Caring for a little life is a big responsibility and one that should never be taken lightly. Our cat depends on us to make sure all its needs are met for its entire life. And that could be quite some time! There are of course, some basics of care that you may already know and there may be a few that just might surprise you.
Let's begin with the most obvious cat care needs – Feeding
Our common house cat was domesticated over 3600 years ago, but did you know that its digestive system has remained unchanged from its wild cousins? That means, your furry family member should be eating a diet that consists of meat. Raw meat at that. Their digestive enzymes and stomach acids are specifically designed to break down raw meats and even soften bone, in order to assimilate the nutrients. You do not ever see a wild lion with a fry pan or nibbling on dry kibble do you? The healthiest meals for your kitty are raw. You can find pre-made raw meals in pet health food stores, they can be ordered online or you can make them yourself with a little help from a good, natural kitty care book.
For a variety of reasons, some people are unable to feed their cats a raw diet, so it is vitally important to choose the healthiest bag or canned food available. Never purchase pet food from a supermarket! They only stock the cheapest and poorest quality 'food'. Shop at a pet store and read ingredients. The first 3 ingredients should be meat. And the food should not contain grains of any kind. Remember, cats are carnivores and thrive on a meat based diet. And of course, always have plenty of fresh, clean water available at all times.
Another important need for your cat is – Shelter
For the health and safety of your cat, it is of vital importance that they be kept indoors. The average life expectancy for a cat allowed to roam outside is 4 years, while an indoor cat will live around 15 years or more. What a difference! Outside, your cat will come in to contact with illness, disease from other animals, fleas and ticks, cars and predatory animals such as coyotes or neighborhood dogs. Keep them safe, keep them inside.
An absolute essential in having a healthy and happy cat is – Health Care
Health care consists of 2 main parts. Veterinary care and maintenance care.
You will need to take your kitty in for regular vet check up's and basics, such as having them spade or neutered, vaccinated, etc. And it is a good idea to have a budget for unforseen circumstances as well, such as your kitty getting sick or injured. I strongly recommend obtaining a quality pet health insurance policy. They are inexpensive (around $ 25 a month) and can cover most of the costs of unexpected accidents, that may run into the thousands of dollars.
Maintenance care includes essentials that need to be done regularly. Things like grooming costs, monthly flea and tick medicine, toys, scratching posts, catnip, the list can go on. Having a budget of at least $ 50 per month for these things is a safe estimate.
And one of the most important necessities for giving your cat a full and happy life is – Love
Although this may sound obvious, your cat needs more than a bowl of food and a pat on the head every now and then. They are living, feeling creatures that are totally dependent on you. They crave your attention, play time and love. Each cat will have their own personality and disposition. Some will be rather aloof, others will need constant attention 24/7. Finding one that fits your personality is very important.
Having a healthy and happy cat is easily achievable with a little advance preparation. The perfect places to begin the search for your new friend are your local Shelters and the human society. If you have a particular type of cat in mind, you can go to petfinder.com. You will be able to sort by age, size, color, breed, etc and find the perfect new family member for you.
It may seem like a bit of work at first, but when you've got the plan, you and your new kitty will live a long and happy life together.