The United Kingdom’s feline population is roughly eight million cats. There’s a feline family member in 17 per cent of UK households; cats are the nation’s second most popular pet. Caring for a cat is a joy, of course, but it’s also a responsibility. Every cat has physical and emotional needs, and to be a good owner, you’ll want to do everything you can to take care of those needs including pet minding and other beneficial services. Whether you’re an experienced cat-minder or considering your first kitten, these five tips can help you make your feline friend healthier and happier.
1) Provide A Balanced Diet
There’s more to giving your pet good nutrition than simply answering the age-old question about dry vs. wet food. You need to consider a wider range of factors when deciding on your cat’s diet. Age is a particularly important concern. Your pet’s taste, hormones, teeth, and digestive abilities change over time, so you need to find the most appropriate nutritional options.
2) Provide Ample Hydration
Every animal needs to stay hydrated to stay healthy, and our feline companions are no exception. The modern house cat evolved from desert-dwelling species (it’s no coincidence that they were first domesticated in the Mid-East!), so they’re biologically disposed to make use of the water they can get from their food. Canned cat food, with its 70-80% water content, is a close match to the small animals that wild cats would catch to meet both their food and hydration needs. The water content of dry food is much lower, typically 15 per cent or less. Whatever kind of food you give your cat, you should also provide easy access to fresh, clean water!
3) Stock Up On Litter Boxes
Veterinarians will tell you that cat households need one litter box per cat as well as at least one additional box. Giving your cats sufficient bathroom space is essential to keep their elimination behaviour in line with your expectations. It’s also a significant health issue; cats who don’t have enough litter boxes are more likely to develop medical issues including urethral obstruction and urinary tract disease. You also need to pay attention to your cats’ preferences and strive to ensure that you provide the sort of litter box (e.g. covered vs. uncovered) that suits their habits.
4) Encourage Healthy Sleep
Cats can spend up to 20 hours a day sleeping. This is why it’s vital to put some care into your selection of pet beds. A comfortable, well-crafted bed will minimise the risk of bedsores and help keep your cat’s spine healthy. Fortunately, there is a vast range of quality cat beds on the market today. You’re sure to find one that perfectly fits your cat’s preferences — and the size of your budget!
5) Groom Wisely!
Regular brushing is a fundamental part of caring for a cat, whether it happens to be short or long-haired. Grooming reduces shedding and prevents unwanted hair tangles. It does more than keep your pet pal looking good, too! Brushing your cat reduces the amount of hair it will unintentionally swallow while doing its own grooming, thus improving its digestion. Brushing also spreads a cat’s natural skin oils over its hair, improving coat health. Grooming time is also ideal for checking your cat for potential health problems, like parasites and skin issues.
A happy, healthy cat is a joy to share your home with. There are plenty of things you can do to help your cat enjoy a long and healthy life, and the simple tips outlined here are just the beginning. Remember that no other factor has a greater influence on your cat’s quality of life than the way you care for it. Give them the loving care they deserve!