Tips for Domestic House Cat Care

A house cat may seem easy to care for, since it requires little beyond a bowl of food and a box of litter. You may not realize what some of your house cat's other needs are. Furthermore, kittens and adult cats have different needs. Here are some tips to help you care for your house cat.

Your Cat's Basic Needs

All cats have the same basic needs. They need to be offered fresh food daily, have a constant supply of clean water and receive adequate medical care. Feed your cat a combination of dry and moist foods to avoid urinary disorders later in life. Make sure he always has plenty of fresh water.

Keep your cat's litter box clean. Lumps should be removed from scoopable litter daily. Non-scoopable litter should be changed entirely every seven to ten days.

Keep your cat indoors. Outdoor cats have significantly reduced lifespans in comparison with indoor cats, due to the many dangers of the outside world, including cars, dogs and contagious diseases.

Your cat should visit the vet once a year and whenever he gets sick. He should have his vaccinations renewed and his teeth cleaned yearly. Kittens should begin receiving vaccinations at eight to twelve weeks of age.

Your cat also needs companionship and mental stimulation. If you can't spend a lot of time with your pet, consider getting a second cat, so they can keep each other company. Play with your cat to help him exercise his mind and hunting instincts.

If You Get a Kitten

Kittens adapt more easily and are therefore ideal for households with children or other pets. Kittens don't require much litter training. They already possess an instinct to bury their waste, but you might want to cover any potted plants for a few weeks so your kitten won't get confused.

You can train your kitten by squirting him with a bottle of water when he does something you don't want him to do, like scratch the furniture. You'll also want to get your kitten accustomed to being brushed, having his nails trimmed and having his teeth brushed, so do these things daily.

Adopting an Adult Cat

Adult cats can be a great choice for quieter households that don't already have pets. Adult cats are calmer than kittens, but they're already set in their ways and it may be difficult to break any bad habits they've acquired.

If you already have pets and you get an adult cat, give them several weeks to get to know one another. If your pets become too aggressive, you can separate them, but otherwise, give them time to work out their new relationship.

You can train your adult cat in the same way you trained your kitten, with a squirt bottle full of water. Add a small amount of vinegar to the water to reinforce the unpleasantness of the experience. Be advised that training an older cat may be more difficult than training a kitten.