your cat may act independent and be litter-trained, he still counts on you
to provide him with food, water, safe shelter, regular veterinary care,
companionship, and more. Take care of these ten essentials, and you'll be
guaranteed to develop a rewarding relationship with your feline companion.
Outfit your cat
with a collar and ID tag that includes your name, address, and telephone
number. No matter how careful you are, there's a
chance your companion may slip out the door—an ID tag greatly increases
the chance that your cat will be returned home safely.
Follow local cat
registration laws. Licensing, a registration and
identification system administered by some local governments, protects
both cats and people in the community.
Keep your cat
indoors. Keeping your cat safely confined at all
times is best for you, your pet, and your community.
Take your cat to
the veterinarian for regular check-ups. If you
do not have a veterinarian, ask your local animal shelter or a pet-owning
friend for a referral.
Spay or neuter
your pet. This will keep her healthier and will
reduce the problem of cat overpopulation.
Give your cat a
nutritionally balanced diet, including constant access to fresh water.
Ask your veterinarian for advice on what and how often to feed your pet.
Train your cat to
refrain from undesirable behaviors such as scratching furniture and
jumping on countertops. Contrary to popular
belief, cats can be trained with a bit of patience, effort, and
understanding on your part.
Groom your cat
often to keep her coat healthy, soft, and shiny.
Although it is especially important to brush long-haired cats to prevent
their hair from matting, even short-haired felines need to be groomed to
remove as much loose hair as possible. When cats groom themselves, they
ingest a great deal of hair, which often leads to hairballs.
Set aside time to play
with your cat. While cats do not need the same level of exercise that
dogs do, enjoying regular play sessions with your pet will provide him
with the physical exercise and mental stimulation he needs, as well as
strengthen the bond you share.
Be loyal to and patient
with your cat. Make sure the expectations you have of your companion
are reasonable and remember that the vast majority of behavior problems
can be solved. If you are struggling with your pet's behavior, contact
your veterinarian or local animal shelter for advice, and check out the
HSUS's Pets for Life campaign information.