Hello, I am going to take a guess here that if you are reading this, you have cats or kittens, or you are planning to get cats or kittens. I will do my best to tell you what you need to know about cats and kittens. As I add more content (posts) to this site about cats and cat care, I will add links to this page that will bring you directly to those topics in greater detail.
Things to think about before you get a cat or kitten
Cats are a little different than dogs. They are very independent and when they want attention, they will let you know. When they don’t… well…. they will let you know that too. Kittens can be very playful, which is cute, but sometimes (like at night when you are sleeping) it can be a tad bit annoying. They will run and jump and play, sometimes you are going to get scratched when they are running across the room and leap over you but land on you instead, that is when they sink their sharp claws into you to hold on. Don’t worry, they usually grow out of that behavior.
I have 2 cats, Autumn and Alli. They came from the same litter, Alli is long-haired and Autumn is short-haired. They have completely different personalities. They cannot stand each other. If they are the same room together, they either just sit there growling at each other or they attack. They were fine for the first year and I don’t know what happened after that, but for the past 6 years they cannot get along. Alli is afraid of everything, and Autumn is tough as nails.
Having a pet is a commitment
A lot of people see an adorable kitten, and decide that they want it, but after that kitten starts to get bigger they don’t want it anymore. I see this happen so much. It is very sad. Yes kittens are adorable, and it is fun to watch them play, but please don’t get one if you aren’t going to keep it for its entire life. A cat life expectancy is 12 to 14 years, so if you cannot commit to that cat for 12 to 14 years, please don’t get it. Cute, playful kittens grow up into beautiful, loving cats.
There will be times that they will do naughty things, but that is to be expected with anything. With the right treatment and guidance (training), you cat will be wonderful. Everyone has different thoughts about rules for cats, so I am not going to get into a lot on that. For instance, I do not allow my cats on my table or counters, they are not allowed to eat off of my dishes, but a lot of people don’t have a problem with that. I let my cats on my furniture (Sofa, Chairs, beds etc..), but a lot of people wont allow that. So as I said everyone has different opinions on those kinds of things.
The dreadful litter box
One really important thing to know about getting a cat is that you will need a litter box. I am not a fan of the litter box, so I am going to try the method of toilet training cats. We will see what happens and I will keep you updated. My cats are very stubborn (like most cats) so I don’t know how they will do. The product that I have purchased to toilet train my cats is called CitiKitty. There are other brands and types of cat toilet training products.
You will want to find a good place for the litter box. A few things to think about before you choose that spot are where would it be easiest for you to keep it clean, it will have an odor no matter what, so make sure it isn’t where you do not want that odor (not that you will actually WANT the odor anywhere LOL), dogs will eat out of the litter box (It is disgusting but I haven’t met a dog yet that doesn’t). I happened to have a bathroom closet that I was able to use for the cat food and litter box, so we made a cat door that the dogs cannot fit through, so that they cannot eat the cat food or litter (picture to the right).
Whether you decide to try to toilet train your cat or not, you will need a litter box and cat litter. I prefer the litter box with a cover, but that doesn’t work so well during the toilet training process. You can also purchase flushable kitty litter.
Kittens (and some cats) love to play
As we all know, kittens love to play. Some adult cats do too. There are a lot of different cat toys to choose from. If you click on the picture to the right, it will take you to a video of cats playing with laser lights. Laser lights are very common. Playing is a good way for cats to get exercise, to help keep them happy and healthy. If you play with them in the evening, maybe…. they will be tired and let you sleep at night.
You can get them a scratching post to prevent them from scratching your furniture. They will get used to using that after a little guidance. There are all kinds of scratching posts out there, including some with built in beds for the cats to sleep on or sometimes called cat condos, which can come in handy if they are trying to stay away from a dog or something. As we know they can be very independent, and this gives them their own place to relax with nothing bothering them.
Cat collars and leashes
Some people allow their cats outdoors whenever they want, some don’t allow them outdoors at all, and then some people take their cats for walks like a dog. Make sure that when you purchase a collar for your cat, that you get a breakaway cat collar. That is very important to keep them safer if something is chasing them. If they get their collar hooked on something, they could be killed by whatever animal is after them. Even if you don’t allow your cat outside, you should still get the breakaway collar just in case the cat sneaks out the door.
Attach ID tags to your cats collar, so that if they get lost, you can be notified when someone finds them. You can have personalized tags made, or you can get the ones that you can write the information on. They even have ID tags with a QR code that can be scanned to find you. I even found a GPS pet tracker that fits all size collars so that you can track where your pet is at all times using Wifi. You can also get your cat microchipped, which works better because you can still be found if they lose their collar. Using both tags and microchip is best because some people may not take the cat to a vet or humane society to be checked for a microchip.
If you will be taking your cat for walks, you can purchase a leash for cats. There are lots of choices out there for cat leashes, and you can even get a harness for a cat to make walking easier as there will be no pressure on the cats throat.
If you want your cat to enjoy the outdoors without the dangers
A new thing that I have been seeing a lot lately is window boxes/cages for cats. They can go in and out through the window as long as it is open (or you could build it to the side of your house with a kitty door). It is a cage attached to the house that your cat cannot get out of and predators cannot get in. You can expand these from window cages to walks and larger patio or yard cages. There are so many different options to go with on this topic, I will probably write a post about it with a lot more detail. I couldn’t find any online like I have seen, maybe the ones that I have seen were built by the owners. So I added the links to the ones that I have found that would be used with a cat door. The picture to the right is one that belongs to a friend of mine.
Cat carriers for traveling and trips to the vet
If you are going to have a cat, you should have a cat carrier for the times that you need to bring your cat to the vet, groomer, or anywhere that your cat may go for a car ride. Most vet offices have carriers that they will let you use or rent, but then you have to make 3 trips for 1 appointment because you have to go get it, and then you have to use it for the visit, and then you have to return it. They are not very expensive, they range from $10.00 to $40.00. So to me, that is worth not having to make 3 trips to borrow one. Obviously, as with anything, there are more expensive ones, but comparing to the type that you would borrow from the vet is the price range that I used.
Visits to the Vet
Cats should go to the vet at least once a year for a checkup, even if they aren’t due for any vaccines. Most vets like to see your cat every 6 months, but most of the time 1 time a year is sufficient. Regular checkups are important to catch health issues early before they become life threatening.
Vaccinations depend on your cats health and lifestyle. You will want to discuss that with your vet. Rabies vaccine is a must, Distemper(FPV) is very important also. The next most important one that a lot of people chose to get is FeLV (Feline Leukemia). There are vaccines for upper respiratory disease and other possible health risks for cats. The ones that I listed are the most common.
Fleas and Ticks
Even if you don’t allow your cat outdoors, they can still get fleas. People without pets still get flea problems sometimes. You can bring them in on your feet. Flea prevention is extremely important, because once you get them, it takes a lot of time and work to get rid of them. Click here to read my page about Fleas and Ticks.
Thank you for reading, if you have any questions or comments about Cats and Kittens, please leave them in the comment section below.