Food & Essential Supplies
There are two main types of cat food available: dry and wet. Dry food is packaged in bags and is usually more affordable, but it's not always as healthy as wet cat food.
Dry cat food may be suitable if it has the right nutrients and the cat responds well to it. Wet food comes in cans and tends to be healthier because it provides more protein and water. Water is essential for a cat to digest its food. If using dry cat food, a lot of fresh water should be available.
Cats are opinionated about a lot of things, their food included. Some cats would even rather starve than eat a food they do not like. They typically form these preferences in their first year. It’s important to introduce the right food as early as possible.
Cats are notorious over-eaters, especially if they are allowed to graze on a bowl of food all day. Sometimes putting a cat on a feeding schedule will keep him or her from becoming obese and having obesity-related health problems. In the wild, they will hunt at dawn and dusk, so these seem to be the best time to feed them.
Cat owners need to make sure to feed their cat the correct amount of food each day. Healthy cats need about 30 calories of food per pound of body weight.
There are a variety of sizes, textures, and flavors of cat treats. Just like with their food, cats will likely have a strong preference about the treats they like. Some will like the crunchy-textured ones, while others will like soft. The flavor variety is practically endless.
Some treats help with tartar control by reducing plaque and the risk of gingivitis. There are also treats that help reduce hairballs or support joint health.
Many treats, while being delicious to a cat, are not healthy. If a cat is overweight, treats should be fed minimally. High-protein, low-fat treats should also be considered. In general, treats should only amount to 5% to 10% of a cat’s daily calorie intake.
If a cat spends any time indoors, a litter box will need to be available. A cat will usually learn quickly to use it. If there is more than one cat in the home, it's best to have the same number of litter boxes as cats. The litter should be kept very clean. It will need to be scooped or cleaned every day. Old litter should be changed out with new litter frequently.
Litter comes in many different forms. Everything from natural and chemical free litter to those that promise a fresh smell and clump for easier cleaning can be found.
Besides healthy food and treats, a great way to keep cats healthy is to keep them active. Kittens will need an outlet for all of their energy, while older indoor cats might need extra help to get active. Cats love chasing strings, following a laser pointer, and jumping for feathers. There are endless types of cat toys available to keep cats active.
- Having a cat brush around is a good idea. Not only will the cat love the extra scratching, but it will remove dead skin cells and reduce shedding.
- A cat loose in a car is not very safe. Cats should be placed in a pet carrier for trips to the vet.
- A cat collar should be considered, especially if the cat is going to spend any time outdoors. A tag with identification information is a good idea.
- All cats will want to, and need to, scratch. Having a cat scratching post is one way to keep them from scratching walls and furniture.