Owning a cat, or taking home a new one for the first time, is an exciting prospect, especially if there are children in the house. But it's not a decision that you should take lightly. Cats require responsibility, care, and lots of love and attention, so it's vital that you avoid making any mistakes that could cause you or your feline-friend unnecessary stress. Here are five common mistakes that cat owners make:
Once you've got a cat, you'll need to take care of its health, and that means making sure it receives all necessary vaccinations. Vaccinations can mean fewer trips to the vets and (despite the upfront cost) reduced vets fees to pay, so it's worth bearing this in mind.
You should also consider getting your cat spayed or neutered, unless you want to have a litter of kittens or an unruly tomcat that persistently sprays on your furniture.
Ideally, cats like to have the freedom to roam free as and when the mood takes them, so a cat flap is perfect for this. But it's not always possible for some cat owners to have a cat flap, for example, if they live in a flat. So, you're going to have to properly train your cat to use a litter tray and a scratching post.
Every time your cat needs the loo, encourage him to the litter tray and put any messes he makes in the tray so he'll get to know that's where he should be doing his business. You can't stop a cat from wanting to keep his claws sharp, so if you don't provide a scratching post for him, he'll use your furniture instead.
Cats absolutely hate water, so the last thing you should ever do is give them a bath. It will only cause them distress.
In fact, most cats are very good at grooming themselves and keeping themselves clean. However, should your cat come home with undesirable materials matted into its fur then there are special cat grooming products on the market that can be used for such purposes.
A cat should be a family pet, and not left as the responsibility for a child. While children might love having a cat around, they should not be the animal's main carer. The novelty of caring for it may well wear off, and your feline might not get the proper attention it needs, so bear this in mind.
Equally, if you do have children at home, then consider how having a cat will affect the family dynamics. Young children and babies, in particular, won't have the skills to understand how to deal with a cat, and they might come under attack from its sharp claws if they do something to aggravate it.
Cats can be expensive to look after, but buying cheap food is most certainly a false economy. Not only might you find that your cat won't eat it, as many cats are quite fussy when it comes to what they will and won’t eat, but the food might not contain the essential nutrient requirements that your cat needs.
That's not to say you shouldn't experiment with different brands of food until you find one your cat likes, but you should be wary of cheap products that contain little nutrient value.
Guest piece written and contributed by A. Fowler on behalf of House of Paws; specialists in small, medium, and large dog beds. Click here to find out more or here to read more from House of Paws.
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