2020 Guide to Basic Cat Owner Responsibilities

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Cats can enrich your lives and bring calm. They are simply adorable when they cuddle with you or when they curl up beside you. It is with these reasons that some would like to get a cat as a companion or as an addition to their family.

The benefits of having a cat are numerous, with most cat owners reporting an improvement in their energy and emotions. Having a cat is also known to help get through the loss of someone or a stressful situation. With cats, you will feel calm and will even have lesser allergies. Even with these positive benefits, one must remember that owning a cat is not to be taken lightly. Our feline friends have specific qualities that require care and attention from you. As their owners, expect to have the following responsibilities.

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Sustenance

You have to keep your cat in optimal health, to do that, you need to remember that they are carnivores and need a source of animal protein. When choosing a diet for your feline companion, you should consider their health and age.

Cats in different stages in their lives have varying nutrition needs, and it is essential to choose the right cat food. Kate Barrington, an author specializing in pet care and nutrition, discusses the importance of choosing a high-quality cat food from the start. She mentions that kittens require at least 22.5% crude protein and 8.5% crude in their diet aside from the high-quality animal protein.

There are also some foods that cats need to avoid, such as raisins, grapes, chocolates, onions, avocado, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Cooked bones should also be avoided, and fish should be given as a treat. Also note that most cats are lactose intolerant, thus abstain from giving milk products. Instead, supply them with fresh, clean water.

Microchip and Licensing

Cats and their curiosity can sometimes get them lost. To get your cat back or have a more natural way to find them, it is vital to register your cat and have them microchipped. When a lost cat is turned over to shelters, they would initially try to find any identification on the cat. Vets would run a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) scanner on the cat's body to detect any microchip that will provide information about the cat and the owner. Licensing, on the other hand, will provide proof of ownership.

Checkups

It is best to have a veterinarian check your cat every year to monitor their health condition and to check for parasites. Also, ensure that their vaccines are up to date. For kittens, health screening tests are recommended to test for feline leukemia and AIDS that weaken a cat's immune system. For vaccines, they are required rabies and distemper combination.

As your cats grow, their health needs also change. Wellness visits are needed as well as vaccination boosters for distemper combination and rabies every one to three years. As your cat reaches senior age, around eight to 10 years old, blood and urine tests are recommended. This for testing for diseases such as heart problems, electrolyte imbalances, anemia, diabetes, kidney and liver problems, hyperthyroidism, and others.

Spaying or Neutering

These processes pertain to an operation done to the reproductive organ of animals. Spaying removes the ovaries and the uterus of the female cat while neutering removes the testicles of the male. Having your cat undergo such procedure will help prolong their life and reduces the risk of developing reproductive cancer.

Grooming

Another important factor is the grooming of cats. Although cats are known to groom themselves, it is imperative that you provide them with assistance. More attention is needed for grooming overweight cats, long-haired breeds, and aging felines. Some overweight cats have difficulty reaching their lower back portions, including the area beneath their tail. For long-haired breeds, regular brushing is needed to maintain their luscious locks. Senior cats, on the other hand, tend to avoid grooming because of arthritis and some forget this process due to dementia or Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS).

Brushing your pet's hair is beneficial to remove dirt and spread the natural oil produced by their bodies. Brushing also prevents their fur from tangles and matting. Once a week will suffice for short hair while everyday brushing is needed if your cat has long hair.

Bathing should also be done regularly, but outdoor cats do require more frequent showers. To make bath time enjoyable, it is recommended that you introduce your cats to baths at a young age. Having them enjoy this session will be beneficial to both you and your pet. You will have an easier time, and your cat will not feel stressed out. If you are unable to perform grooming, it is recommended to look for mobile grooming or those that offer home services to lessen the stress on your cat being in an unfamiliar environment.

Behavioral Problems

If you notice behavioral problems with your cat such as aggression, house soiling, scratching, or any abnormal behavior, it is best to address it immediately. Consult with your vet to eliminate specific diseases as the cause of the problem. Professionals could also help assist in providing steps for discouraging bad behaviors in cats.

Having a cat as a companion or part of the family is an exceptional experience. However, we must remember that we have responsibilities to ensure the safety and well-being of our feline pets. You have to consider your cat's unique personality, health, and age in choosing the right diet for them. Grooming and wellness checkups are also necessary together with their vaccines. It is also imperative to spay or neuter them as well as have a microchip implant on your cat. With all these said, ensuring your cat's happiness and health will also ensure that you relish their company for longer.

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Author: Alex George

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