Make sure your litter box is big enough for the cat to fit in comfortably. It needs to be about 15 cm high. Fill the box about a third of the way up with kitty litter.
Cats appreciate a soft, comfortable bed, large enough to stretch out a bit and positioned in a warm, secluded spot. Don’t be disheartened if the cat chooses to sleep somewhere else, the cat may still use the bed you prepared from time to time.
Choose a collar that contains elastic and fasten it so you can fit two fingers comfortably between the neck and the collar. A collar with a bell is preferable to help prevent your cat from catching wildlife. Make sure there are identification tags attached to the collar including their council registration tag and a tag with your contact phone number in case the cat gets lost. If you are unable to supply a personal identification tag, please visit the National Pet Register to order your free ID tag today.
Choose a high quality commercial food for your cat, giving them some variety here and there. Offer some natural food as well, like fresh, human-grade raw meat, a raw egg or some raw meaty bones (not too small in case of choking). Always supervise your cat when it eats a bone and don’t feed your cats cooked bones, as they can splinter and cause harm. As most adult cats will prefer to eat smaller meals throughout the day offer them their food 3-4 times a day, however, most are happy to graze on dry food. Some everyday human foods are dangerous to cats, put a print-out of these foods on the fridge and check it before giving your cat leftovers.
When choosing a bowl, make sure it’s heavy and cannot be knocked over. Ideally there will be a bowl for water, a bowl for fresh food and a bowl for dry food.
Short-haired cats don’t really need to be brushed except during shedding season. Long-haired cats, however, need to be brushed regularly. A medium to stiff brush is good for short-haired cats. For long-haired cats, you’ll want to comb first before brushing with a medium to stiff brush. Remember to brush in the direction of the fur otherwise you’ll have a cranky cat on your hands.
Cats need to scratch regularly to sharpen their claws, get rid of dead skin and to exercise. Buy one from a pet supply store, or make your own. Just find a solid, good sized post, high enough so your cat can stand on its hind legs and scratch, then wrap rope or carpet around it.
Toys are especially important for indoor cats, as they don’t go outside to hunt and exercise. Almost anything can be turned into a cat toy, but just make sure there aren’t any small bits that the cat could swallow and choke on.
All cats and kittens adopted from The Lost Dogs’ Home Cat Shelter are desexed, vaccinated, microchipped, wormed, FIV tested and vet checked. Talk to the vet about how often your cat will need booster injections and worming tablets.
A sudden loss or gain of weight can be a telltale sign that your cat is sick. Bad teeth, diabetes, cancer, digestive problems and many other problems can all interfere with normal eating habits. Weigh your cat on the bathroom scales once every few weeks. Stand on them while holding the cat, then weigh yourself without the cat, and subtract to find the difference (this will be the cat’s weight). Write this on your calendar and if any major changes (more than 2 kilograms) occur in a normal adult cat, check in with your veterinarian.
When you clean out the litter box each day, spend a few extra seconds checking for abnormalities in the cat’s stools and urine. Healthy cats should be having bowel movements every day. They shouldn’t be too liquid, have any unusual smell or colouration. Unusually hard or small fecal balls should also be noted. It’s especially important to check male cats’ urine as they are more likely to develop blockage of the urinary outflow tract, a potentially life-threatening condition. Red discolouration, increase or decrease in volume, and lack of urine spots are all red flags and should be followed up with a visit to your vet.
Patting or grooming your cat every day will help you to get used to what is normal for the coat, skin and body condition, and allow you to check for developing lumps and bumps. Cancer lesions in cats are usually malignant (nasty) rather than benign, so make sure you report any changes to your vet immediately. That few minutes of contact time will also help you know whether your cat is responding in the usual way. A sick cat may not want to be patted, or seem dull or lethargic in their response to your affection.