them. Feeding your cat with these kind of food regularly with the amount according to his weight will do. All cats love cat treats. You can award your cat with different types of wet food and cat treats.
Even cats are regarded as "self-grooming" animals, some cats may need more help on grooming. It would take a long time to clean their coat for long-haired cats. The easiest possible way to groom your cat is to habituate him to grooming when he is young.
Most of the cats hate water which makes cat washing quite difficult. By starting to wash him at young ages you can habituate your cat to water and make this as acceptable as possible for him. As your cat meets much of his cleaning needs himself, you should wash him rarely and when he is really dirty.
If you are going to wash your cat, put a mat or a towel at the bottom of the sink to prevent him slipping and to relax him. Fill the sink with a few inches of warm water and wet your cat. Apply a little amount of cat shampoo to his body and avoid getting shampoo (or water) into ears, eyes and nose. Then, rinse his body thoroughly using warm water. Rinsing your cat thoroughly is especially important as your cat will clean himself after the bath and will lick residues. After rinsing wrap him with a soft towel, towel him off and keep him away from any air flow until he gets completely dry.
3. Nail Clipping
You should clip your cat's nails once a month. First, take your cat on your lap. Press on his claw to reveal the nails while holding him tight. Using a cat nail clipper cut the tip of the nail avoiding the pinkish quick containing nerves. It will bleed if you cut into that part accidentally. In such a case, stop bleeding by applying a gentle pressure directly. As this accident will upset your cat, you should cut the remaining nails some other day when he is calm.
4. Eye & Ear Cleaning
Cats' eyes do not require special attention most of the time. If your cat have weeping eyes or crust around the eyes, moisten a cotton pad with hot water and gently clean the eyes.
As cats' ears are very sensitive, be careful when you are cleaning them. Moisten a cotton pad with baby oil then wipe the ear area and clean all sticky and brownish debris once a week. Don't use cotton buds. You can easily harm ear rum if your cat moves and the cotton bud goes into his ear. If your cat scratches his ear frequently and there is excessive sticky and brownish debris or malodor take him to the vet.
5. Teeth Brushing
Gums should look pinkish and healthy and there should be no broken or missing teeth. Put a little amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush and start brushing the teeth one at a time. As cats clean the inner surface of their teeth with their rough tongues, it's enough to clean the outer surfaces of their teeth. Be gentle as you brush the gums. You should brush your cat's teeth at least once a week; but it would be better if you do it more frequent.
Finding a Vet
Visiting a vet regularly is extremely important for your cat's health. You should see a vet regularly and it should be easy to contact him/her. The best way to start searching for a vet is to take advices from other cat owners. After making a list of the appropriate ones, arrange an appointment to meet the vet and to see the office.
Scratching is a basic need for cats. Cat nails are retractable which means there are sheaths on their claws. One of the reasons that scratching is very important for cats is to remove the shedding sheaths on their claws regularly so that the nails grow. Another reason is they have scent glands on their paws. In fact, by scratching an object they want to show that the object belongs to them. Scratching is also an important exercise and helps to stretch the entire body. The best way to prevent your cat scratching everything on his way is to buy a scratching pole or a cat house for him. It is logical to place the pole near your cat's bed, so that when he wakes up and wants to stretch he can use the pole for both stretching and scratching.
Some cats may continue to scratch objects even if there is a scratching pole. Therefore, you can put multiple scratching poles around the house. If your cat doesn't seem to be interested in the scratching pole, try to put a little valerian or to hang a toy on it. You may even have to hold your cat's paws, touch the paws to the pole and show him how pleasant could it be to use it. If none of these work, you can cover the most scratched parts of an object with double-sided sticky tape. Cats don't like the feeling of these kind of materials and can stop scratching that object rather than touching the tape.
Cats reach sexual maturity around the age of six to eight months. At this age male cats can become aggressive and develop behavioral problems. One of these is urine spraying. When a cat is spraying urine, he turns his back to the object and urinates. The basic impulse behind this is dominance. The cat announces that he is the owner of the object and wants other cats to know this. The best way to overcome this problem is to stop it before it begins. Get your cat spayed as soon as possible. Male cats spayed before reaching maturity don't spray urine; but, if you be late for it spaying may not stop this behavior. For more information contact your vet.
The best time to separate the kitten from his mother is the age of 8 weeks. Breast milk contains the vital nutrients for the kitten's growth as well as the antibodies that will protect him against infectious diseases in the first weeks. Therefore, early separation from mother will leave him vulnerable to many health problems.
It's very important to feed the kittens properly in the weaning period. In this period, feeding them with proper dry food suitable for their metabolic rate and needs with regards to proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals is the best choice. Specially formulated kitten foods are prepared keeping your kitten's needs in mind. But it is essential to consider the brands of credible and steady producers. The required amounts and information are indicated on the food packages.
Brushing and washing
Cats molt at least twice a year. They can't remove all the hair by licking. Therefore, you have to brush your little cat's hair with a brush suitable for his hair type and length at least once a week. If your kitten is a long-haired one, you should brush him every day. Brushing will create an emotional bond between you and your cat and will help to identify dermal problems.
A kitten will start to replace teeth when he is 3.5 months old. All baby teeth are replaced with permanent teeth around the age of 6-8 months. They may tend to gnaw and bite your hand, your foot or everything they find as the itching is intense until the age of 1 year. Most of the time, a strong and decided "No" will help you stop him from chewing something you don't want. You can also buy him a toy to relieve his itching teeth. It's easy to brush your kitten's teeth for mouth care. Please consult your vet to get more information about this. Check that his gums are pink and healthy and that his teeth are clean. As tartar buildup may begin from the age of 1.5 year, you may also want your vet to clean your kitten's teeth occasionally.
It is important to keep your kitten's nails clean and at ideal length. Please consult your vet to get detailed information about nail clipping.
You should always keep your kitten's ears clean. Never use cotton buds as you may hurt tympana. Please consult your vet to get more information.
The eyes of your kitten should be bright. You can remove dried tears around the eyes with a cotton pad gently. You can also use specially formulated solutions to remove the tear stains.
It's hard to believe but kittens have to take a bath sometimes. Use specially formulated shampoos when you are washing your kitten. Afterwards, dry his hair with a towel. Please consult your vet to get more information.
There is no need to clean a kitten's nose. If you see anomaly please consult your vet.
A cat is a creature of habit even though you will enjoy to travel with him. Some cats, especially if habituated when they are young, may like travelling.
It is important to pay attention not to change your cat's routine much during the travel. Make sure to take all your cat's needs like food bowls, toys, bed and/or blanket, brush, litter box, etc. with you. Having all the required materials with you will provide your cat peace and comfort as well as the possibility to access everything he needs to stay healthy and happy.
If you decide to leave your cat alone, ask someone to stop by time to time and check him. This person might be a friend, a neighbor or even a professional cat sitter. Make a list including the food type that your cat eats and the amount of the food if you don't have timed food and water bowls, the amount of the water to be given, the medicine that your cat needs and the number of your vet in case of emergency, and give it to him/her. In addition, make sure he/she knows how to get in touch with you if he/she has a question to ask or a serious problem.
Your cat will not be bored if he has someone (and maybe some other pets) around and will be under your friend's control if any problem occurs. However, environmental change may be too stressful for some cats. In addition, if your cat escapes from your friend's house, it may be impossible for him to find the way home.