Bringing a new cat home is an exciting and also challenging thing. Some potential cat parents might want one just because they need the affection that the animal can offer them. Others are more than happy to share their lives with an independent cat that spends most of time outdoors and doesn’t actively seek human interaction all the tie.
Although they might be less high maintenance compared to dogs, cats have unique personalities and can be stressed if you don’t provide them with what they need. In this article, we will look at some of the things that you’ll have to ensure to make your cat healthy and happy for as long as possible.
What does a cat need?
Some of the things that a cat needs are quite logical, and so most people might think of a litter box, fresh and good-quality food, fresh and clean water, as well as some toys for her to be entertained.
But cats also need a safe and stimulating environment. If they are the type to want to go outdoors, you should consider making modifications on your door, for example, so that you include a cat door.
Neutering or spaying the animal is also necessary if you don’t want to end up with a litter of kittens that you’d then have to put up for adoption or even keep, as well.
Cats are extremely good at breeding, and that’s why there are significant issues across the world when it comes to managing cat overpopulation. Usually, cats are spayed or neutered between the ages of 4 to 6 months.
The cat also needs to be vaccinated against the most contagious feline diseases, and you should also consider getting pet insurance if you live in the Western world as treatments at the vet can cost a lot of money.
There are lots of people becoming vegetarians and vegans nowadays, but what’s important to note here is that cats are pure carnivores, which means that their diet should consist of mostly animal protein. Sure, that might be hard to achieve nowadays unless you work from home and can feed your cat a raw or cooked meat diet.
Many vets recommend feeding pets a meat-based diet strictly because it is far healthier than any of the kibble that you might want to purchase. However, the convenience provided by dry cat food can’t be denied and it’s probably the only way that busy cat parents can make sure that the cat gets adequate nutrition even when they are not at home.
Avoid feeding your cat anything other than meat. If she does show a particular interest in some types of fruit or veggies, do your research beforehand to make sure that that specific food is not toxic to cats. Chocolate is extremely toxic to all types of pets so it is just one of the foods that you aren’t allowed to feed your feline companion.
Should you keep your cat indoors or outdoors?
Being outdoors can bring a lot of variety to a cat’s life, but the issue is that there are lots of risks in the outside world. Most cats can be more or less safe or at least avoid obvious dangers, and that’s also another reason for you to neuter your male cat, for instance — since it decreases the chance of him getting involved in fights, for example.
The issue is that cats can get in contact with a variety of nasty things when they go outside. If you’ve ever heard of Toxoplasmosis, you know that it is a parasite that can be transmitted to humans and that mostly affects pregnant women to the point where their foetus can suffer from malformations. Toxoplasmosis can be carried by other outdoor cats that might come in contact with yours, but it can also be carried by birds or rats, for instance.
If you keep your cat indoors there’s almost no chance of her coming in contact with a variety of sick animals that could transmit diseases to her.
How much does keeping a cat cost?
It depends on the type of cat you get. If you are resolute on getting one from a specific breed, you might risk paying a lot of money for it. If you get her from a rescue organization, you’ll most probably have to pay a small fee or make a small donation — but the cat is very likely to be already neutered or spayed and vaccinated.
The problem with breeding is that not all breeders are responsible, and they might ignore the fact that some visually appealing individuals could be disease carriers or could have genetic issues that they could pass on to their offspring.
On average, a cat costs around $500 per year to keep, but it can be twice as much in the first year — since you have to get her vaccinated several times, not just once, and it’s also during that time that you should have her spayed or him neutered. In any case, it’s cheaper to have a cat than to have a dog strictly because it eats less food and the medical procedures are usually more budget-friendly, as well.
Caring for your cat when you go on holiday
There are two things you can do if you intend to go on holiday and you aren’t going to take your cat with you. First of all, if you’re going to be out of the house for just 2 to 3 days, you shouldn’t even consider taking your cat along for the trip as it will stress her out. After all, you aren’t moving somewhere else, you’re only making a short trip.
The first option you have available is keeping your cat in a boarding facility. There are catteries that can keep your cat safe and healthy even when you are away. But there are also catteries that you might want to avoid — so read as many reviews as possible before taking your fluffy friend over there.
The second option you can go for is getting a pet sitter. This can be a little less convenient for the cat, in the sense that she’ll spend some time alone anyway since the sitter isn’t going to stay at your place 24/7. But this can be a good choice, as well, since the cat is not going to be in a strange and different environment and there will be someone caring for her – change her water, give her food, change her litter, and all the rest.