All cats come from their cousins, the wild cats;
tigers, lions, bobcats, mountain lions and companion cats are all
related. Cats have been domesticated for more than 5,000 years.
There are more than 41 recognized breeds of cat.
Before You Bring Your Cat Home:
You will need food, a food dish, a water bowl, interactive toys, a brush, a comb, a scratching post and a
litter box which can all be obtained from your nearest pet shop or pet supplies dealer.
Premium-quality dry and canned cat food provides a
healthy diet for your pet. Fresh, clean water must be available at
all times. The water bowl should be washed and refilled daily.
An adult cat should be fed one large meal or
two smaller meals each day. Kittens aged 6-12 weeks need to be fed
four times a day. Kittens aged 12-24 weeks need to be fed three
times a day. Feed specific meals. Throw away any leftover food after
20 minutes. Avoid free feeding (keeping food down all the time).
Cats should have a warm, dry place of their own
in the house. Line the bed with something warm and soft ó a towel or
blanket. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Itís safer to keep your
cat indoors. Outdoor cats can get hit by cars, poisoned, hurt in
fights and are more apt to pick up disease and parasites.
To pick up your cat, place one hand under its
front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never
pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck (behind the ears) or by its
Your cat should see the veterinarian at least once
a year for an examination and annual shots. Take your pet to a
veterinarian if it is sick or injured. Carefully go over your catís
body at least once a week to check for fleas, ear mites and any
bumps or cuts.
All indoor cats need a litter box. The
bathroom, utility room or back porch make good places to put your
petís box. Always keep it in the same place. Scoop solids out of the
box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent
and refill at least once a week. Cats wonít use a messy, smelly
Your cat will keep itself relatively clean. Most
cats rarely need a bath, but they do need to be brushed/combed.
Frequent brushing helps keep your petís coat clean, reduces the
amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs.
If allowed outdoors (and we donít
recommend it!), the cat should wear a collar and I.D. tag. A safety
collar, one which has an elastic panel or is made out of popper
beads, will allow your cat to free itself if the collar gets stuck
on something. An I.D. tag makes it possible to return a lost pet to
All cats need to scratch to loosen old nail
sheathes and allow new nails to grow, Cutting your catís nails every
two to three weeks will keep them relatively blunt and less likely
to harm armsóof both humans and furniture. Provide your cat with a
sturdy scratching post, at least 3 feet high, covered with rough
material such as sisal, burlap or tree bark to further prevent
household destruction. A sprinkle of catnip once or twice a month
will keep your cat interested in it.
All cats delight in stalking imaginary prey. The
best toys for cats are those that can be made to jump and dance
around, those that look like they are alive. The cat acts out his
predator role by pouncing on toys instead of peopleís ankles.
Warning: Do not use your hands or fingers as play objects with young
kittens or your cat may have biting and scratching problems as he
Indoor cats live for 15 to 20 years.
It is important to
spay (females) or neuter (males) your cat since it can breed up to
three times per year. This operation prevents your cat from having
unwanted litters and protects it from diseases of the
reproductive organs. Neutered cats seldom spray urine around the
house to mark territory and are generally easier to live with.
If your cat has fleas, try using flea powder and/or frequently
flea combing your cat. Flea collars for cats can irritate the skin
on their necks.
See also: Advice on Moving your cat