Owning cats for the first time:
I’ve always had cats growing up, and I’m obsessed with all cats, but as a child I never had the full responsibilities of owning a cat. I would be responsible for the basics: food, water, and cleaning the litter box. It seemed that that’s all there was too it! Cats spend a majority of there day sleeping and grooming themselves so they’re naturally clean pets that don’t appear to require a whole lot of extra work. So here is what I’ve learned in the past two years from both experience and from research:
My babies are Indoor Cats so these mainly apply to Indoor but some Outdoor as well:
- Play Time – we bought two cats (we couldn’t separate them they are brothers) and we knew they would play with each other while we were at work. This has helped a lot but all cats still need more play time to stay healthy. Most indoor cats are considered overweight and are more likely to have health problems so exercise is important!
- Feeding – don’t buy cheap food! We are switching to wet food with corn and more protein – vet recommended for urinary health. Most cat foods have wheat in them and are high in carbs and low in protein which can be bad for indoor cats urinary health and can cause obesity. We learned this the hard way. Also don’t leave food out thinking your cat will stop when they are full. They won’t. It is best to set the food out for 30 mins and then put it away, doing this 2-3 times a day – at first they may seem like they’re starving but they will learn the feeding times and eat the calories needed until their next meal.
- Urinary Health – Indoor cats that have little exercise, are males, are
neutered/spayed, and are overweight are more likely to have FLUTD –feline lower urinary track disease – which in our cat caused a urinary blockage from the mucus buildup that prevented him from using the restroom – we caught it super quick and hes currently healing but if not noticed, your cat may only have 24(male)-48(female) hours to live. This is very common in Indoor cats if precautionary steps are not taken! Puppy pads help while your cat is recovering from urinary problems – as most will avoid the litter-box as they correlate the pain with what they pee on.
Neutering/Spaying – any cat can possibly get out of the house , and it only takes one time to get pregnant ;). It also helps to prevent having a cat that sprays – this is where they mark their territory all over your house and it smells awful! We got our cats neutered and declawed at 6 months to avoid this. You have to wait until they are about 6 months for the safety of the kittens.
- Declawing – This is not necessary but we bought a new home and it didn’t take long for scratches to appear. We also thought it would be safer for the cats when the play fight, there is less likely of a chance for one cat to hurt the other or scratch an eye etc. It is legal in the state of Missouri and we did a laser safe surgery that was painless for the kittens! They were never in discomfort and were back to normal the next day; playing and happy. (anesthesia made them tired) I would only recommend it being done to kittens. We decided to only declaw our cats front paws- no reason to declaw the back.
- Fleas, Ticks, Worms – we personally haven’t had a problem but being aware that your cat is still prone to these is important. I figured since my cats never went outside that they couldn’t possibly get them but its actually really easy for other pets/people to carry fleas or ticks into your home. They can also be picked up from the vet since fleas can jump so far. Do not use medicine prescribed for dogs. Cats are smaller animals and should have lower dosages. It is not safe for any animal to take a medicine made for other animals.
- Illnesses and Injuries – cats can’t speak so it’s hard to know when your cat is hurting or sick. Our cat let us know he was sick by using the restroom outside of his clean litter-box. It was a pain to clean up but we knew the unusual behavior meant he was trying to tell us something. Don’t wait to see if things play out. If your cat is acting abnormal it is always a safe, and cheaper idea to be proactive and take your animal to the vet. We missed these signs and had to pay the cost of a late-night emergency vet visit one day. Also – get the yearly checkup – it may seem unnecessary until your cat gets sick from not having the right vaccinations. Its so better to be proactive!
- Vomiting – Most of the time this is from hairballs or overeating. Additional grooming and the right foods and treats can help prevent this. Frequent vomiting would be a sign to take a trip to the vet!
- Acting Strange – cats do not like changes in their environment. They can be easily stressed out. This may be from change in food, or change in litter. Our cats do not like it when we leave them alone for more than a few days. Which we have stopped doing now that we know that if they get sick while we are gone, not having treatment is dangerous to their health. If no changes have been made – take your cat to the vet!
I love my cats dearly and would never intentionally hurt them. I try my best to keep them safe and healthy so they can live for 20+ years and be with me forever. I strongly suggest that if you do not have the time and money then please reconsider owning an animal. I am by no means a cat expert. I know some people may disagree with some of the things I have mentioned but these are all of my opinions and I will not be afraid to admit I am wrong as I know I am still learning! Share what you’ve learned from your cats in the comments below!
-The Simple Average Wife-