You may have heard that cats are “finicky” creatures. But in reality, cats require very little to be healthy and happy pets.
Feeding Your Cat
We recommend a high quality (premium grade) dry food. At the RC Pets Animal Care & Adoption Center, we feed cats dry cat food and leave fresh water out all the time. Feed kittens less than six months old at least three times a day; six months to a year old, twice daily; and adult cats, once or twice a day. Some families make dry kibble available to their cats all day. Consult with your own veterinarian about the type of food that would be best for your cat, and what amount would be healthiest. Don’t feed your cat table scraps, chicken bones, raw meat, sweets, or foods containing alcohol.
Once your cat has gotten used to your house and is no longer retreating to her “safe” room, the litter box can be placed permanently elsewhere in the house. Litter boxes must be kept clean so be sure to empty the cat’s litter box at least once per day, and the litter should be changed weekly.
Cats are extremely tidy creatures and would rather go to the bathroom on almost any clean surface than eliminate in a dirty litter box. If the litter box is kept clean, your cat should use the box without the need for training.
If your cat is not using the litter box or stops using the litter box and the litter box is being kept clean, read the section “Unhappy Cats” for more information and helpful hints.
If all cat lovers spayed/neutered their cats we wouldn’t have so many kittens in our shelter every year. In addition, there is no truth to the myth that having a litter mellows a cat’s disposition or that spaying or neutering causes cats to become fat and lazy. In fact, altering a cat reduces the risk of urinary problems and cancer later in life, curbs the cat’s compulsion to roam and mark territory by spraying urine, and makes them generally better behaved with small children and other pets. All cats adopted from the Rancho Cucamonga Animal Care and Adoption Center have been spayed or neutered prior to going home with their adopter.
There is a big debate among animal shelters on whether cats should be kept indoors. On one side, an indoor cat is less likely to get lost, injured or killed. On the other hand, if you live in a safe area, the great outdoors may improve your cat’s happiness. There is no hard and fast rule. Use your common sense.
If you are going to let your cat outdoors, wait approximately two weeks to allow the cat to get oriented and to get used to the sights and smells of his home. If you let the cat go outside right away, he is likely to wander and get lost. One note of caution, declawed cats should never be allowed outdoors as they cannot protect themselves or climb to escape predators.
Keep in mind that a rambunctious cat can be perfectly happy kept indoors so long as he gets plenty of attention and exercise. Take a few minutes to play with your cat every day. Plant some catnip in a small pot and let your cat nibble on it. Buy some cat toys. One great way to keep an indoor cat happy is to provide him with a playmate and a companion—namely, another cat.
All cats adopted from the RC Pets Animal Care & Adoption Center have received their initial vaccinations. They have also been tested for certain disease, been treated for fleas and worms, and have been screened for general health and behavior problems. We encourage you to establish a relationship with a veterinarian of your choice.
It is true that cats have independent natures but in reality, your cat is entirely dependent on you for his health and well–being. A cat who receives adequate nutrition and who receives periodic veterinary examinations will likely live longer. At your initial visit, your veterinarian can discuss this further and make recommendations in more detail.
Flea collars are expensive and largely ineffective. By contrast, frequent vacuuming of your household and laundering of your cat’s bedding can go a long way to reducing fleas. In addition, there are some good products that can be applied as little as once a month that can virtually eliminate fleas on your cat. Talk to your veterinarian.
Most cats who are handled with gentleness and respect will reward their caretakers with affection. Some cats, however, can be a little under–socialized or get over–stimulated. Never correct a cat’s behavior by hitting or slapping her—that will only teach the cat to dislike and fear you. Read the section “Unhappy Cats” for more information on correcting unwanted behaviors.