10 Cat Care Guidelines

10 Cat Care Guidelines

By: Dave Markel

There area many common sense rules to follow when caring for your cat. These rules are simple and will ensure your cat will be healthy and happy.

  1. When your cat arrives at home:
    Bringing your new cat home can be frightening for it. Be prepared by having a food and water spot already set up. Also have a litter box setup in a quite spot away from the food. Your new cat should be transported in a cat carrier. When you bring the cat inside set the carrier down and open the door. Let the cat come out and explore on its own. Confining the cat to a quiet room for a day or two will make the experience less overwhelming.

  2. Going Outside:
    Before letting your cat outside for the first time be sure it is comfortable with you and its indoor surroundings. There are many dangers outside so let your cat have an escape route in case it needs it. My cat uses a cat door and it has save him a few times.

    Judge the risk to letting your cat outdoors. If you live close to lots of traffic having an outdoor cat may not be a good idea.

  3. Litter Boxes:
    If you are using a cat box it should be cleaned daily. Clumping cat litter makes this easy. Simply scoop out the clumps and you're done. Put the litter box in a place where the cat will not be disturbed.

  4. Food and water:
    Your cat should always have a supply of fresh food and water. I prefer to use a heavy ceramic bowl to prevent the cat from pushing it or tipping them over.

    The water bowl should be changed daily and food should be added to maintain a good supply.

    My cat is now on a high quality dry food. I found feeding him can food was a waste. He generally left some behind at each meal regardless of the portion. At 15 I weaned him onto dry food only.

  5. Scratching Posts:
    Any cat is going to have the urge to scratch. The question is where is it going to do it? Best to have a scratching post that is safe and secure. Play with your cat on the post so it gets used to being allowed to scratch there. Rubbing a bit of cat nip on the scratching post will encourage your cat to scratch.

  6. Cat Toys:
    There are so many different cat toys on the market these days it is hard to choose a toy your cat will like. After much trial and error I determined my cat likes the string attached to the toy much better then the toy. Whenever I want to play I get a string, or better yet, my gold necklace (his favorite).

  7. Sleeping Places:
    A cat always needs a quiet, out of the way place to sleep the day away. A bed near a heater or furnace vent is ideal. In the winter most of the vents in my house have a cat bed near them. If you have small children make sure they can't disturb your cat when it sleeps

  8. Care for eyes and ears:
    When cats get a build up of discharge around the eye simply clean it with a damp cloth. A small amount of discharge is normal for a healthy cat but if there are excessive amount then consult a vet.

    Regularly check your cats ears for dirt or ear mites. Any dirt can be removed with a damp Q-tip. If you spot small brown clumps of discharge you should consult your vet. This is a sign of ear mites.

  9. Care for the claws:
    If you have an outside cat, claw care is less important. Climbing trees, and other outdoor stuff helps to keep claws well maintained.

    An inside cat has far less need for its claws. There is really no environment where your cat needs to use its claws. You should trim your cats claws once or twice a year. Clip the very tip of each claw. Taking any more then just the tip can hurt your cat. It is recommended that you have a vet show you how to clip their claws properly.

  10. Care of the mouth and teeth:
    As cats age their teeth start to get calcium build up which can cause gum inflammation. Check your cats mouth every 6 or 8 weeks. Find and remove and calcium build up before deposits get too large.
Caring for a cat is quite simple, common sense really. I believe that good food, fresh water, lots of love and exercise is best for a cat. By following these 10 simple guidelines your cat can live a long and healthy life.

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Top 10 questions for your veterinarian

(ARA) - Being a veterinarian is a tough job. After all, veterinarians have to treat patients who can't explain where it hurts or follow health instructions more complex than "sit" or "stay."

That's why communication between pet owners and veterinarians is so important. Sharing information about how your pet is behaving - including eating, drinking, sleeping, urinating and/or passing stools - could help make a lifesaving diagnosis.

For starters, pet owners need to make sure they have a local veterinarian they can team up with to keep their pets healthy. If you're looking for a veterinarian, check out www.myveterinarian.com, a new website that provides detailed information about veterinary practices across the country.

Once you have selected a veterinarian, the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) suggests this list of the top 10 things you should talk about with your veterinarian during a visit:

10. Ask about parasite prevention and control for heartworms, fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms that's appropriate for your region of the country.

9. Ask about proper behavior training and socialization. Many shelters report that improper training and socialization - and the behavioral issues that can come with them - are some of the most common reasons people give up their pets. Your veterinarian can assist in evaluating your animal's disposition and provide advice and tips on how to appropriately train and socialize your pet.

8. Ask about emergency care. When your pet has acute health issues in the middle of the night, you'll need to know where to call or go. Ask where you should go when things go wrong, and make sure you figure out how to get there before an emergency - you certainly don't want to be driving around asking for directions in an emergency situation.

7. Ask about nutrition. What type of food should you feed your pet? What serving size is appropriate? And does their age impact what you should be feeding them?

6. Ask if your pet is overweight and, if it is, how you can get your pet back to a healthy weight. As in humans, weight control for pets is essential for good health.

5. Ask about vaccinations. Vaccinations are essential to your pet's health and should be tailored to your pet's lifestyle. A pampered high-rise dweller that never sets foot outside won't need the same vaccines as a mud hound forever exploring outdoors.

4. If you have a pet older than 7 years of age, ask about senior care. Older pets are more prone to conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, thyroid conditions and other problems.  Prevention and early detection of problems are key to helping your pet live a longer, healthier life.

3. Ask about any lumps and bumps your pet has developed. Although many of the lumps and bumps are not problems, some of them are cause for concern. It's best to have all of them checked out, just to make sure.

2. Ask about any changes you've noticed in your pet's diet, energy level, water intake, output and behavior. Any of these might be important health clues.

1. Ask about the results of your veterinarian's physical examination of your pet, including an oral health evaluation. Dental disease is one of the most common health problems that pets experience and it can lead to serious problems.

For more information, visit www.avma.org and www.avma.org/myveterinarian.
Keep your home pet-friendly and fresh
(ARA) - Of course you love your pets, but let's face it: Sometimes they smell. And whether you are hosting guests or trying to sell your home, the last thing you want visitors to remember is an offensive odor. Luckily, there are a number of ways to eliminate those less-than-pleasant pet odors and let your home's personality shine.

Refreshing walls
Paint is one of the most dramatic and cost-effective ways to give your home's interior a new look, and now it can also give your home a new fresh scent. Dutch Boy's Refresh paint features odor-eliminating technology from Arm & Hammer. It reduces odors caused by pets and other sources, keeping your home smelling as good as it looks. Proven to reduce household smells, a coat of Refresh paint will prevent bad odors from lingering for months. By trapping and neutralizing odor molecules, this paint doesn't cover up unappealing smells, but actually reduces them. And Refresh paint is available in Dutch Boy's broad range of colors, so you can reduce unpleasant smells without compromising your decorating taste.

Clean with steam
Even if your pet isn't allowed on the furniture, your home furnishing fabrics are holding onto  unpleasant scents. Though you may vacuum regularly, animal hair and dander are trapped in the fibers of your cushions, curtains, sofa and other decor. Using a steam cleaner is the best way to eliminate bad smells in upholstered furniture and other items that cannot be laundered. Hire a professional service to treat the common areas in your home, or purchase a steam cleaner specifically designed for pet hair removal. Deep-clean common area fabrics several times each year, and to help maintain a fresh smell day to day, use an odor-neutralizing fabric spray regularly.

Hit the floor
The biggest source of your home's objectionable smell could be right under your feet. As anyone who has house-trained a pet knows, they don't always get it right, and sometimes those accidents go unnoticed and cause stains to inevitably set in. To remove odors of any age, scrub bare floors with white vinegar and water or an odor-neutralizing cleaner, and thoroughly wash carpets and rugs using an odor-neutralizing shampoo. You can also hire a professional to clean the carpets and provide extra deodorizing treatments. If stains or smells remain, you'll likely need to replace the carpet and padding. If this is the case, be sure to scrub the floor beneath before laying new carpet down. After the carpet has been thoroughly cleaned or replaced, regularly use carpet deodorizer formulated for pet odors when vacuuming.

Scented accessories
Tie a ribbon on your odor-free home with strategically placed candles and air fresheners. Choose classic scents that complement your decor, and use a variety throughout the home to avoid an overpowering result. Many candles and fresheners offer odor-neutralizing technology as well as pleasant scents, ensuring unfavorable smells are not only covered up but eliminated. Jars of potpourri or scented crystals add touches of personality to any room decor as well.

No matter what types or the number of pets that share your home, these tips will help keep it smelling fresh all year round.