Cats are quickly replacing dogs as the most favored pet in the United States. Man’s best friend has found himself playing second fiddle to these frisky felines for one reason – cats require very little work. Cats are the ideal pet for anyone who doesn’t have the time for a dog but still wants a pet around the house. Care of a cat is simple, but be forewarned – cats live a good, long time.
Most children love little kittens. They are soft, cuddly, and stick to you like tacky glue if you try to pull them from you. Little children must be carefully supervised around kittens, for both the sake of the child and the kitten. Children tend to squeeze, kittens tend to scratch.
Cats are fully grown in less than a year and never need to be taken for a walk. In addition, it is very simple to train a cat. Simply bring it home from the shelter or store and scratch its little paws in the litter box. Once it knows where the litter box is, the cat will make a beeline for it whenever it has to go.
Some people actually train cats to use the toilet. This is done by attaching a litter box to a contraption that fits on the inside of the toilet rim. The cat gets used to using this as his or her litter box and when you remove the contraption, the cat will still use the toilet. However, there is no way yet to teach a cat to flush.
Female cats tend to be more aloof than male cats and many people feel that males are much more friendly. In reality, all cats are lonesome creatures and solitary hunters and, unlike dogs, do not crave your attention. Males appear “friendlier” because they will greet you and rub up against you. They are merely staking their territory, not trying to please you.
When choosing a cat, you may choose a male, which is easier to have neutered and generally of a better temper, or a female, which is always more aloof and is more inclined to scratch or bite. A male cat must be neutered before he reaches adulthood or he will have the habit of spraying urine all over the house to mark his territory.
Cats are very territorial animals and they are predators. There are many plusses about owning a cat. They include:
- You don’t have to worry about mice or bugs; your cat will spend all day hunting them down;
- You never have to walk the cat;
- The cat will not be lonely during the day when the family is at school or work;
- The cat will not care if you go on a trip as long as someone comes in to feed and water it;
- You do not have to stick to a set feeding schedule with a cat, you can have dry food and fresh water available all of the time and the cat will eat when it feels like it;
- You can have the cat declawed so it cannot scratch your furniture; ｷ Stroking a cat is supposed to decrease blood pressure;
- Despite the reputation of being aloof, cats do get along well with their human companions.
The downside to owning a cat includes the following:
- You cannot take the cat for a walk, or out for a ride in the car without it freaking out;
- The cat will most likely sleep 18 hours a day (this could be a plus);
- A cat bite can be very painful as cats will bite all the way through;
- Other animals in the house, including fish, may be in jeopardy when a cat is in the house;
- Cats can live up to about 20 years if kept indoors, which means that your child will most likely go off to college and you will be home with the cat.
Before getting a cat for your children, think about where you want to have the litter box and where you will keep the food for the cat. The food and the litter box should never be close to one another as cats are very clean animals and do not like to go to the bathroom close to where they eat.
Younger children can be taught to keep the food in the cat’s bowl and also make sure that the animal has fresh water. Older children can be taught to scoop the litter box on a daily basis so that it doesn’t stink and the cat continues to use the litter box.
Cats are very fastidious animals. They like their litter box to be clean at all times and will let you know if they don’t think things are up to standards. They way they will let you know is by either knocking all of the litter out of the box or having accidents in other parts of the house. This is why it is so important to make sure that the box is scooped on a daily basis.
Most cat litter today is the scoopable kind. This clumps whenever the cat urinates or defecates in the box. The cat will naturally bury any of its waste, so you can put the scooper in there, which is like a strainer, to dig out all of the waste. Doing this on a daily basis will keep your house from having “cat odor” and will keep the cat using the litter box.
Food for your cat consists of dried food an canned food. Many pet owners feed their cats both types of food and some feed the cat on a schedule. This is not necessary. Most veterinarians will tell you to simply offer fresh water at all times for the cat and keep his or her food bowl filled with dry cat food. This will keep the cat eating on his or her own schedule and will also maintain a healthy digestive tract. It is not good to switch between moist and dry food all of the time, so choose one or the other. Dry food is better if you are planning on keeping the food in the bowl all of the time as it does not smell.
Cats are not like hamsters or rabbits or any of the other pets we discussed. Cats get the run of the house. To keep a cat in a cage is truly criminal as this is one creature that really likes his freedom. Unlike dogs, cats do not need a space of their own. Most dogs do not mind being crated when you are out – it gives them a feeling of security. You cannot do this to a cat.
Your cat will expect to have the run of the house. You cannot keep it from jumping on the furniture and the bed. It will most likely jump on your kitchen countertops, table, and chairs. All cats shed and cat hair is like cotton candy – very difficult to pick up with an ordinary vacuum cleaner.
You can try some tricks to “train” a cat to keep off of certain furniture and especially off of the table and countertops. These include the following:
- Crumpled paper. Put some crumpled waxed paper on the countertops that make noise whenever the cat jumps on it. The sound will scare the cat and she will jump down;
- Spray bottle. Cats hate water. You can fill a spray bottle with water and squirt the cat whenever he or she exhibits inappropriate behavior, such as jumping on the countertops. This will upset the cat and he or she will jump down. Only to jump up again when you are not looking.
- Mousetraps under the paper. Some people have used mousetraps under newspaper on furniture and countertops. The trap closes and makes a startling noise when the cat jumps on the paper and scares the cat away.
Cats do not have a very long memory and chances are that your cat will eventually go on the table, countertops, and furniture often. If you use the spray bottle, he or she will simply go on there when you are not looking.
To keep your family healthy and away from the germs a cat can spread, use a cutting board, and never prepare food on your countertops. Make sure that you wash the table and chairs often and get a good vacuum cleaner that will pick up pet hair.
Although they do not have the charm or allure of dogs, cats can be a lot of fun for young children. They may not have the instinct to please, as does a dog, but they are naturally curious and can be taught to play games.
Little children can easily play with cats by crumpling up paper and tossing it. The cat will instinctively go after the paper. He or she will not return the paper, as it is not their instinct to retrieve anything for humans, but they will have a good time playing with the paper. Cats tend to like things that make crinkly noises, but not too loud.
Another game your children can play with your cat involves a flashlight. Allow your children to make the light dance on the walls and watch the cat try to catch the light. Both the cat and your children will be amused for hours with this game.
Wands and other toys are available for cats at your local pet store, but cats are one of the easiest creatures in the world to amuse. Cats and children will generally amuse one another for quite some time before getting bored.
Supplies you will need to keep a cat include a litter box, scooper, litter, food, and a food dish. You will have to take the cat in to get spayed or neutered, a service many animal clinics offer for free. You may also wish to have your cat declawed. If you decide not to declaw your cat, you can get a scratching post for him or her to scratch at.
Cats will need shots for a variety of illnesses, although you can add years to your cat’s life if you choose to keep him or her inside. Unlike dogs, cats are not regulated by the municipality and do not have to be registered. They are not required to have a rabies shot every year. Although nowadays they have a three-year shot anyway, so that makes it easier for pet owners all around.
Your cat may get sick and have to be taken to the vet. In such a case, the vet will usually want to make sure that your cat is up to date on all of its shots. If your cat has not had his or her shots, they will be administered at the vet’s office for an additional fee. If you go on a trip and choose to board your cat, you will also have to provide proof of shots.
While many people feel that keeping a cat indoors is cruel, your cat will live a lot longer if you do not allow it to become an outdoor cat. Once you allow your cat outdoors, chances are that he or she will always want to get out and may even wait by the door for you to open it so they can get out. A cat who is used to being outdoors may have a problem using the litter box and will generally prefer to do his or her “business” outside.
Cats who go outside also may bring in diseases and germs upon their return. Many cats will bring a kill home, such as a mouse, as a “gift” to you. Most people do not want such gifts and for this as well as the above-mentioned reasons, they choose to keep their cats indoors.
A cat can be a loving companion, despite the fact that it is a solitary hunter. They do not come when they are called, cannot do tricks and do not aim to please, but they can be the ideal pet for your kids, particularly if you work and do not want to spend a lot of time taking care of the animal.