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Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Basic Guide to Cat Ownership - Part 1

For those of you who are first-time cat owners, this is written for you.

Cats are easier to keep than dogs. Firstly, they need less food, less showering, and no need for walks. You do however need some basic items in the house for your cat's well being.

The basic items needed are:
  • Cat food
  • Food bowl
  • Water bowl
  • Litter tray
  • Cat litter
  • Cat shampoo
  • Scratching post
For cat food, pet stores sell a range of cat food brands to suit your budget. Cats need to eat once or twice a day as adults (>1 year old). Read more on cat nutrition here.

Always provide both a water and a food bowl. Cats like cleanliness, so you should keep these clean and throw away stale food as they will not eat it. Suitable materials for bowls are plastic, metal and ceramic. Do not use broken bowls as they might scratch themselves. A rubber base at the bottom of the bowls will be good as then the bowl will not move around when the cats feed and water.

Cats have the instinct to dig and do their business in a secluded area. A proper cat litter tray will be sturdy enough to support your cat's weight and movement, as well as his scratching when he digs the litter to bury his poo. These can be bought from pet stores.

There is a variety of cat litter. The most common is sand. To clear, just scoop out the poo and pee (hardened by the sand) daily and dispose of it in a plastic bag. Cats will not use a dirty litter box.

Cats don't really need to be given baths very often, the most regular interval should be two weeks. Unless the cat is very dirty you do not need to bathe him. Use cat shampoo found in pet stores. In a pinch, you can also use baby shampoo.

Cats need something to scratch to trim their nails. Scratching posts are the best, and these can be found in pet shops. You can also provide corrugated cardboards for them to scratch, but an upright post is usually the favourite for cats.

Next: Part 2

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