Cats and How to Best Care For Them

Tips for a Healthy Adult Cat

Choosing between a kitten or an adult cat

In my experience, making the choice between bringing home a kitten or an adult cat depends very much on one key factor. How much energy do you have? Having a kitten in the house is cute and fun to watch but they are just like human babies, finding everything in its path interesting and something new to ‘pounce’. After you kitten has been weaned from its mother and for at least the first 6 to 8 weeks after you bring home a kitten, you should expect to lose some sleep! Kittens tend to play all night. If you allow them in your bed like I do, every slightest movement on your part is an invitation for the kitten to pounce on you. And if you have other older cats in the house, you need to think of them too. If your other cats are much older than the kitten, the kitten is only going to annoy the adult cat; some may even be afraid of the kitten.

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Another thing to consider; adult cats need homes and need to be loved too! So, please don’t dismiss bringing home an adult cat. All of my cats have been rescues and only one of them was a kitten. I have had the most wonderful, loving, loyal, and protective cats one could ever want.

Keeping your cat indoors or outdoors

I currently have two male adult cats. In fact, they are actually considered seniors now because they are both 15 years old and still spry as ever! Both of these guys were rescues and were about 3 years old when they came to live with me. One was a stray that a friend of mine found on the beach nearly dead at the time. My friend would take in cats to rescue them and then later find decent homes for them. But she never allowed them in the house (there were too many). She had a very large back yard with many trees and a covered patio where each had their own bed ‘cubbies’ and food and water bowls. The other came from a neighbor I used to live next door to and who never allowed her cat in the house.

I give you this story because how these guys came to me and the environment in which they were accustomed had everything to do with my decision to allow them outdoors. My ‘boys’ are allowed in my back yard, but only when I am home to supervise them. I would never leave them out all day by themselves and I would not recommend that you do either. My cats do not leave their yard and I make sure no other animals come in contact with my cats, thus the supervision necessity. They are content to just be outside in the sun. It took a bit of training for one of them because he was used to coming and going as he pleased, but it is possible to train them to stay nearby.

People who keep their cats strictly outdoors should expect the cat’s life expectancy to be 7 to 8 years versus 10 to 20 years for an indoor cat! That is because outdoor cats are exposed to so much more that can bring harm to the cat and even kill the cat. Such things as other cats, especially male cats are very territorial and will fight with each other over territory. Your cat could be fighting with another cat that has Feline Leukemia or a serious infection, fleas, ticks, and many other ailments that your cat will easily contract if always left outside without supervision. This means more trips to the veterinarian to mend wounds and of course, more vaccines should be given since their exposure is so much more. All of this should be considered when making your decision, because you can see how the costs for keeping your cat can dramatically increase depending on their exposure.

Why you should never declaw your cat

I once dated a veterinarian who explained to me the procedure for declawing cats and the type of affect it would have on the cat’s ability to protect itself. He explained to me that declawing your cat would be similar to having your fingers cut off at the first knuckle on your hands. The cat’s claws were not designed only to protect themselves; the claws also play an integral part in how they walk. Cats are Digitigrade , which means that they walk on their toes, not the soles of their paws. I implore you to read the article found in this link which will give you a great deal of knowledge about the process of declawing a cat. Basically, it is considered cruel and I hope you never decide to do this.

If you are worried about your cat scratching your furniture, let me tell you about a product that I have used to prevent this from happening. I have purchased a product called “sticky paws” from Petco . I would describe it as basically being long strips of double-sided tape that you adhere to any surface you don’t want your cat to scratch or dwell, such as the corners of your furniture or your kitchen countertops. I have used this product and know that it works but you do have to use it for about 6 to 8 weeks for good training to take. When the cats touch it, they don’t like it because it is sticky, so they stay away. I encourage them to use their scratching post or flat scratcher by adding cat nip to the area. This teaches them where it is ‘okay’ to scratch.

So please people, be kind to your cat and do not declaw them.