For some people cats can make excellent companions and are wonderful pets. Owning a cat is a long-term commitment as their average life span ranges from 15 to 20 years, and you will need to consider carefully your cat’s needs over that time.
Before you bring your cat or kitten home, here are some things to consider:
- Local council regulations. Contact your local council and enquire about regulations regarding such things as night curfews, compulsory containment within a property, desexing and microchipping.
- Your cat’s housing needs are simple. Whilst they will usually find a corner that suits them best indoors or outdoors, provide them with a basket, box or chair in a place where they feel safe and protected. Indoor cats generally live longer and lead healthier lives.
- A scratching post is recommended for your cat to keep their claws in good condition for climbing and defending themselves. This will also reduce the chances of your furniture being scratched.
- Cats like to be clean at all times. As a result, cats can easily be 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. A rule of thumb is one litter tray per cat plus one extra.
- Your cat and exercise. Cats naturally like climbing and perching themselves up high. Outside they will use a fence or tree. Indoor cats will use furniture to climb and perch. A scratch pole or indoor cat gym will give an indoor cat an effective alternative if you are concerned for your furniture.
- Grooming your cat. Most cats require grooming assistance to remove excess hair. This will reduce furballs or hairballs as well as matted or tangled fur. Shorthaired cats are able to groom themselves except at moulting stage. In contrast, longhaired cats require daily grooming by their owners. Furballs or hairballs can cause appetite and weight loss, and in a worst-case scenario, result in surgery. During the moulting season daily brushing is essential and food designed specifically to assist with the reduction of hairballs will also help your cat to process shed hair.
- Your cat's diet. Most cats graze, so we recommend feeding small amounts more regularly. They require a high protein and fat diet. Discuss your cat’s individual nutritional needs with one of our Sydney Animal Hospital vet healthcare team to choose the most suitable cat food formula.
- Fresh water has to be available at all times in a clean bowl and is especially essential if your cat has a dry food diet. Your cat may love to drink cow's milk, but we recommend against it as cats can be lactose intolerant and may experience stomach upset.
- Regular once-a-year cat health checks are a minimum. A regular visit help us diagnose, treat or even prevent health problems before they become life-threatening. Cats are very good at hiding health issues from their owners so even though they may appear normal an underlying issue may be present.
- Routine vaccinations, worming and flea control form the basics of feline medical care. We can also provide additional guidance on nutrition, behaviour, training and life-stage treatments available.
Book your cat for an appointment with one of our Sydney Animal Hospitals to discuss how to keep your cat in optimum physical and mental health.