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Monday, February 21, 2011

5 Tips for New Cat Owners

--------- 5 Tips for New Cat Owners ---------

Posted Fri, May 18, 2007, 10:00 am PDT Reference (Yahoo / Pets)

1. Do your homework. The decision to get a cat may have been unplanned and emotional, but the care of that cat can’t be impulsive. Talk to your veterinarian, read books by qualified experts, and learn about this new family member. Start off by being properly informed about what cats need, and you’ll see your relationship blossom as your kitty grows into a well-socialized, well-behaved feline.

2. Start out with the right equipment. There are so many litter boxes, litters, scratching posts, toys, and beds -- and the list goes on. How do you know what your cat needs? Resist the urge to buy a product based on its human appeal. Think Like a Cat and look at a product from your cat’s point of view. For example, a covered litter box is designed to hide the sight and odor of its contents from us. Unfortunately, the cover also traps the odor in the box, making it unpleasant for the cat. An uncovered box that’s the right size for your cat would be in line with what Fluffy would choose if she had control of your wallet. Use that same Think Like a Cat eye-view when deciding on other products. Is that scratching post appealing to you because it’s small and easily hidden in a corner? If so, that decision may cost you some damage to your furniture, because Fluffy would prefer something tall and sturdy.

3. Make your home cat-safe. This is crucial when a cat comes into the home. Dangling electrical cords are enticing to a playful cat, so you should firmly secure all wires. Plants pose another danger, and almost all houseplants are toxic to cats. Remove plants that are harmful, or use a bitter anti-chew spray made especially for plants (found in pet supply stores.) A dangling window-blind cord is another potential hazard. Cats also love to crawl into tight hiding places, and that could mean trouble if you close a closet door or dresser drawer and kitty is stuck in there. You’ll find lots of helpful products in the baby safety section of your local home improvement store. Many of these products will help the new cat owner as well. Cats can get into things you’d never suspect they were capable of, so safety is of the utmost importance.

4. Make your home cat-friendly. It may be hard for a cat to resist scaling the curtains or prancing across the top of the bookcase. Cats love to climb, leap, pounce, and balance. This is normal cat behavior, so don’t reprimand your cat for doing what comes naturally. Instead, provide acceptable outlets for that behavior by having cat trees, perches, and scratching posts in order to make your environment cat-friendly. Provide areas for safe exploration, cozy naps, climbing, jumping, playing, and just plain fun!

5. Remember -- your cat is not a dog. I know it may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times I see cats eating dog food or being bathed in dog shampoo. Use food and other products that are specifically designed for cats. Many products that are safe for dogs are not safe for a cat’s sensitive skin. When it comes to food, cats require more fat and protein, so if Fluffy eats Fido’s food, she won’t be getting enough of the nutrients she needs.

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