You may have heard that cats have nine lives. Well, maybe that's true, but one thing is for sure, your cat can have a long and healthy life with proper care.
There are many things to consider when treating a cat and we will see them all in the following sections:
- How to choose a suitable cat for you. It can be a great decision. A cat can live up to 20 years and a simple adoption can mean a great commitment. You have to choose the perfect cat for you. You must weigh the pros and cons of an adult cat against a kitten. You should also examine the best place to find a cat: a shelter, a friend or a stray cat.
- The choice of a cat to live indoors or a cat to live outside is a very important decision. Do you want to know if cats have to go outside? Is there any advantage to allowing your cat to roam the neighborhood? Of course, there are many more dangers abroad than in your home.
- Feeding. Obviously, food is an important part of pet ownership. After all, it is one of the few tasks that you will have to carry out every day. Just remember to put some com>
How to choose a cat
Before having a cat, you should find out what type of cat you want, such as: a kitten or an adult cat? With long hair or short hair? Of breed or a stray cat? Male or female? Atrium, with patches or a single color ?.
If you already have your heart set on a certain size, age, sex, breed or cat appearance, you should do a little extra research before buying one. You may be surprised to discover that that particular cat does not fit well with your lifestyle. For example, if you like a quiet home, a Siamese may not be the ideal cat for you. They are notorious and loud. Similarly, a Persian is beautiful to look at, but unless you are committed to doing an almost daily toilet (or paying a professional to do it every week or something), a nice short-haired cat can Be a better option. You travel a lot? If so, a more mature cat, at least eight months or more may be more appropriate. Two cats would be a better option, as they could keep company while you're away.
Cat or kitten?
Everyone loves kittens. They are cute, fun and charming, there is no doubt about it. But don't make the mistake that they are "babies." By the time a kitten is ready to be away from his mother and live in your home, he can now walk, run, jump and climb like the feline equivalent of a ten-year-old boy. What's more, if you buy a kitten today, in just a few months you will have an adult cat, in full maturity. A cat can live an average of 12 to 15 years.
If you have time, an adequate environment, the energy to raise a kitten and all the means to do it, it is a wonderful experience. Just remember that kittens demand a lot of attention, they need routine veterinary care consisting of booster injections, deworming and spaying or neutering. Most young kittens start affectionate and passive, but need some socialization and training to stay that way and still, you won't know what their adult personality will be until they grow up.
Finally, very young children and very young kittens usually do not mix well. It's nice to think that a small child and a ten-week-old kitten can "grow together", but it doesn't really happen that way. In six months, that little ball of hair that your son could take everywhere will have grown and your little son will not have the strength to catch it.
How to find a cat?
There is certainly no danger of cat shortage in most countries. Getting a cat is not like buying a lawn mower or a hair dryer, they don't come with guarantees. Each one is different, which means unique joys and also unique problems. You can buy a cat or they can give it to you friends or neighbors, there is always someone that your cat has had a litter of kittens or someone who for work or personal issues can not take care of your pet and have to give it away.
Another way to get a cat is in animal shelters. There are millions of homeless cats. If you want a breed cat you can keep an eye on the breeders. Sometimes you don't even have to worry about finding the ideal cat for you, since it is he who finds you. Many people swear that these are the best cats they can have.
Indoor cat or outdoor cat?
Maybe nothing is as overwhelming as the howl of a cat that wants to be on the other side of a door. When it comes to the front door, many of us think that means that our cats are not going to be truly happy unless they go outdoors. But again, most cats make the same type of howl when they want to enter (or for that matter, when they want to get something through any door). Do cats really want to go outside? They need it? And even if the answer to both questions is "yes", is it really convenient for them?
The main reason why dogs need to go outside is to do their needs and exercise. Only smaller dogs can have enough space inside a house. Dogs are cargo hunters, which means they work in cooperation to bring their prey to exhaustion. That can last all day, which means that dogs have a natural instinct to run and run and run. A large amount of open space is needed for that type of exercise. Cats, on the other hand, are "ambush hunters." They are based on short periods of running very fast. A hallway of any decent length offers plenty of space for that. That, combined with the instinct to bury debris (that is why cats use a litter box) does not add any compelling reason for the cat to live outdoors.
Is it natural for a cat to go outside? Of course, fresh air and sun are good for any human or cat. But is outdoor life really more "natural" for your cat? Of course, their wild ancestors lived outdoors. But that was a few thousand years ago and several hundred generations ago. To make matters worse, the ancestors of our furry friends lived in the arid regions of the Middle East. Once they were domesticated, the cats ceased to be completely "natural", were torn from their original habitat. Some of those circumstances, such as the cold of a winter in other countries or regions, dogs and wild animals make the original hunter, actually the hunted. Cars and trucks due to speeding are a danger to them.
In addition, there are a lot of serious and fatal feline diseases that are spread by contact with infected cats, such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (IVF). This causes a collapse in the cat's immune system while fighting the disease, it passes through bites of infected cats. Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) generally requires prolonged contact with an infected cat, such as litter boxes or feeders and drinking fountains or mutual grooming. Again and again, the risks of contracting these diseases are minor or insignificant for indoor cats. Cat owners, especially those with young children, should be especially aware that outdoor cats are more likely to catch diseases and parasites that can affect humans, from minor discomforts, such as fleas to a more serious illness. like Lime's disease to extremely dangerous conditions, such as rabies.
Just because it is safer for your cat to live indoors and not roam freely does not mean that he cannot see the light of day, except through the window. A leash and harness (not a collar) is a fairly safe way for you and your cat to share some fresh air and sunshine. Walking on a leash is an acquired behavior that some cats will never acquire. Some cats trained on a leash may even request a ride.
"You are what you eat" is a solid piece of common sense equally true for your cat. Feeding your cat with a quality diet is an almost vital step to have a healthy cat.
The pet food industry is big business and with good reason. There are millions of people who have dogs and cats at home. If you calculate what we spend on feeding our pets a year and multiply it by all households with pets, we are talking about many millions.
Like human food, there are some tasty feline delights that are good for cats and some that are basically crap. An occasional snack of foods that are not so healthy should not cause any permanent damage, but when it is a regular part of your cat's diet.
Can cats be vegetarians?
The cat's wild ancestors were hunters, an instinct that today's cats still have. If your cat brings you gifts of birds and mice, it is expressing a powerful natural impulse to stalk and kill its prey. If you doubt that your cat is a carnivore by nature (and predator), take a good look at its teeth the next time it yawns. Those fangs are not designed to eat alfalfa sprouts.
The fact is that your cat is a carnivorous animal, so it cannot survive as a vegetarian. There are certain nutrients that are only found in animal proteins and that your cat needs. One of these nutrients is an amino acid called taurine. Without taurine, cats can go blind and develop an enlarged heart, which will probably kill him much sooner than he had touched by age. And unlike dogs, cats require a dietary source of vitamin A and a fatty acid called arachidonic acid that is only found in animal tissue. That's why cats should never be fed dog food.
Of course, that does not mean that you should feed your cat with raw meat or let him go hunting as his only source of food. Hundreds of years have passed since cats lived in the wild, so their hunting skills are more than a little rusty. In addition, cats that hunt or eat raw or undercooked meat can catch various types of diseases, including some that could happen to you.
If it is green and grows from the ground, your cat will most likely try to eat it. This vegetarian peculiarity in the personality of the carnivorous cat is particularly worrying if the plants in question are your precious indoor plants, or worse, if they are poisonous to your cat.
Experts have some ideas on why cats feed on plants. It could be to get some extra nutrients, to aid digestion or as an emetic to help vomit the hair they have ingested during grooming and other non-food items. Whatever the reason, eating grass and plants is an instinctive behavior in cats and cannot be stopped. So the best thing you can do is plant in one or several potted cat grass. You can find ready-made kits at pet stores, but the cheapest option is to simply plant it yourself. In addition to planting this herb, you should protect plants that you don't want your cat to touch. Remember that they are excellent climbers, so it will not be enough to put them on the top shelves.
Take it to the vet
If you have decided to adopt a stray cat, without a doubt, the first thing you should do is take it to a veterinarian. Whether you are a puppy or an adult, the cat must be examined by a specialist to find out if he has contracted any disease, has fleas, is injured or suffers any other health problem.
Keep in mind that the cat has been exposed to all kinds of dangers, including fights between cats, food intake in poor condition, poisoning by repellent products for cats, blows produced by cars or other vehicles, etc. So he could have been infected with leukemia, distemper, suffer poisoning, have AIDS, and a long list of pathologies that only a veterinarian can identify and treat.
Also, remember that your new partner requires a series of mandatory vaccines that you must put to keep your health in perfect condition, as well as identify it with microchip to be able to find it if one day it is lost. Finally, you we recommend sterilizing it. Especially if the stray cat is an adult, it is used to find a partner during the mating season, if it is female, or to call a cat, if it is male. To do this, with total probability your cat will escape frequently.
Taking your stray cat to the vet will not be an easy task. To make it as comfortable as possible, you must get a carrier. Also, this utensil will also be very useful to take home, if you have not already done so. Unless it is a puppy, rarely will the adult cat that has been living in the street let you take him in his arms.
To select the right carrier, it is recommended that you go to the veterinarian and discuss the situation, he will advise you. On the other hand, it is imperative that the cat assume the figure of carrier as a positive element, and not negative. If we force our new cat to enter, you can associate it with negative stimuli and adopt an aggressive attitude every time you see it.
Arm yourself with patience, get food or cat treats and use a soft and gentle voice to encourage your cat to enter. You can also introduce some toy inside and leave some food to be entertained for as long as it is in the carrier.
Prepare our house For the arrival of the new member is a crucial step in the adoption of any animal. Cats are much more independent animals than dogs, so it is recommended that your new cat has its own space in the home. In this sense, you have two options: give him an uninhabited room or let him explore freely and it is he who chooses his corner. When some of your daily routine varies, the cat tends to hide and go through its own adaptation process. And, of course, adopting him and offering him a new home is a very big change for him. Hence the importance of having a corner or room for him alone.
The basic utensils that every cat should have at home are the following:
- Food and water. Depending on the age and weight of your cat, you must select one type of food or another. Check our article on proper cat food and provide the diet you need. However, if your stray cat is an adult, during the first days it is advisable that you acquire wet food, with a much more palatable smell that will capture your attention quickly and favor its adaptation to the new environment. Remember: food will be your great ally to earn your trust. Also, if you have selected the space that your new partner will occupy, place the water and food bowls in it so that it approaches and begins to become familiar. Otherwise, if you prefer to explore and it is he who chooses his corner, leave the food in a visible place, when he has decided what his favorite space is, place the bowls there.
- Sandbox. Remember that cats are extremely neat animals, so you should not place water and food bowls near the litter box. Even if they share a room, there must be some space between them.
- Bed for sleeping. After a period of time living on the street, your cat will appreciate that you provide a comfortable and soft bed for sleeping. Leave it near the food and also away from the litter box.
- Scrapers. Cats are animals that are characterized by having sharp nails, and they love having them well taken care of and prepared to defend themselves if they feel threatened. Therefore, getting a scraper is essential so that they can file them and avoid causing damage to the furniture or to you.
Let your stray cat get used to your new home and don't be surprised if the first few days you prefer not to leave your room or corner, you need to find your stability and feel safe. Enter his space several times and share moments with him so that he knows you and begins to trust you, always without forcing him. If he doesn't let you caress him, give him time.
The contact with nature
Especially if the cat you want to adopt is an adult, it is used to live in constant contact with nature, to hunt its own food, to interact with other cats, etc. Therefore, you must adapt your new environment to meet that need and maintain your connection with nature.
Find windows that connect to the outside and place tables so that your cat can sit on them and observe the street. If your house has a patio, garden or terrace, decorate it with plants so you can sniff them, explore and notice a little less home change.
The cat trees They are extremely useful, because they manage to cover two basic needs for him and for you, his new partner: file your nails and climb. On the street, your cat was used to having to climb trees and other structures to observe from a higher perspective what is happening on the ground or flee from the dangers that might stalk him.
Finally, to cover your need to hunt you must provide toys designed for that purpose. The cat is an animal with a very developed hunting instinct to ensure its survival, so you will have to acquire hunting toys that, in addition, exercise it and help to channel the energy accumulated during the day. In specialized stores for the sale of products and accessories for pets, you will find a variety of toys that will meet this need, such as fake mice or rods with ropes and dolls at the end of it to play with it. With this last type of toys, you will not only keep your cat happy, but also strengthen your bond with him.
Fresh water everywhere
Your cat needs to drink water every day. So you must have drinking fountains with fresh, clean water so you can drink whenever you want.
Of course, in addition to getting the hydration you need from water, you can also get it from the food you eat. The more water there is in your food, the less you will have to drink. Canned cat food is more expensive. Dry cat food has much less water (maybe 10 percent by weight), which means that a cat whose diet consists only of dry food has to drink much more.
Dehydration (not having enough water in the body) is a serious problem for any living being and cats are especially prone to it. A cat can be without food for days, losing up to 40 percent of its body weight and still survive. But a loss of body water of only 10-15 percent can kill it. Make sure your cat has clean, fresh water available at all times.
Respect your times
This advice is aimed at adult or elderly stray cats, since the puppy cat can adapt it to your rules without problem. Keep in mind that the street cat is adapted to be the one who imposes its rules, schedules and routines, or to follow other cats more authoritarian than him. Patience and respect is what you need from you to get used to your new habits and make it a homemade cat.
Especially if he has experienced dramatic situations, at first he may be suspicious of you and always be defensive. Therefore, it is essential that we treat it with delicacy, go slowly and do not force it. Let me see how you provide food and water to associate your presence as something positive and essential for survival. Approach it with caution, small steps and soft voice. With the passing of days, you will be more and more receptive and you can increase the approaches.
Respect your time and space. If he is the one who approaches, let him caress you and lie down with you, once he has obtained his trust and adaptation to the new home, you can start setting standards. Of course, you should not confuse respect with fear. Do not be fearful before him because then he will feel that you are afraid of him and will try to dominate you, he needs an affectionate, kind and delicate person but at the same time firm and authoritative.
Does the stray cat run away?
With great probability your stray cat will try to escape during the first days in his new house. To avoid this, the first step you should take is keep windows and doors closed. If you have a patio, garden or terrace, you must place a fence high enough so that it does not jump. Remember that it is highly positive that your new partner has the freedom to visit the courtyard, so denying him entry is not the solution, you should look for an alternative such as fencing.
As we discussed in the first section, sterilization considerably appeals the need to escape to reproduce, so do not rule out this option.
Have you already taken these measures and your cat keeps insisting? So what you should do is educate your feline to take him for a walk every day. Buy him a cat harness and a leash and train him to listen to you during the outings. We do not advise you to leave it loose on the street, it can escape again.
Do not hesitate to consult our article on basic cat care and start brushing your fur, taking care of your nails, etc., as soon as you have become accustomed to your new home.
If you want to read more articles similar to Tips for adopting a stray cat, we recommend that you enter our What you need to know section.
Help stray cats in an already controlled colony
The easiest step to help stray cats is find out if there are controlled colonies where you live and who controls them. Can get in touch with an animal guard and offer to help you out.
Protectors always need volunteers to help them work and financial donations of feed or other materials. Think about what your contribution can be and encourage yourself to collaborate.
Starting to control colonies with an animal shield will help you know what to do in each case. You will be accompanied by people with more experienceand that he already knows the cats of the colony and will guide you in what they need and what they don't need.
It seems easy to help stray cats by leaving food near where they live, but if not done carefully it can be dangerous for them, or it can cause a public health problem in the neighborhood where the cats are.
If there is a colony near where you live and is not controlled by anyone - protective or private - you can encourage yourself to start controlling it, but to feed those cats you must consider:
- The food must only be dry (I think). Do not put wet food unless it is very necessary and, of course, don't feed them with traces of human food. And it is that wet food attracts insects, rats and other pests, while the remains of human food can also be toxic or harmful to cats.
- Remove the dishes or spoiled food when you leave. Don't litter the place where cats live, for your comfort and for not violating the public health of others.
- Every time you go, change the water you have left for fresh water. Do not let it stagnate, because cats will not want to drink it or be sick.
- If left over, before you go, leave the food hidden and out of reach of passersby. Some soulless could throw poison, scatter and spoil it, or some other animal could eat it.
Sterilization of colony cats
Part of the responsibility of colony control is the sterilization of its members. Through CES projects, stray cats are trapped, sterilized and returned to their colonies. It is the hardest and most expensive part of maintaining a colony, but it is the only way to avoid new births and keep the colony from growing.
The more sterilized cats, the fewer offspring in the breeding season. In addition, sterilized cats cease to have fights due to territoriality or zeal. Thus, sterilizing cats increases their quality of life and greatly reduces the risks of suffering an accident.
Shelters for the cold
There are different types of solutions to help stray cats in the coldest times. As we have recounted at the beginning of this article, we know that you have to look at the car's engine before starting it. Anyway, within the colonies we can create comfortable rooms for Help stray cats sleep more warmly.
The cabin that is suggested to be made is normally constructed with two large plastic boxes, one bigger than another. A hole is made in each of the boxes, see put one inside the other and the space between the two is filled with straw. So, the air chamber between the two boxes will help insulate the box Where the cats will sleep
Another option is wooden sheds, so cats can take refuge inside. Some controlled colonies have them, but they are less economical or homemade than the shelter with plastic boxes.
Especially when spring comes the cats begin to reproduce. If you find a litter of nursing kittens, follow these steps to make sure you do your best for them:
- Make sure your mother doesn't come back. Mothers have to go hunting and leave the kittens alone for a while each day. Watch, where your mother can't see you, two or three hours. If it does not come at that time, we can venture that they are orphans and will be your responsibility.
- Try find a nurse or a cat with a recent litter that can bring the kittens forward. There are people with experience that could help you.
- Look for information on how to bottle orphaned kittens and help them survive. It is not difficult to take care of orphaned cats if you know how, because luckily on the internet there is information on how to do it.
- Search adoption. Once you stop taking a bottle and go to the sandbox alone, look for them a good family. Be sure to deliver them to responsible people who will not abandon them when they are olderWell, we want to reduce the number of stray cats and not increase it.
Helping stray cats is not difficult and should be the responsibility of all of us. Cats share the streets with us and it costs very little to make their lives easier.
Source of the main image: Antonio Marín Segovia