Copyright 2005 Dave Markel

There area many common sense rules to follow when caring for
your cat. These rules are simple and will ensure your cat will
be healthy and happy.

1. When your cat arrives at home: Bringing your new cat home cat
be frightening for it. Be prepared by having a food and water
spot already set up. Also have a litter box setup in a quite
spot away from the food. Your new cat should be transported in a
cat carrier. When you bring the cat inside set the carrier down
and open the door. Let the cat come out and explore on its own.
Confining the cat to a quiet room for a day or two will make the
experience less overwhelming.

2. Going Outside: Before letting your cat outside for the first
time be sure it is comfortable with you and its indoor
surroundings. There are many dangers outside so let your cat
have an escape route in case it needs it. My cat uses a cat door
and it has save him a few times.

Judge the risk to letting your cat outdoors. If you live close
to lots of traffic having an outdoor cat may not be a good idea.

3. Litter Boxes: If you are using a cat box it should be cleaned
daily. Clumping cat litter makes this easy. Simply scoop out the
clumps and you’re done. Put the litter box in a place where the
cat will not be disturbed.

4. Food and water: Your cat should always have a supply of fresh
food and water. I prefer to use a heavy ceramic bowl to prevent
the cat from pushing it or tipping them over.

The water bowl should be changed daily and food should be added
to maintain a good supply.

My cat is now on a high quality dry food. I found feeding him
can food was a waste. He generally left some behind at each meal
regardless of the portion. At 15 I weaned him onto dry food only.

5. Scratching Posts: Any cat is going to have the urge to
scratch. The question is where is it going to do it? Best to
have a scratching post that is safe and secure. Play with your
cat on the post so it gets used to being allowed to scratch
there. Rubbing a bit of cat nip on the scratching post will
encourage your cat to scratch.

6. Cat Toys: There are so many different cat toys on the market
these days it is hard to choose a toy your cat will like. After
much trial and error I determined my cat likes the string
attached to the toy much better then the toy. Whenever I want to
play I get a string, or better yet, my gold necklace (his
favorite).

7. Sleeping Places: A cat always needs a quiet, out of the way
place to sleep the day away. A bed near a heater or furnace vent
is ideal. In the winter most of the vents in my house have a cat
bed near them.

If you have small children make sure they can’t disturb your cat
when it sleeps

8. Care for eyes and ears: When cats get a build up of discharge
around the eye simply clean it with a damp cloth. A small amount
of discharge is normal for a healthy cat but if there are
excessive amount then consult a vet.

Regularly check your cats ears for dirt or ear mites. Any dirt
can be removed with a damp Q-tip. If you spot small brown clumps
of discharge you should consult your vet. This is a sign of ear
mites.

9. Care for the claws: If you have an outside cat, claw care is
less important. Climbing trees, and other outdoor stuff helps to
keep claws well maintained.

An inside cat has far less need for its claws. There is really
no environment where your cat needs to use its claws. You should
trim your cats claws once or twice a year. Clip the very tip of
each claw. Taking any more then just the tip can hurt your cat.
It is recommended that you have a vet show you how to clip their
claws properly.

10. Care of the mouth and teeth: As cats age their teeth start
to get calcium build up which can cause gum inflammation. Check
your cats mouth every 6 or 8 weeks. Find and remove and calcium
build up before deposits get too large.

Caring for a cat is quite simple, common sense really. I believe
that good food, fresh water, lots of love and exercise is best
for a cat. By following these 10 simple guidelines your cat can
live a long and healthy life.

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