Cats make excellent companions and are wonderful pets. On average cats reach between 15 and 20 years of age so you do need to make a long term commitment to them to keep them as happy and healthy as possible.
Before bringing a cat/kitten home, we do recommend contacting your local council and enquiring about local laws and regulations governing have pet cats. Councils vary on their policies regarding things like night curfews, confinement, desexing and microchipping.
You need to decide what sort of lifestyle you want your cat to lead. Is it going to be an indoor only cat? or is it going to be an indoor/outdoor cat? Cats do like something to curl up on/in so placing a bed in a nice quiet area where they will safe is important. For cats that will spend time outdoors we do recommend installing a cat enclosure. Cat enclosures not only protect your cat from strays or feral cats (minimising risk of abscesses and other injuries) it also prevents your cat from wandering too far and killing native wildlife. A cat enclosure can be set up to all your cat free access into the house at any time but they do need to have at least a portion that is weatherproof. Indoor cats generally lead a longer healthier life.
We also recommend a scratching post as this allows cats to maintain the conditions of their claws and reduces the chances of your furniture being scratched. This is especially important for outdoor cats that are not confined to an enclosure as they rely on their claws to aid in their defence and escape from threatening circumstances.
Cats are very clean animals . This means they can be easily toilet trained if a litter tray filled with dry earth, sand, or cat litter is available. The litter tray should be cleaned daily to remove faeces and the litter itself changed frequently. Ensure the litter tray is placed in a quiet and private location. You may need multiple trays if you have multiple cats and/or a large house. A good rule of thumb is one tray for each cat plus one extra.
Cats get their normally get their exercise through climbing and perching at high vantage points. Branches and fences are good opportunities for outdoor cats, while indoor cats will generally perch on furniture or use a tall scratching post or indoor cat gym. Such objects also have the advantage of providing environment enrichment for your cat, preventing it from becoming bored.
It is important to get your cat used to being groomed from an early age, especially long haired cats. Regular daily brushing will help remove excess fur from your cat's coat that would otherwise be ingested by your cat causing furballs/hairballs. Their are diets available to aid in reducing the occurrence of hairballs but nothing beats a brush - your cat will love you for it and you will love not having to clean up the mess of regurgitated food and hair! Furballs can lead to a visit to us due to decreased appetite, weight loss and in the worst cases intestinal blockages requiring surgery. Cats do not need regular baths.
Cats will vary in their eating habits; some will graze throughout the day, others will eat at set times. What ever way you decide to feed your cat, it is important to get them into a routine early in life as cats are notoriously difficult to get to change their feeding regimes. Regardless of which way you decide to feed your cat, they require a high protein and fat diet and their diet must contain certain essential ingredients eg. taurine. There are a variety of cat foods available (some more nutritious than others) and we recommend discussing your cat’s individual nutritional needs with us to choose the most suitable formula. Raw chicken wings/necks or strips of red meat are excellent in maintaining good dental health.
Ensure a fresh water bowl is accessible at all times, especially if they have a dry food diet. Whilst many cats love to drink cow's milk, we do not advise giving your cat's milk as many are lactose intolerant and drinking milk will lead to tummy upsets!
We strongly recommend an annual visit to us for you cat. These regular visits help us diagnose, treat or even prevent health problems before they become life-threatening. This annual visit is normally tied in with your cat's vaccination. Routine vaccinations, worming and flea control form the basics of feline medical care. They are also a fantastic opportunity for you to ask for any advice you need wether it be on nutrition, behaviour, training or anything else!
We welcome you to book an appointment with us to discuss how to keep your cat in optimum mental and physical health.