Michael Parson

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What You Should Know Before You Get a Cat

Maybe you are like me; I grew up with birds, dogs, other animals around the house, but not cats. There came a day, though, when I decided to get a cat for some reasons that were decisive for me at the time: a cat was low maintenance, needed less attention than other pets, and it didn't need walking.
But I had never before come in close contact with a cat, so to be honest, I had no idea what I was supposed to do.

Here are some tips for you that I have learned from experience:

1. If you plan to get a kitten that is under 8 weeks, it will need special attention. The young kitten will eat milk from it's mother (not cow's milk), or you can get milk for kittens at your pet store; young kitties also need a very warm place to sleep in, like special beds;

2. The cat you got is older than 8-10 weeks? Than it will be a little bit easier. A young cat (under a year), needs to eat more than adult cats. So make sure you buy enough canned food to feed the cat several times a day; also buy dry food and alternate, or you can make the dry food available all the time; my cat loves canned meat, it will also eat dry food, but doesn't enjoy it as much;

3. Now that you bought enough food (buy around 25-30 cans to make sure it will last a week), buy a nice bowl for food and water. Also buy a litter box (there are many of them in stores, according to your budget you can buy a plain one, or even one that cleans itself, and traps the smells). Get liners for your litter box. and a big bag of litter (also a wide array of choices, from the regular litter, to the more expensive one that clumps and traps smells). My cat started using the litter box from day one (I was very happy about that), but if they are too young and don't know, don't worry, cats learn very fast how to use it. Clean the litter box every day by picking up the big dirty parts and change the litter and liners every 3 days or so;

4. OK, so now you have food, litter box, what else you need? You will need to keep your kitty clean. Buy a special kitty shampoo and a between bathing spray (it deodorizes and cleans the cat by spraying it on the coat, no need for bath). It's said you don't need to wash the cat if it's not dirty or if it's an indoor cat, but I like to wash mine approx. every two weeks. She doesn't like water, but got used to it now and takes it rather well. To keep my house clean, I bought a solid deodorizer for the litter box, an odor eliminator spray for fabrics, and also a carpet powder (or foam) to freshen it.

5. Keep your kitty happy! I bought mine a scratching post that she can climb, and tied at the top of it a toy and a bunch of strings. She enjoys jumping and playing with them. I also got her a nice, warm crib (that she doesn't use at all, she prefers a shoe box to sleep in); I had a few toys that were about her size, that she loves to wrestle; every time I go to the store to buy her food, I can't help buying her a new toy: she has toy mice, balls, feathered toys, toys that squeak, make noises, she has it all; she loves it when I throw her toys around and she runs after them; I also bought her a leash, a collar and a harness to walk her outside;

That is about all that a cat needs to be happy. Take it to the vet from time to time, and you too are in for a lot of fun!
So relax, it will be very easy to take care of your kitty, all you need is a little bit of preparation before you get a pet.

Dog Names for 2018

When you're searching for a dog, the dog has to fit your personality. When choosing a dog you also have to think about how much living space they need. A name is probably the hardest part when choosing a dog. Dog names are fun to choose too! There are many different names that you can come up with. There are also some that I think would be popular in 2009.

I think that you should stay away from dog names that people might not understand. It could be fun to have a name that's cute, but you don't want it to get old fast. For instance names that could be cute or funny at first(for about a week) would be names like: couch, stinky, smelly, dog. The joke gets old real fast. It would be really bad if you gave you're a dog a name like "Smelly," and then decide to change it week later and then you realize that he only responds to Smelly.

The name should stay in the range of one or two syllables. It's nice and short and a lot of people prefer the shorter names when calling out to their dog. Human names for dogs are okay, but I don't recommend it. It would be a little weird saying "Max was eating off the floor again!" and have everyone think that you are talking about your kid or husband. It would be funny though.

Okay, now on to the names!

I am going to start off with names that fit the dogs fur to expand your options.

Black dogs: Bon Bon, Spritz, Cookie, Caviar, Olive, Corkie, Kong, Monk, Spunk, Tank, Buddah, Aero, Monkey

White dogs: Lady, Latte, Cashmere, Cash, Mottz, Frosty, Daisy, Scooby

Brown: Chip, Java, Doodle, Peanut, Oreo, Expresso, Mahki

Random Names: Aspen, Capri, Denali, Mahler, Nirvana

Big Dog: Godzilla, Zilla, Moose, Tank, Buddah, Spike, Stang, Rex, Dodge, Brutus, Chubacca

Small Dog: Tink, Putty, Bubbles, Sparkles, Star, Shelly, Gumball, Sprinkles, Nibbles, Widget, Kisses, Smooches, Little-foot, Bug


Widget would be a fun name for a small Yorkie! It's a great name and it means a placeholder name for an object. Its cute and it sounds edgy. Buddah would be a good name for a big Rottweiler. Rottweilers are big and lovable this would be a great name for a pup. Buddah is a god of Zen. Moose: moose would be good for a great dane. Great Danes are big and they could look like a moose to some because of their size. Kisses: is a good name for a miniature poodle. Zilla would be a great name for a pit-bull. They are sometimes thought of as aggressive dogs so the name would be appropriate. Denali would be a great name for a tall white poodle. Denali is the name of a car. Tank would be a good name for a big dog like a Pitbull or a Rottweiler. Corky would be a good name for a wiener dog. Corks are small and long. It would be appropriate for a long dog, or a dog that has a lot of personality.


I hope that I sparked your creativity and gave you some great ideas for puppy names!

Cat Toy Suggestions

Cats are curious animals and often times their curiosity can lead to mischief. A bored cat will often look for things to peak their interest, unfortunately for cat owners this can lead to damaged sofas, broken glasses and other problems. A great way to keep your cat from damaging your household belongings is to keep them entertained. Here are a few toys which can help keep your cats off the couch and bookshelf.

When you become a cat owner, it is very easy to end up buying every new cat toy you see! There are hundreds of toys for cats on the market. Yet, some toys have added interest that will really keep your cat fascinated. Here is a guide to the best toys that I have found, which really work with my cats. They have lasting power as the cats have never tired of them.
A good scratching post is a worthwhile investment for cat owners. Not all scratching posts are the same, however. A scratching post that is covered in sisal works very well, preventing claws from getting snagged. Also, sisal is long lasting. An important aspect of a good scratching post is enough height for the cat to get a good stretch as he scratches. He should not tower over it but rather be able to reach up to it. A scratching post helps keep your cat's claws short and can save your upholstery, carpet and doors from scratching practice.

A hanging toy is great fun for cats. Again, not all hanging toys are the same. A soft toy that is attached with elasticated string works best because it provides the bounce back action that cats love. A tall scratching post that is enhanced with elastic string with a cloth mouse on the end makes a very popular toy. Be sure that the string is securely attached and keep an eye on your cat when he is playing with the toy to make sure that he does not pull off the string and try to swallow it.

If you are growing a bit tired of playing cat games, a toy that will save you energy is one that moves by itself. For instance, a small stuffed toy with a pull string that runs along the floor by itself will keep your cat enthralled. Again, make sure that your cat does not chew off or swallow parts of the toy.

Finally, cats love hiding. It's no surprise that a cat toy which consists of a cloth tube for the cat to crawl inside is very popular with my cats. The tube has several holes in the middle which serve as 'escape hatches'. The great thing about this cat toy is that it can be folded into a small disc for storage. Not everyone wants a six foot long 'cat tube' decorating their living room when guests are over.

Laser Pointer

Handheld laser pointers are often times not sold as cat toys, but that does not keep cats and their owners from enjoying them. Simply put, cats love to chase that little red light all around the room. Even better, playing with the laser pointer can be a lot of fun for the cat owner as well. Stand in the middle of the room and point the laser pointer to the ground. Get your cats attention by moving the beam in front of them and once they spot it move it around the room. Speed it up, slow it down, zig and zag it back and forth no matter what you do, you will have your cats full attention.

Cat Toy Wand

If you have ever tried to entertain your cat with a small toy there is a chance your hand suffered the consequences. Cat's nails if untrimmed can be extremely sharp and dangerous so a toy that allows you to play with your feline friend without putting your hand or other limbs at harm is a plus. Cat toy wands are similar to a fishing pole with a toy or other item tied to a long string at the end of the wand. Toys at the end of a toy wand typically include small stuffed animals, feathers, dangling strings or other cat favorites. The cat toy wands allow owners to play with their cat by swinging and sliding the toy while also playing tug of war.

Kitten Mitten

If your one of the many cat owners who often times find their feline companion sitting on their lap, a kitten mitten may be the perfect toy for you. Instead of seeing your hand get bitten and scratched, the kitten mitten provides you protection while also allowing you to play with your cat. The kitten mitten is a glove featuring long extended fingers with cotton ball tips. Owners can dazzle their cats by moving their fingers thanks to the re-enforced plastic rods that keep the fingers long and extended.

Catnip Toy

Its no secret cats love catnip, but instead of giving it to them directly or putting some in an old sock, there are a number of toys that hold a small amount of catnip and double as a favorite toy for your cat. The toys are typically a small mouse or other stuffed animal with a closeable slot for the catnip. They restrict the cat's access to open catnip while still providing the same draw. The draw of catnip toys also mean your cat will be prone to play with the toy without much other incentive an extra benefit for owners who are not able to fulfill their cats entertainment needs.

Train Your Cat To Use the Toilet

Are you tired of cleaning out litter boxes all the time? You don't have to! It is possible to actually train your cat to use the toilet using this very simple method. Once your cat is trained you won't have to smell litter boxes anymore!
The most important thing to remember when training your cat is that you must take it slow and you must do it step by step. You just make one small change at a time and wait for your cat to get used to it before moving on. If your cat uses the bathroom in the wrong place, this means that you are going too fast. Back up a few steps and try again, more slowly.

The first thing you must do is to keep the lid up on the toilet and the seat down. If you don't, then the cat won't be able to use the toilet. If you need to, you can write a note for yourself and for guests and leave it in the bathroom. Also make sure you leave the door to the bathroom open.

Start by moving the cat's litter box from its current location to one side of the toilet. Make sure the cat knows where it is and that the cat is using it. Leave the litter box there until your cat gets used to this. This time can vary anywhere from a day to week depending on the cat.

Next, put something under the litter box to raise it up a bit. You can use a phone book, a cardboard box, or anything that will raise it up about an inch. Don't use magazines because they are too slippery and the box will slide around. Again, leave the litter box here until your cat gets used to it. Continue raising the litter box an inch at a time and waiting each time you raise it until the bottom of the litter box is at the same level as the toilet seat.

At the start, the cat will just step into the box, but as you raise it up, the cat will have to jump into it. When it gets really high, your cat will probably start jumping onto the toilet first, and then into the box. Hopefully you've been keeping the lid up and the seat down. If you have, then the cat will be used to walking around on the toilet with the lid up.

Lift up the seat on the toilet and measure the diameter of the inside top of the bowl at the widest spot. Buy a mixing bowl with that diameter made of metal. Do not use plastic because it won't support your cat's weight.

Move the litter box over so that it's right over the toilet seat, not in the toilet. Don't use the mixing bowl yet. Again, wait until you are sure that your cat is used to this before moving to the next step. Now take away the litter box and put the mixing bowl inside the toilet bowl and put the seat down. Put about two inches of litter into the bowl.

At this point in the training, it can become really annoying every time you have to go to the bathroom because you will have to take out the bowl and then replace it when you are done. It is also a nuisance because you will have to watch your cat very closely when he uses the bathroom. Just try to remember that you will never have to deal with litter boxes again.

You will need to watch your cat using the bathroom now. Check how many feet he puts on the toilet seat and how many are in the bowl. Your goal is to get all the feet onto the toilet seat. Try to catch your cat using the toilet whenever you can and show him where his feet go. Lift the feet out of the bowl and put them on the seat. At first just try to get the front two feet out and eventually work your way to all four. After your cat is putting the front feet on the seat, start putting one hind leg on the seat next to the front leg, but on the outside. Every time your cat does it right, praise him. Then start trying to get both hind legs on the seat. Once your cat does this correctly, the front feet should be in the middle and the hind legs should be next to them, but on the outside.

The next training step is the most unpleasant step. You need to wait until you are home a lot before starting this step. You might want to wait until you are home a whole weekend. Start by reducing the amount of litter in the bowl. You'll want to be there so you can praise the cat and dump out the bowl when he goes because as the amount of litter decreases, the smell increases. Also, if you dump it out as soon as the cat goes, the cat won't try to cover it up because there won't be a smell. Each time your cat uses the bathroom, clean it out and reduce the litter amount.

When you get down to a very small amount of litter, it will be very smelly. The next time your cat goes and you clean out the bowl, put a small bit of water in the bowl. Each time your cat goes, put more water into the bowl in the same way that you put less and less litter into the bowl. Once you get to about two inches of water in the bowl and you are sure your cat is comfortable with it, take away the mixing bowl. Your cat will now be toilet trained and your days of litter boxes will be over!

What to Expect when Your Cat is Expecting

The first thing I want to say about cat pregnancy is that it should be avoided whenever possible. We all know the statistics about unwanted animals filling the shelters-so if you have a cat, get it spayed or neutered. However, as we all know, things happen. Maybe Snowball slipped outside the week before her vet appointment, and now you have more Snowballs on the way. Could be that you adopted a stray who was already in the family way, and you hope to give the kittens a good start in life. Or, as in my case, you have volunteered to do foster care for your local shelter, and you have a momma-to-be purring on your lap as you read this. Whatever the case, when it comes to the birth of kittens, it is a good idea to know what you are getting into before the big day (or night) arrives.

Gestation

You'll find many sources that say normal gestation for cats is 65 days. I've found that this information is not really very useful, as one must know the date on which the cat mated in order to count the days. Because my experience with cat pregnancy has been with foster cats that arrive at my house already pregnant (and who had arrived at the shelter that way), all I have ever been able to do is guess, based on the size of the cat's "baby bump." And my guesses tend to be incorrect. I had one cat that went three weeks beyond the due date I had guessed for her, and one who surprised me by delivering when I thought she had another month to go. So unless you know exactly when your cat got pregnant, good luck trying figuring out when the kittens will come. However, if you know for sure that your cat has been pregnant for more than 65 days, you may want to contact your vet, as prolonged pregnancies can pose health hazards for both momma and kittens.

Cat Behavior Before Birth

You'll know the time is near, however, when your cat starts to exhibit particular birthing behaviors. In the week leading up to the birth, you will probably notice that your momma cat can't seem to get comfortable. Any human mom will be able to identify with this. Your cat may also start to look for a secluded spot to deliver her litter. This may be a good time to shut the cat into the area where you want her to give birth so that the mess is contained (more on this later). One behavior I have noticed in several of my momma cats is that they will attempt to lick their humans once labor starts. If your cat starts to compulsively lick your face or hands-and won't stop even if you shoo her away-she may be starting labor. Finally, you'll know for sure the moment has arrived when the cat begins to pant with an open mouth, and when you can visually see the contractions squeezing her middle. You can be pretty certain at this point that you will have kittens within an hour.

It Gets Messy

I hate to say this, but it's going to get messy

Just a heads up if you have never seen a litter of kittens born: it's messy. I've found that cats rarely stay in one place while they are giving birth-they like to walk around and move from one spot to another-so if you want to save your good linens, move your cat to an appropriate birthing spot before her labor even starts. Otherwise, you could be surprised to come home after work and find your bedspread has been used as a delivery table, or that your beige carpet is no longer beige.

It's important that someone monitor the birth in case things start to go wrong. However, if you are squeamish, you may want to find someone to stand in for you. The kittens are born still encased in their amniotic sac, which the mother will remove with her teeth. One of the grossest aspects of the birthing process (in my opinion) is that cats eat the placentas-so be prepared for that as well. You also may be surprised by just how small freshly minted kittens are. I might compare them to the size of an adult mouse. They really won't start to look like those cute calendar kittens for at least two or three weeks. Right after birth they will be wet and squirmy with their umbilical cords still attached, and of course, their eyes will be sealed shut. It takes a real cat lover to see something cute in all this-fortunately I am a cat lover, so I think newborns are adorable.

When to Intervene or Get the Vet Involved

Most of the time, momma will be able to deliver her litter with no problem at all. It's a good idea to keep an eye on her through the process, however, in case she needs human intervention. A common issue to come is that a kitten will get stuck halfway out of the birth canal. It's okay to take hold of the kitten and gently pull. I did this with one of my foster cats when one kitten was born breech, and everything "came out okay."

If the momma gives birth to a kitten but doesn't seem to notice it (oddly, this can happen), draw her attention to the baby so that she can begin to lick it. Newborn kittens need to be stimulated in order to start breathing, so this needs to happen within seconds of birth. If the momma does not seem interested in doing this job, you may want to take a paper towel to remove any membranes from the kitten's face. Then gently rub the newborn to get it to start to breath.

Like any birthing process, there is pain involved, and you may hear some yowling. But if your cat seems to be in distress for a prolonged period of time without giving birth, call the vet. Another sign of trouble is if the cat is lethargic or if the labor lasts for over a day with no progress. This is definitely time to get the vet involved.

Helping Momma Get Used to the Babies

Most cats are natural mothers, but there can be exceptions. If this is the first litter for your cat, particularly if she is a very young mom, she may seem as if she does not know what to do with her babies. If she ignores them, try putting the mom and the babies in a small-enclosed area like a closet or a small bathroom. Because there will be nothing else for mom to do, she may take an interest in her kittens and start to nurse them. One of my foster cats seemed very nervous and would not lie down with her litter. I found that if a human were petting her, she would lie still, giving her babies a chance to nurse. Fortunately, if you have to do something like this, it probably won't be for long. Once the mom figures things out (usually by day two) things will be smooth sailing. Just remember, it is important to do everything you can to get the mom to take charge; bottle-feed the kittens only as a last resort. Their mother's milk is much better for them-and bottle-feeding a litter of kittens is a tremendous amount of work.


Try to keep the babies in a nice warm area. It's okay to use a heating pad set on low to keep them warm. Be forewarned, momma cat may try to move her babies and hide them somewhere else in the house. If you want to keep them in one place, reserve a room of your house as the cat nursery and shut the kitties in. Just make sure that you provide as much food and water as the mom wants, and, of course, a litter box.

Don't be afraid to handle the babies from the moment of birth, as long as the mother is comfortable with it. Kittens that are handled often and early make wonderful pets. Around the age of 6 to 8 weeks, the kittens will be ready for adoption. You on the other hand, may be so attached to them that you won't want to give them up. I know it's happened to me a time or two, which is why I now have four cats!

Keeping Your Cat Safe Indoors

Most people think cats are only at risk if exposed to the big wide world lurking outside the front door, but this is simply not true. There are many dangers inside your nice warm home where you might think keeping your cat safe is relatively easy. Take a good look around your house going room by room considering the dangers, and the associated safety precautions that you would to for a human toddler. Apply the same for your cat.

Garden Sprays

Garden sprays and pesticides are an example of chemicals that may carry a label stating 'keep away from babies and small children' should also be considered dangerous to cats. For example, slug pellets are lethal to a cat. Instead of using this product try using a small container buried into the ground and filled with beer. Snails and slugs are attracted to it and will drown.

For other pests such as aphids and greenflies, use diluted liquid dish soap, which is just as effective at killing such garden pests. Hormone weed killers are good for keeping your cat safe, being generally harmless products.

Kitchens

Kitchens are usually the focal point of any household and a cat will usually want to take part in the everyday ado of meals being cooked, people chatting and the warmth that comes from all that goes on in the kitchen. All cats like to feel like they are part of the family. Just the same as you would do with a human toddler, never leave pots and pans unattended.

The interesting cooking smells will attract your cat and invite him to investigate. This could result in a burn or scalding or at the very best, your supper disappearing. Cover the eyes on the stove after you finish cooking with a pan of cool water until the eye has completely cooled, to absorb the heat. With a little thought and effort, keeping your cat safe indoors in the kitchen can be accomplished.

Bathrooms

bathroom

Bathrooms pose the danger of drowning by water to your cat. Never leave the bath unattended without shutting the door so the cat cannot get in. There is also danger with the toilet if you use the chemical blocks that clean with every flush. Most of these are very highly toxic to cats, so always keep the toilet lid down if you are going to allow your cat access to the room.

Washing Machines & Dryers

Washing machines and dryers also pose a fatal attraction for your cat. If you have one of the front end loaders your cat will be fascinated by the washing going round and round in the machine. Mine finds the spin cycle particularly interesting! Never leave the door open, as your cat will see the warm appliance as a perfect place to happily jump into and go to sleep. It would then be too easy to throw in the laundry and switch on the machine, resulting in one very clean but very dead cat.

The same is true for the dryer. Always run your hand through the machines if the door has been left open before loading the machines. Put a sticker on the machine to warn any others who may have use of it as well as a precaution.

For some reason cats seem to be attracted to the dirty laundry and will even sleep in the laundry basket. Check your laundry basket before you put it into the washing machine just in case there is a cat lurking in the depths!

Disinfectants

Disinfectants are another hazard for your cat. Cats like to walk around the kitchen surfaces and are probably fed in the area too, so it's hard to keep off the work surfaces where food is being prepared. It's important to use disinfectant on these areas, but which products to use that will keep your cat safe? Cats can absorb all kinds of poisons and toxins through their paw pads. Some disinfectants contain phenols and cresols, which can be lethal to cats.

Check the labels on all your disinfectant products. Some do not state all of their ingredients, so you should avoid all of these for keeping your cat safe indoors. Choose only those you know to be harmless.

Open Windows and Balconies 

Open windows and balconies pose other dangers to cats. Felines who are confined to living indoors need fresh air and will soon realize how to get out of an open window. It's simple to make a wooden frame covered with wire mesh that will fit over a window frame, if your windows are not equipped with fitted screens. This will allow fresh air to circulate and your cat to be safe. Your cat could easily jump over the side of a balcony or to a nearby tree. Chicken wire on a wooden frame works quite well and can be covered with climbing plants as an added bonus.

Chemicals

Chemicals of all kinds are kept in your home, the obvious ones being cleaning products and do it yourself products such as glues and solvents, paint thinners, paint and turpentine. All these substances should be kept out of the way of cats, the same way you would for small children. Keep all these products in a room where the cat will have no access to it. All paint products, wallpaper paste, and wood preservatives contain fungicides and antibacterial agents that are lethal to cats. Keep your cat out of the room being redecorated until all of the fumes have had time to dissipate. Make sure that floors have been mopped before allowing your cat access into the room as they can absorb these through their paw pads as well.

Houseplants

Houseplants can also present a hazard for your cat, such as mistletoe and poinsettia, which are poisonous. Laburnum seeds are fatal if eaten by your cat, and there are others, which can cause serious stomach upset. Most cats know instinctively when a plant is poisonous and will avoid it. Check plant guides to see if the plant s you have in your home and garden are safe.

Other dangers lurk in almost every room in your house. Anywhere there are electrical power points and appliances, electric cables and wires seem to have all been made as a cat toy to your cat and he will love to chew through them. These can be placed into cut sections of garden hose to protect your cat. Other common household threats such as sewing boxes, rubber bands and paper clips can be harmful if left out into the reach of your cat.

The best advice I can pass on to you would be to treat your home as if you had a baby or small toddler running around loose in it. Get down on your hands and knees so that you can be at your cat's eye level and see what he can see. Keeping your cat safe indoors just takes some basic common sense. Be aware of the risks and ensure that your cat enjoys a long and happy life.

How To Be A Great Cat Owner

Anyone can own or have a cat as a pet. But it does take effort and love to be a great cat owner. I personally believe that cats "own" us instead of the other way around, but that's a different topic entirely. The following are some helpful tips on how to be a great cat owner.

1. Take time out of every day to devote exclusively to your cat

Cats, just like people, love to receive affection and attention. Make sure that you give your cat some quiet one-on-one time each day. This can be spent holding your cat in your lap, stroking her fur, grooming her, and taking softly and soothingly to her. This can also be a time of play, where you can roll a ball to her, play with a string or ribbons, or anything to interact positively with your cat. This alone time spent connecting with your cat will strengthen the emotional bond between the two of you.

2. Make sure your cat has a comfy, quiet place to sleep and/or hide

cat in bed

Cats love attention, but sometimes they also need a little quiet time and space from their human counterparts. Make sure that they have a place they can call their own. This could be as simple and economical as a cardboard box on its side, with some soft towels inside. Or, if you care to make an investment into something more permanent, you can get a carpeted kitty condo for them, where they have different levels to sit and sleep. Sometimes cats will get scared of thunder, strangers, and loud noises, and they will need a secluded place to retreat to. Make sure they have a little comfy hiding spot they can depend on when they need to get away from it all.

3. Make sure your cat is spayed or neutered

This tip is probably the most important. This is probably the single best thing you can do for your cat. When you spay or neuter your cat, you are doing them a favor. They don't have to deal with catfights, mating season, and all the problems that come along with it. You, as the owner, will not end up with unwanted litters of kittens to contend with. There are already too many pets in the world today that are unwanted, abused, starving, and neglected. Don't let your pet create more of these. Spay or neuter your pet, no matter what. Make it a priority.

4. Make your cat a strictly indoor cat

cat licking paw

I have had indoor/outdoor cats in my youth, and learning from that experience, I now choose to keep my cats as indoor only. It lengthens their life span considerably. They are not at risk for fleas, catfights, poisonings, getting hit by a car, dogs, or other predators. They do not have to be out in freezing temperatures or blazing hot summers. They don't have to deal with other cats and their territory. They are safe inside, in a climate-controlled environment, with food and water, and a safe place to sleep. These things are very important, and by having your cat as an indoors-only cat, you will bond more closely with her, and she will be healthier.

5. Get dental checkups and cleanings for your cat

Dental health for cats is important just like it is for people. Cats can't brush their teeth, and they do have plaque build up. Bad teeth and gums can lead to other serious problems with internal organs down the road, if not addressed. It is important, even if your cat is an indoor cat, to take them for a physical examination every year, including a dental cleaning. This will make a much healthier and happier cat, and will likely add more years to her life.

Anyone can own a cat. Anyone can be a good owner. But if you want to be a great cat owner, and really set yourself apart from the rest, follow the tips I have given you. Not only will your pet be happier and healthier, but also you will likely add more years to your pet's life.

What You Should Know Before You Get a Cat

Maybe you are like me; I grew up with birds, dogs, other animals around the house, but not cats. There came a day, though, when I decided to get a cat for some reasons that were decisive for me at the time: a cat was low maintenance, needed less attention than other pets, and it didn't need walking.
But I had never before come in close contact with a cat, so to be honest; I had no idea what I was supposed to do.

Here are some tips for you that I have learned from experience:

1. If you plan to get a kitten that is under 8 weeks, it will need special attention. The young kitten will eat milk from its mother (not cow's milk), or you can get milk for kittens at your pet store; young kitties also need a very warm place to sleep in, like special cat beds.

2. The cat you got is older than 8-10 weeks? Than it will be a little bit easier. A young cat (under a year) needs to eat more than adult cats. So make sure you buy enough canned food to feed the cat several times a day; also buy dry food and alternate, or you can make the dry food available all the time; my cat loves canned meat, it will also eat dry food, but doesn't enjoy it as much;

3. Now that you bought enough food (buy around 25-30 cans to make sure it will last a week) buy a nice bowl for food and water. Also buy a litter box (there are many of them in stores, according to your budget you can buy a plain one, or even one that cleans itself, and traps the smells). Get liners for your litter box and a big bag of litter (also a wide array of choices, from the regular litter, to the more expensive one that clumps and traps smells). My cat started using the litter box from day one (I was very happy about that), but if they are too young and don't know, don't worry, cats learn very fast how to use it. Clean the litter box every day by picking up the big dirty parts and change the litter and liners every 3 days or so;

4. OK, so now you have food, litter box, what else you need? You will need to keep your kitty clean. Buy a special kitty shampoo and a between bathing spray (it deodorizes and cleans the cat by spraying it on the coat, no need for bath). It's said you don't need to wash the cat if it's not dirty or if it's an indoor cat, but I like to wash mine approx. every two weeks. She doesn't like water, but got used to it now and takes it rather well. To keep my house clean, I bought a solid deodorizer for the litter box, an odor eliminator spray for fabrics, and also a carpet powder (or foam) to freshen it.

5. Keep your kitty happy! I bought mine a scratching post that she can climb, and tied at the top of it a toy and a bunch of strings. She enjoys jumping and playing with them. I also got her a nice, warm crib (that she doesn't use at all, she prefers a shoe box to sleep in); I had a few toys that were about her size, that she loves to wrestle; every time I go to the store to buy her food, I can't help buying her a new toy: she has toy mice, balls, feathered toys, toys that squeak, make noises, she has it all; she loves it when I throw her toys around and she runs after them; I also bought her a leash, a collar and a harness to walk her outside;

That is about all that a cat needs to be happy. Take it to the vet from time to time, and you too are in for a lot of fun!
So relax, it will be very easy to take care of your kitty, all you need is a little bit of preparation before you get a pet.

When a Kitten is Not the Answer

I have friends who adore cats as much as I do. I also have friends who desperately want to get (another) cat. But they won't settle for anything except a cute, cuddly, tiny kitten. Kittens are very cute, but sometimes getting a kitten isn't the best choice for a pet. Sometimes getting an older cat would be better suited for someone's particular circumstances.
Kittens may not be the best option for homes with small children. Kittens are fragile; their tiny bodies can be easily broken or crushed. Thus, it may not be wise for parents to adopt a kitten if they have small children in the home. Children inadvertently step on, pull the tail, or otherwise may cause the kitten injuries.

In addition, small children are often too rough with kittens because they have not yet learned how to treat creatures smaller than themselves. Pulling the kitten's tail or holding the kitten upside down may result in the child getting scratched or bitten.

Likewise, older individuals may not want to adopt a kitten because kittens are full of energy and often get into mischief. Seniors may have less energy and patience to chase the kitten around, getting things out of its mouth, pulling it off the delicate curtains, and so forth.

People who do not have a lot of time to spend with a cat should not get a kitten. This is because the kitten may need training on how to use its litter box, how to behave, what to eat and what is unsafe to eat, and so forth. Individuals who work long hours or travel a lot may come home to find their house cluttered with trash, shredded papers, and toilet paper strung all over the house.

Kittens need a lot of interaction. Individuals who cannot provide a lot of stimulation through interactive play should probably not adopt a kitten. Oftentimes if the kitten's owner does not play with him or her, he or she will find something to get into himself or herself.

If a kitten isn't right for you, it doesn't mean you cannot adopt a cat. Often adult cats are cleaner, more polite, and already know social skills. They sleep more often than kittens and do not need as much attention as kittens do.

Consider your circumstances before you decide to adopt a kitten.