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CAT CARE

Food and Nutrition

Young kittens by the time you get him, say by 10-12 weeks should be fully weaned. Give your kitten milk for some more time to meet calcium needs till he settles on a balanced good quality diet. As he grows older his ability to digest lactose decreases so reduce its milky feeds or he may suffer from diarrhoea. Kittens have small stomachs and they will be able to eat only a little at a time. So daily intake should be split into a number of  small but frequent meals. Two or three meals a day at set intervals is a good pattern. By six months, they should settle on two meals per day morning and evening entirely on solid foods. The amount they need will vary individually with each kitten. Feeding according to demand should be the rule.

A cat can be fed a maintenance or adult diet once it is 10 months to one year of age. An adult cat with normal activity requires only a maintenance diet- enough to maintain a good body condition. A healthy cats body condition is one in which the animal is well proportioned with an observable waist behind the ribcage, and ribs which are not clearly visible but that can be felt with a slight fat covering over them. 

Cats require a higher level of dietary protein in their food-about twice as much as dogs- and at least one-third of their diet should consist of animal protein. They require the addition of taurine to their diet. A good diet is rich in fat, which the cat's digestive system is equipped to cope with easily. Commercially prepared cat foods are available from shops as dry food, moist (canned) food and semi- moist food. Dry food is easier to serve and won't spoil if left out for the day. It's also considerably cheaper. Also these foods exercise the cat's teeth and gums. Be sure to choose age specific food for your growing or adult cat. You could feed your kitten commercially prepared food with small amounts of other fresh foods like cooked meat, fish and eggs, cheese, liver (raw or cooked) in small amounts etc. Adequate supply of clean water at all times is essential for your cats survival. A typical cat requires about 150-200ml of water a day. Moist or canned foods usually contain about 60- 85% water, so cats on a canned food diet require less water but those on a dry food diet will require to drink more. 

You have to make a decision whether you are going to confine your kitten indoors or allow him outside at about eight to nine months of age. It depends upon the type and temperament, some long haired breeds like Persians may be suited well for indoor living while other more active and independent breeds may become frustrated by indoor confinement. But kittens or older cats allowed outside should always come indoors to sleep, eat etc. In the initial stages, one can entice them indoors with food such as fish until it is established that home is where the food is.

Grooming

Although cats clean themselves, regular grooming is necessary for keeping his coat in top condition. Moreover its a time together for you and your pet which improves your bonding. Comb him lightly and remove any tangles by slightly dampening the hair. Brush with a bristle brush slowly and gently all over his entire coat working down the body towards the tail and down the hind legs, to remove dirt and pull out any loose hairs. Finish off by wiping around his eyes and the insides of his ear flaps with either face wipes or cotton dipped in water. If there is any stain on the coat, pat some cooking oil over it and wipe clean with a little spirit. Stand him on a paper while grooming and hold him gently with one hand. The earlier age you start grooming your kitten, the better, as they will get adjusted to the routine soon. To start with an older cat may be more difficult and you may need more patience and gentleness with them. For short haired cats, once a week grooming is sufficient while for longed haired ones a more frequent, say once in three days is required. Bathe your kitten only when absolutely needed.

Training

It is necessary to train cats in some essential things such as to come when called, or not to scratch or soil furniture, to keep off work surfaces and to pass their urine and faeces in a litter tray or outside. Training takes plenty of time and needs a lot of patience. Rewarding the cat with strokes or a small piece of tasty food immediately when he does something right is important to make him respond similarly in future. Don't drag him towards you when you ask him to come, but wait till he comes to you on his own and then keep saying 'come' along with his name.

Keep on repeating it and reward him immediately when he comes. Stop him from doing undesirable things by distracting him with a loud sound such as dropping something near him or a loud 'No' or making a hissing sound rather than giving a smacking which may damage your relationship with him.

Keep a litter tray ready in an uncluttered place, away from where the kitten sleeps for toileting purpose. Take him near the tray, put one of his paws inside and gently move the litter forwards and backwards. Cats have an instinct of covering their urine and faeces, at first the kittens may try to eat the litter, but slowly the idea will click. Reward him as soon as he does it right. If you catch him toileting someplace else, pick him and bring him to the litter tray. Clean the area very well as the smell of urine may stimulate the kitten to go there again. Litter trays should be removed after use and as necessary, either thoroughly cleaned or the soiled litter scooped out and replaced. At least once a week, the tray should be emptied and disinfected using a cat friendly disinfectant which can be obtained from pet stores. Once his initial vaccinations are over you can allow him outside and he may go to the toilet outside.

Questions of
 Questions & Answers
 1.  Posted on : 5.2.2010  By  :  Ken , Ontario View Answer (0) Post Answer
 

I have a 16 year old cat. Keeps getting constipated. Very painful bowel movements at times(crying out, howling). He eats both dry and wet(canned) food daily. I have tried adding some cooking oil to his food, but this doesn't seem to help. He won't take the malt stuff from a tube. Any suggestions? Thanks. Ken

 
 2.  Posted on : 18.10.2009  By  :  JD , virginia beach View Answer (0) Post Answer
 

i have 6 male cats all of the same litter. only 2 of them purr. they are all lovey dovey...always...they just never purr....what is up with this?

 
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