Cats often have this reputation of being the easier pet to look after, and in many ways, there might be a measure of truth to that. It’s certainly the case that dogs require a much more hands-on and direct approach, whereas cats are a little tamer and less likely to need quite the same handling.

However, anyone who has ever had a cat will tell you that they can still be quite a lot of hard work, and you need to still take seriously your care for your cat if you want to make sure that they are going to be happy and healthy throughout their life. You should find that they are the perfect balance between loving and neediness, so for that reason, they are often a good first pet to have.

In this article, we are going to take a look at the different aspects of cat care which you need to be prepared for. As long as you are, you should find that you are much more likely to keep your cat happy and well.

Diet

We’ll start with some of the more basic things and go from there. If you want your cat to be well, you need to obviously make sure that you are focused on giving them the best diet possible, but it can take a long time to work out what that actually is, so you should be prepared for a little trial and error.

The truth is that the diet of a cat is relatively simple, but that cats can nonetheless be a little fussy when it comes to their food. First of all, remember that there is different food for kittens and fully grown cats, after the age of one or so. Start them off with kitten food, and make sure that you are feeding them the right amount. If you happen to know their weight, you will be able to work this out, and usually, there will be guidance on the back of the box to help you here too.

Once they are past the age of one, you need to start thinking about changing to adult food, and at the same time decreasing slightly how much you give them. Now that they are not growing quite the same amount, you generally don’t need to overfeed them. You might also find that around this age they start to hunt outside too, so it might be that they are getting some nutrition from that and eating less indoors. If so, don’t worry – but do make sure that you are keeping them worm-free.

In general, you should aim to give them both wet and dry food and to make sure that the dry is there constantly so that they can free-feed. It is also important, of course, to make sure that you keep a bowl of water or two down constantly so that they always have fresh water.

Cats are clean by nature and don’t like it if their bowls of food are too close to their bowls of water, so make sure that you keep these fairly separate. You’ll find that they prefer it much more, and this is often one of the reasons cats are not eating and people can’t work out why. You should also remember that you can give them cat’s milk as a treat, which you can buy in any pet store. As long as you have got the diet right, you have one of the major things down pat, so you can then move on to other important factors.

Exercise & Play

Just as with dogs, your cat will need exercise, but obviously, you won’t be taking them for walks in the same way you would with a dog. The way that you need to get your cat to exercise is to play with them with some chosen cat toys, and you will probably find that this is actually one of the most enjoyable aspects of having a cat at all. Get some of those mouse-chasing toys and try to get your cat interested in it.

Some cats are more hunters than others so yours might take more or less coaxing, but most cats will go for it eventually. As long as you get them running around, you can be sure that you are providing them with plenty of exercise. Of course, you can also think about letting your cat outside, but if you are planning on doing that, make sure you don’t do it until they are a little older, usually between six months and a year of age. This is a little safer, and you will be less worried about them than when they are a young kitten.

Cleanliness

One of the famous things about cats is that they keep themselves ruthlessly clean, so there is honestly not much you need to do on this front. However, there will be occasions when you find you need to clean your cat, and it is good to do so every now and then anyway, as their self-cleaning only really does so much.

You should consider getting some pet shampoo, which can really help to thoroughly and deeply clean the fur and help get rid of dandruff. You can learn more about cat dandruff here – you might be surprised at what a constant problem it can be for many cats.

When you do get around to cleaning your cat, you will find it is hard to get them to sit still and get in the water. Consider starting small, by splashing them with a little water first, and over time you can gradually get them used to being cleaned this way. You will find that you also get used to it and develop a routine, which will help in the future too. Over time you will be able to clean your cat much more easily, which is absolutely going to help them with their hygiene – and also has the effect of making them look even better too.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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