CAT ENVIRONMENT

Cat Environment

Wouldn't it be interesting to find out exactly where your cat went each day when you were gone? It's hard to imagine what they get up to, and you will probably never know.

But what you can do is make their environment a safer, and more comfortable place. Below are some cat care tips from OPTIMUM® that will help you do this:

Kneady cats

On top of a newspaper on the kitchen table, snuggled into your new lambs wool jumper or nestled into a basket of clean washing… during the day, your cat will sleep anywhere he or she wants. This is one of the most endearing aspects of cat care and ownership: discovering their new favourite cat-napping spot. Of course, it goes without saying that what's yours is theirs - and they'll have no problem letting you know it. Cats don't just settle into these 'soft spots' to annoy you, there's a reason why they do this and it goes all the way back to kitten hood.

Cats are drawn to 'soft spots' in the house, because they are perfect for 'kneading'. Nursing kittens instinctively start kneading: pressing their front paws, one after the other against their mother's tummy. It's a sign of affection, which is often carried into adulthood. The basket of clean washing represents the softness of the mother cat's tummy and that's why you'll often find your cat kneading away in there and purring contentedly before settling down to sleep.

Keeping track of your cat

Does your cat prefer to play outside? Microchipping is a permanent way of identifying domestic cats and is now compulsory in most states. Check with your local council. It's a quick, pain-free procedure where the vet implants a rice-grain sized microchip under their skin. The chip contains information about your cat including your home address, is held on a database at the local council animal registry and will increase the chances of finding your cat should it go missing.

Kitten proofing your home

Kittens are inquisitive and mischievous creatures and you will need to kitten-proof your home to take care of your cat and help keep your little cat safe.

Within your house, check each room for harmful things that might attract your investigative kitten. Items such as string, fishing line, electrical cords, medications, hanging curtain cords, cleaning cloths, cleaning products and sharp objects can all be dangerous and so should be kept out of kitten-reach.

Search for and block any small spaces or holes in and around your home and always be sure your kitten doesn't get shut in drawers, cupboards or your clothes dryer. If you have a yard, check your fence for gaps and ensure any swimming pools or fish ponds are fenced off.

If you have a yard, be sure to check your fence for gaps and ensure any swimming pools or fish ponds are fenced off. Also be aware of the plants you have in your garden - some can be dangerous to cats.

Introducing your new pet to other animal family members

Cats and Dogs...They either love each other, or hate each other. What do you do if you want a cat and a dog? Or simply want to factor in a new part of the family? You'll need to consider a number of things like age, gender, temperament, breed, size and health status.

For all family members, (including you!) to be able to live in peace you need to consider how your other pets will react to a new pet. A good place to start is to search through the breed selector for cats, and the breed selector for dogs.

Once you've bought your new pet, you will have to start with an initial meeting. This is a tough one as you never know how both parties will react. Make sure that you are present at the time of meeting and watch both animals behaviour. Do not look away, even for a second. Let the animals explore each other but if you notice any signs or aggression separate them immediately.

You should try having lots of short meetings at the start to try to get them used to each other. It should get easier with time. Try placing food down on either sides of the room so that they will associate food (which is a good thing) with the other pet being around. Hopefully by this stage your pets are relaxed and able to be left alone together. If not, speak to your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist about different ways of coping with this situation.

 

DR. CHRIS BROWN

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Chris Brown
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