Guide to Owning a Cat: Tips & Care

If you're a cat world newbie, you're likely to have many questions about how to take care of your new fur kid. Cats are lively, independent, loving, and very fun creatures. So here’s a guide on how to care for them so that they’ll be happy and healthy.

Are you ready for a cat?

Every time you see a cat all cuddled up, do you think about getting one of your own? If the answer is yes, do you know what you are getting yourself into? Here is a rundown of factors to consider before getting these cute furballs.

Love socializing - Cats are generally an antisocial species, but all that can change once they are familiar with people and other pets. They may be the clingiest companion that you can have around! That is why, as a cat owner, you need to make them socialize with others, such as a pup or other family members at a young age. It does not only expose them to different things, but it also gives them joy playing with friends.

Financially stable – You need to plan out your finances properly before considering a cat. There are several costs to look into such as food, litter boxes, toys, identification and microchipping, bowls, parasite preventives, grooming tools, enrichment items such as scratchers and cat trees, and veterinary care.

Playtime – This may surprise you, but cats do need to exercise. However, unlike dogs who need to go for walks, cats just need you to play with them. Simple things like chasing them with a feather or a ball will not only keep their mind stimulated and their body active it also helps to strengthen your bond with them.

playtime

Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

Ready for a cat-friendly home – when you have cats, you need to know the possible things that can be a threat to them. For example, plants, cleaning chemicals, and certain foods can all be harmful. 

Also, you will need to make space at your house for their scratching posts, cat trees, and food puzzles. These enrichment items encourage cats to express their instincts, such as climbing, jumping, scratching, and searching for food.

Long-term commitment – Many breeds can live up to 15 to 20 years. So, before you decide to bring a cat into your life, make sure you understand the commitment you're making. With good care and love, you'll have many happy years ahead to spend with your cat.

How much care and attention does a cat need?

Many believe cats are self-sufficient and don't need much attention or care. Even those who have cats in their homes may underestimate the amount of love and attention our pets require.

We always assume that cats do not have many needs. However, cats still crave attention and love besides fresh-water, clean litter, and food. They need at least 20 minutes per day of loving one-on-one attention. Each cat has a unique personality, with some preferring to spend hours alone and others a stronger desire to play and spend time with their owners. Signs that your cat is not getting enough attention include:

  • Excessive meowing
  • Your arm or leg is being pawed at
  • Scratching and biting things unnecessarily
  • Not listening to instructions

What do you need to take care of a cat?

Before bringing a cat back home, do consider these necessities to keep them happy. 

Comfortable environment

Cats need a safe, comfortable, and peaceful place to play and sleep. Some outdoor cats will require access to a safe shelter, such as their cage or play-pen. If they are outside all day, it will be great to have a place to rest when they return.

Indoor cats need a space with their own bed, litter boxes, food, and water. Cats are very territorial, so it is best to give them their area. Also, because they are always indoors, don't forget to provide toys and playtime to keep them entertained.

Essential items for your cats  

As a fur parent, you need to ensure your kitty's basic needs are fulfilled. Here is the list of must-have items for your cats:

  • Nutritious cat food
  • Food and water bowls 
  • Litter box and litter sand (it's always best to buy a size bigger than your cat, this will give them the comfort to ease themselves)
  • Litter scoop & bucket
  • Bed or blanket
  • Carrier
  • Cat grass
  • Litter mat

Grooming 

Cats clean themselves, but they still require grooming assistance from their owners. Long and medium-haired cats should be brushed daily, while short-haired cats should be brushed once a week. Aside from that, remember to send your cat for grooming, especially if it has long or thick hair because you don't want its coat to be damaged or shed excessively. 

 Grooming tools that will be great to have at home will be: 

  • Cat shampoo
  • Brush
  • Toothbrush
  • Nail clippers
  • Ear cleaner

grooming

Healthy food and nutrients for cats 

The food you feed your cat has a significant impact on their overall health, so make sure you're feeding them the proper diet.

When you bring home a new kitty, for starters, you must feed them a small amount of food that your cat was eating before making a transition to the new diet you plan to feed them, as this can help to avoid stomach upsets.

Also, kittens less than a year old should consume kitten formula because they are growing and require a higher-calorie diet. If your cat has health issues, is overweight, underweight, or is a senior, it's best to consult with your veterinarian before choosing a diet. 

Here's some suitable food for your cat:

Wet food

Most cats enjoy canned food, also known as 'wet food.' Wet food has a high moisture content, which helps them stay hydrated.

Canned food is available in various textures, including chunks, slices, minced pieces, pâté, and chunks in gravy. Some cats are okay with different textures and flavors, while others have specific preferences. If necessary, experiment with different types to see which ones your pet prefers.

There are significant differences in food quality, so read the ingredient label before purchasing. Instead of grains or fillers, look for meat as the first ingredient. Remember that felines are carnivores by nature and do not require grains in their diet.

In addition, wet food should not be left out for more than half-hour (20 minutes in hot weather), or it will spoil and become unsafe to eat. Cover and refrigerate any leftover food in the can, and discard any uneaten food in the bowl.

Kibbles

Some people prefer to feed dry food or a mix of wet and dry food. Dry is convenient if you're not at home during the day because it can be left out without it going bad for a longer period.

Remember to read the ingredient label, just like you would for canned food, and look for brands that list meat as one of the first few ingredients. Avoid products that contain by-products, fillers, or artificial flavors.

Raw diet

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they have specific nutritional needs that can be met by eating this diet. Raw food promotes good dental health, proper digestion, healthy skin and coat. Additionally, your cat will stay hydrated because it is high in moisture.

However, raw food also contains pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli. That is why you must take precautions when you prepare this diet. To avoid bacterial cross-contamination, ensure that the utensils and the kitchen workspace are extremely clean.

If you wish to give your cat the best raw diet minus the hassle, try Petcubes Raw Cat Food, which offers a variety of meat proteins and is carefully prepared with the highest food safety standards. Only the freshest ingredients are used so that your cat receives the nutritious and balanced meals it deserves.

For more information on raw cat diets, read "Raw Feeding Guide For Cats."

Where to get a cat/kitten in Singapore? 

When it comes to getting a cat, there are two options: adopting or purchasing. Regardless, many cats are out there looking for a forever home. Here are the locations where you can get your feline. 

Cat adoption in Singapore  

  • SPCA Singapore
  • Love Kuching Project
  • Kitten Sanctuary
  • Causes for Animals
  • Project Luni
  • Animal Lovers League

Buying a cat in Singapore 

If you're looking for a specific cat breed, look for pet shops that promote and practice ethical breeding. Legitimate breeders should have a valid Animal Veterinary Service (AVS) license and only sell you healthy pets. These cats should also be sterilized, microchipped, and vaccinated.

buy a cat

Photo by Dim Hou on Unsplash

Conclusion 

Before getting a cat, it is crucial to understand the responsibility that comes with it. Cats are one of the best human companions, and caring for them is pretty simple once your fur kid has settled in your loving home.

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