General Cat Care
Bringing Home A New Cat
When you get a new cat, whether it be an adult cat or a kitten, it is very important that they settle into their new home as quickly and comfortably as possible. When first arriving home with your new cat or kitten, ensure you have already prepared a clean litter tray for them to use in a private corner or area, and clean fresh water and food. Try to keep them in a confined area to begin with as timid cats will hide under beds or kitchen units if given the chance.
If you have the opportunity, speak to the cats previous owners about the cats diet. It is best to avoid any sudden changes in diet to avoid digestive upsets. Do not feed your cat milk, many cats cannot digest it, and may suffer from diarrhoea. All your cat needs to drink is fresh water, and you must ensure this is always available.
Although your cat will need attention, try not to pester him too much. Allow him to explore, but don't leave him on his own, and try to interact with him in a friendly way. At night, you may want to give him a cuddly toy to snuggle up to, and if he cries, try switching on a radio low or moving his bed into your room for the company.
If you are going to allow your cat to go outdoors, allow at least 3 weeks before doing so. This time means he will become familiar with his surroundings and less likely to become a stray when he is allowed outside. When you do chose to let him outside, do so before a meal as this will help to ensure his return, and for the first few journeys outside, always stay with your cat, but let him explore, don't carry him in your arms.
You must remember that cats are all individuals, with different personality's. It may take a few days for your cat to settle down, start eating properly and feel completely at ease.
Your cat's dietery requirements will change throughout his life and also depending on the state of his health. It can be quite a daunting dask choosing how to feed your cat, with a wide variety of different feeding options and brands on offer, but with a little knowledge, you can ensure your cat is as healthy as possible.
Many people prefer to simply feed their cat dried food and not give them any tinned food at all and this is perfectly fine to do as long as you ensure all your cat's dietary requirements are being met. Cats need high quality proteins and fat and if you are only feeding dry food, buy one that states the contents so that you know exactly what your cat is eating. Also, if you choose to only feed dry food, your cat must have a supply of water at all times. Wet food consists of about 90% water and is probably all that a cat needs, although it is still a good idea to have water available to your cat all the time. But as long as you choose a good quality dry food, there really is no reason your cat should not be completely healthy. In fact there are many advantages such as
- it is more economical than wet food
- it helps to keep the teeth and gums in good condition
- it will not attract flies or smell
- it lasts much longer and can be left out constantly
So the decision to feed your cat wet food or not is really dependent on you and which method you feel is most suitable. Just remember that if you choose only dry food, it must be of high quality.
Kittens should be weaned at the age of six to eight weeks, and before this time there is rarely any reason to supplement their diet. Once they have been weaned, they need to be fed four small meals a day. If using wet food, only put out enough for each meal, and any leftovers should be thrown away once your kitten has finished eating. Dry food however can be left out between meals. Kitten food is high in energy and protein and will help them grow and as they do, their appetite will increase so ensure you are always feeding them enough.
Young cats will be well nourished if fed with tinned and high quality dry food. Do not allow your cat to dictate what he eats however. Change brands and flavours regularly, but do not worry, a normal cat will not starve, if your cat is not eating for a couple of days, it is a sign that he is unwell and you should seek medical advice from a vet. You may also treat your cat once a week to some boiled fish, cheese or chicken (always ensuring there are no bones in the meat). Feeding your cat oily fish once a week also helps to prevent fur balls.
Middle Aged Cats
Middle aged cats can be fed in much the same way as younger adult cats but you need to keep a closer eye on his weight. As he gets older and his activity decreases, you need to make sure he is not over-eating and putting on weight. If you feed him tinned food, that should be done twice a day, but any dry food can be left out all the time, but perhaps weigh this out to make sure you are feeding him the correct amounts.
Elderly cats can eliminate many of the illnesses brought on by old age with the correct diet. At the first signs of any weight loss or excessive eating or drinking, take your cat to the vet, where a suitable diet can be recommended.