Learn How To Keep Your Cat Safe At Home
If you have a chosen to have a cat as part of your family then it is important to know what your cats needs are in order to keep it healthy, safe and happy.
This article provides important health and safety tips for looking after your cat, so you can all live happily and safely together. I have also included sections on ‘Pregnant and living with Cats’ and ‘Babies with Cats’.
What A Cat Needs
Cats get into all sorts of mischief, their highly curious natures, combined with their incredible agility and stealth often land them in all sorts of tight spots.They are ingenious escape artists, this is probably why you see so many lost cat posters around town.
Contrary to the myth that cats can look after themselves and don’t require much attention, domesticated cats, just like a dogs, need a balanced diet, regular health care, discipline, boundaries, playtime and of course affection to keep them healthy and happy.
One of the foremost experts on Cat Behaviour and addressing behavioural problems in cat is Jackson Galaxy.
Unwanted Behaviours In Cats Often Comes From Boredom
A content cat should be able to live compatibly with both their human and non-human family members. A bored cat, just like a dog, can be destructive and display unwanted behaviours.
Unwanted behaviours leads to many cats being abandoned, where they end up either roaming the streets and if not desexed, having litter upon litter of feral kittens, or they are given up to shelters, where tragically many are euthanized.
Why Letting Your Cat Outside To Wander The Streets Is Not Safe
Cats that are allowed to roam outdoors wherever they like, can be injured in cat fights, or by a passing dog, hit by a car, stolen, or run away.
Also cats are predators, they hunt and they kill, it is their natural instinct. A cat left to roam outside often will hunt, injuring and killing all sorts of wildlife. It is important to be mindful that domesticated cats are often not native to the country they live in and therefore they are considered a threat to the native wildlife. This is why some countries have laws in place that cats must have bells on their collars and be indoors by dusk. Cat’s that roam outside even during the day only, should always have a bell on their cat collars, to warn other animals of their approach.
Cat Proofing Your House
Basically it is the same as toddler proofing your house, only imagine that your toddler was extremely cunning and agile. Also check your garden and indoors for any plants that are toxic to cats.
- Look around your home and remove anything a kitten/cat can chew, eat or choke on.
- Store away fragile ornaments, glass and ceramic objects that a cat can knock over. Remember unlike a dog, your cat can jump and climb up to reach very high places, including on top of fridges and inside the top shelves of cupboards.
- Cats funnily enough, seem drawn to eating medicines and cleaning chemicals so lock these well away from your cat.
- Some cats like to eat bits of cotton and string. I have had firsthand experience of this, I had a Burmese kitten who, on two separate occasions, ended up in the emergency animal hospital having her stomach pumped. First time she ingested a long piece of sewing cotton and the second time she had crept inside my closet and chewed and swallowed a long piece of cord off one of my skirts!
- Make sure you have no poisonous plants in home or in anyplace outside that your cat may go.
Choose To Adopt A Cat
It is great if you can go to a local shelter and adopt a cat or kitten, rather than buying from a breeder.
It is important to never buy your pets from pet stores, as many of these animals come from Puppy and Kitten Mills and you will only increase the demand for more animals if you buy from these stores.
The First Things To Do When You Bring Home A New Cat Or Kitten
- Cat Proof your House before your bring home your feline family member.
- Visit the Vet -The first thing to do when you get a new kitten or cat, is to have them checked over by a vet.
- If they are an adult cat and not desexed then get them de-sexed as soon as you Can. Also as soon as your kitten is old enough, have them desexed. There are more than enough stray cats in shelters and we don’t need more!
- Get your kitty, micro-chipped, registered, put a cat collar and name and local council id tag on them as soon as possible.
- Get your cat vaccinated against such diseases as Cat Flu, Feline HIV and Feline Enteritis. A vet will also be able to show you how to administer worm treatments, which should be given regularly.
- What to Feed Your Cat – A vet will also advise you on a diet for your cat. Cats need very specific diets and inadequate diets can lead to serious health problems. Also never give your cat, or your dog for that matter, cooked bones as they are too soft and can splinter. If you can source organic food for your cat then this is definitely preferable as you are not exposing your cat to growth hormones, antibiotics and other harmful chemicals * Note – If pregnant get someone else to handle the preparing and cooking of any raw meat when feeding your cat, as this is one of the ways that Toxoplasmosis in contracted.
- Kitty Litter Tray Training -If your cat is going to be an indoor pet, then it is important that you provide a clean litter tray and keep it clean, you don’t like to use a dirty toilet and neither does your cat. Use chemical and fragrance free and biodegradable Kitty Litters. Keep your cats , toys, bed, food and water well away from the litter tray. Keep young children well away from the litter tray also.
- Cats using Scratching Posts – As soon as you get your new kitty home, there should be at least one, decent, sturdy scratching post available to your cat. Cats need to sharpen their claws and rub their scent on something they can take ownership of, it is a natural instinct and a post is a much nicer option than your furniture. Make sure the scratching post you buy is a good quality, non-toxic one. Beware of cheap posts that may have been put together with toxic glue or have loose nails sticking out etc. Regularly check your cats scratching post for loose threads and cut them away. Be sure to replace the post when it has become too worn.
- Train your Cat – Yes cats can indeed be trained, although it is harder than a dog, as they are less eager to please you and have strong minds of their own. From day one your cat should be taught it is acceptable to scratch the furniture, or to climb up onto kitchen benches and tables etc. If you don’t want your cat to sleep in, or on your bed, then again from the very first day, do not allow them onto your bed. The same goes for any other piece of furniture you would rather your cat not make it’s own. Cat’s should be taught to stay out of babies rooms see more below.
- Safe Cat Toys – Cats love to play and practice their hunting, so they need safe non-toxic, pvc free, CAT toys to play with, this means no vinyl cat toys. Those cute images of kittens playing with a ball of wool/string is actually a very dangerous activity in reality, as cats can easily choke themselves or ingest the string and it can obstruct their intestines and bowel and if not surgically removed can cause death.
- Cat Hiding & Sleeping Places – Provide your cat with a safe, quiet and cozy den or bed area, that your cat knows is its own and it can retreat to it anytime to get away from noise and boisterous children or other pets. Cats love to feel enclosed in a small, warm, place and you can get some very good small, enclosed den type beds for cats, or make a den from a clean cardboard box and soft soft bedding. Do not use glue, sticky tape or staples when making anytype of cardboard bed or hide out box for your cat.
- Cats living with other Pets When introducing your cat to other animal members of your family, take it slowly and give the animals time and space to get used to each other. It is a good idea to get advice from an animal trainer or vet on how best to introduce them. Cats can make great companions for dogs, even though many people think they are mortal enemies. Each animal should have a safe space to retreat to during the introduction process.
- Letting your Cat Outdoors -If you would like your cat to have outdoor access, do so responsibly and safely. You cat should be confined to your yard, which has been cat escape proofed, thoroughly before you bring your kitty home. Outdoor cat runs are excellent, especially the ones that attach via a kitty door to indoors, as these let your cats go in and out as they please.
- Cat Car Traveling and Walking on a Lead -Cats with a suitable temperament, can be trained especially if they are still kittens, to accept wearing a cat harness and lead. Then they can learn to go for walks, ( but be sure to walk in a quiet area free from dogs) with you and to travel in the car. I had a cat that loved car trips and would sit next to my dog on the front seat, of course both were wearing suitable car safety belts. For cats that are not harness trained you should only travel in the car with your cat, if it is confined inside a safe, sturdy, cat carrier.
- Recognizing a Sick Cat – Regularly stroke your cat all over to feel for any lumps, bumps and sores that should not be there and immediately get them checked by your vet. A cat that is off it’s food, or seems to be acting unusual, stops grooming and taking care of itself, looks to be unwell or in any type of pain, has diarrhea or vomiting ( and we do not mean coughing up the odd hair ball), then take them immediately to get checked by the vet.
For more information see on cat health and well-being see http://www.cat-world.com.au/cat-health
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