Top tips for cat care, grooming and advice for beginners
What do you need to know about caring for a cat?
Deciding to invite a cat into your home and family is one of the most rewarding decisions you could ever make. But caring for another living thing is a lot of responsibility – especially if you’ve never owned a pet before! So it’s really important to make sure that you’ve fully thought it through before going ahead with taking a new cat in.
So, if you’ve got any questions about cat care, grooming and keeping your feline friend happy, whether you are already a cat owner or are thinking about getting a cat in the foreseeable future.
What does your cat or kitten need?
- Clean water - Your cat needs access to fresh, clean water every single day.
- Regular meals – Your cat needs regular, nutritious meals. Especially important if they are a young, growing kitten.
- Comfortable bed – Cats love snoozing. You’ll need to provide your cat with a comfortable spot so that they can rest.
- Litter trays – Your cat will want to keep itself clean, so you’ll need to empty and replace its litter tray daily.
- Grooming – Cats will tend to groom themselves but in order to really keep them clean and tidy, make sure you groom your cat regularly. Longhaired breeds may need daily grooming.
- Register your cat with a vet – Your cat should be taken to the vets regularly to vaccinate them, treat them for worms and neuter if necessary.
Easy cat care tips
You should know that cats are carnivores, so the main part of their diet must be meat. It’s also important to think about whether they are kittens, adults or seniors as commercial cat food is usually formulated with this in mind and will provide instructions as to how often they should be fed. This is usually once or twice a day for adult cats.
Bear in mind that if you get yourself a kitten, during this life stage the feeding regimen will be more frequent but with smaller servings.
Cats are natural predators and may like to catch themselves an occasional mouse or bird to eat as well, so you’ll need to keep an eye on their weight when factoring in the right diet for your cat’s specific needs.
Of course, what goes in must come out, so you’ll also need a couple of litter trays per cat. These need to be changed at least once per week but you’ll also need to scoop their business out of each tray at least once per day too. Having nice, clean litter trays means your kitty is more likely to use them. Additionally, you also get to keep an eye out for anything in there that would suggest your cat could do with a trip to the vets.
Cats love to sleep and can snooze for up to 15 hours a day! So, getting the right bedding for your cat is super important. There’s a fair bit of choice here, so it’s important to buy with your cat in mind. Would they like to be hidden away to sleep? Then try a hideaway enclosed bed. For cats that prefer to sleep on beds or sofas generally, a cat cushion might be ideal. Some kitties prefer to just stretch and lounge in the sun, so a nice flat pillow type can be best for them.
Having your cat neutered if it's a boy or spayed if it's a girl is generally advisable. Not only does it prevent unwanted pregnancies, but it also protects your cat from diseases. It’s a good way of stopping certain unwanted behaviours like urine spraying too!
As a responsible cat owner, it’s also strongly advisable to have pet insurance and have your cat checked over by a recommended vet. Then you’ll want to ensure that your cat gets any needed vaccinations as well as regular check-ups and preventative treatments to protect them against worms and fleas.
Cats love their sleep and can sleep on average for 15 hours a day.
Cat grooming tips
All cats, regardless of the length of their fur, need to be groomed regularly. This is a great opportunity for you and your feline friend to bond, as well as allowing you to spot anything unusual that you might want to have checked out by your vet.
By keeping your cat regularly groomed, you’ll also be taking great preventative care of them by stopping them swallowing dead hair while they self-grooms, reducing the need for them to cough up any nasty fur balls.
Until your cat gets used to being groomed, it’s a good idea to keep sessions short and sweet to build up a tolerance. Try to keep the experience positive and enjoyable for both of you and never force it to avoid causing stress.
Cat grooming gloves
If you have a longhaired breed of cat in particular, you may need to groom them daily. One way to keep them properly maintained is to use cat grooming accessories like grooming gloves or specialist pet grooming brushes.
Cat grooming gloves are great for cleaning your cat and removing dirt, stray hairs and pet dander. The gloves are made to fit around your hand while you gently stroke and massage your cat. Some cats may prefer this gentle style of grooming and it’s a good way to introduce a young cat to more regular grooming.
Your cat may prefer if you used pet grooming gloves to gently massage and clean up stray hairs.
How can I keep my cat happy?
Cats have an instinctive need to scratch, so unless you want your furniture all ripped up, invest in a scratching post or mat! Try and pick one that you think they’ll take to, so consider styles and materials carefully.
You also need to think about placement – where is your cat most likely to use the post? Allowing regular scratching of pre-approved items is great for keeping on top of claw-care too.
When it comes to playing and companionship, the idea is to make it safe and stimulating for your cat both mentally and physically. Good toys include those that allow your pet to practise their instinctive hunting skills e.g. toy mice and feather wands. Remember to let your little friend “catch” their prey from time to time so that they don’t get frustrated.
Food puzzle games or balls are another good option, but remember to factor this into your cat’s daily diet requirements to prevent obesity.
Cats also love to sit up high in cat trees, hidey-holes and the like, so investing in a perch is a great way to keep your cat happy while they watches the world go by.
As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to deciding on being a cat owner. But if you’re sure that you could meet these basic requirements, you’re well on your way to becoming a responsible cat owner with a happy and contented cat. And what could be more purr-fect than that?