Cats are a popular pet because they are relatively easy to care for. They are pretty self-sufficient creatures requiring only some basics to ensure they are happy, healthy and well cared for.
Pet cats depend on us for their nutrition. An adult cat requires two meals a day and/or dry food which can be left out at all times. The best food for your cat is cat food, unless you are knowledgeable in feline nutrition and would rather prepare a homemade diet for your cat. There are a range of types of food to feed your cat, wet (including canned or raw) to dry (biscuits). Cat food can be purchased from your supermarket, pet shop or veterinarian. In some cases, medical conditions may require your cat to go on a special diet. Read here for more information on what cats should eat.
Fresh, clean water should be left out for your cat at all times. Once a kitten has weaned, he has no need for milk, which causes dietary intolerances in most cats.
Long-haired cats require regular grooming to get rid of loose hairs and prevent the fur from matting. Shorthaired cats don't need to be groomed as a rule, but may still benefit from it to remove loose hair and for some time and attention.
Cats need to be provided a clean litter tray for them to use around the clock. The general rule of thumb is one litter tray per cat, plus one spare. So, if you have one cat, two litter trays are recommended, two cats, three litter trays are recommended. There are many different types of litter tray from the basic rectangular box to covered trays, self-cleaning trays and even fancy ones that are hidden inside furniture.
Litter trays should be scooped of solids at least once a day and completely emptied and re-filled with clean cat litter once a week.
Another product that comes in a range of sizes and shapes, the scratching post is a must for your cat. All cats need to strop their claws and if they are not provided with a suitable cat tree or post, they will find somewhere else, usually your sofa or the carpet.
It is recommended that cats be kept indoors to ensure they are safe. The outdoors can be a dangerous place to cats with dogs and cars a major cause of feline fatalities. May cat owners choose to build their cat an enclosure, which provides a safe outdoor area for your cat to play in.
If you do choose to keep your cat outdoors, the shelter should be provided from the elements. At the very least, a small, waterproof dog kennel should be provided with a warm blanket for your cat to shelter from the cold and rain or snow.
Just like humans, cats differ in personality, some are more loving than others, but almost all cats need love to some degree. A warm lap to snuggle up on, a game, a conversation. Make sure you have time in your life to include your cat.
It is a given that cats need love, but cats also need time spent with them. A cat who is going to spend a lot of time at home alone should have a feline companion.
Indoor cats particularly need to release some energy in the form of play. They especially like hunting type games followed by a meal and a nap.
Prompt veterinary treatment is necessary when your cat becomes sick. A yearly visit to the vet to make sure everything is going well. Vaccinations are required between every 1-3 years depending on council regulations and your veterinarian's recommendations.
Middle-aged cats over 5 or 6 should have a routine veterinary examination every 6 months.
Treatment for parasites:
Common parasites to affect cats include worms and fleas. Even indoor cats can become infected and should be treated routinely. Your veterinarian is the best person to speak to about products to treat parasites. Common treatments are topical (placed on the skin behind the neck) and tablets.