How To Be A Responsible Cat Owner
30 January 2021
Being a cat parent is a serious commitment! A large number of people focus on the benefits of owning a cat and often fail to prepare themselves for the responsibilities of being a responsible parent. Here is a guide to qualify as a responsible cat parent.
#1 - RESPECT YOUR CAT
All cat's from CATs protection shelters should be treated with the same level of respect as a fancy pet from an over-priced breeder. Every cat is unique in their own way and have their own charms, but they should not be judged based on their biological and intrinsic nature. Understanding this is crucial to become a wonderful cat owner to develop respect. Once someone respects their cat, they would care enough to provide the best level of care and nurture to address their needs and a happy and satisfying kitten-human relationship will follow!
#2 - PROVIDE YOUR KITTEN WITH FOOD, SHELTER & AFFECTION
Accommodate for your cat's basic needs on a daily basis. This includes providing adequate level of food & water, a shelter which they can call their territory and feel safe, social interaction to prevent loneliness, and space to experience growth. Being responsive to the cat's needs and providing the best care and nurture are therefore imperative to develop a healthy mutual relationship of trust, friendship and love !
#3 - TRAIN AND DISCIPLINE YOUR CAT LOVINGLY
Your cat requires discipline ! However, I do not mean beating, starving or punishing the cat as they are vulnerable living creatures with feelings, and traumatic experiences will deteriorate a healthy relationship, create fear & distrust. To discipline a cat correctly, you must develop a routine and be consistent with the rules, so the cat feels comfortable and safe. For example, feeding the cat 3 times during the day at roughly the same time or playing with the cat during the evening. Compassion and patience go a long way and discipline is much required in a cat's life.
#4 - PROTECT YOUR CAT FROM HARM
Before the cat arrives from the shelter to their new home, it is important to pet proof your home, so the cat cannot eat something or do something that may harm it. The kitten should also not be placed in situations which may cause harm. For example, keeping the cat enclosed in a small room and restricting its ability to roam freely can create stress as they feel imprisoned, so it should be avoided. Additionally, if you know that overfeeding a cat too much food can cause health problems (i.e. obesity, mobility problems), then you should stop yourself no matter how much the kitten yearns for the food. As a cat parent, it is your responsibility to do the thinking for your cat to ensure their wellbeing, health and happiness.
#5 – TAKE YOUR CAT TO THE VET WHEN NEEDED
Arrange an appointment with the vet at least once every year for an all-inclusive check-up and more frequently as the cat gets older or if they have special medical needs. In some instances, if something seems off with the cat, or if they develop illnesses or get caught up in accidents, it is imperative to seek a vet consultant immediately to assess their current condition and start their recovery process. Consultation will enable you to consider alternative options to restore the wellbeing of your cat, depending on personal choices, finance, spirituality concerns, etc. You cat will be at good hands with veteran experts who are competent and have experience helping to improve cat's lives.
#6 - STRIVE TO MAKE THE BEST CHOICES FOR YOUR CAT'S HEALTH
Regarding a cat's physical needs, do not purchase any supplements, vitamins, and some vaccines if they are not mandatory. In other words, don’t try to fix what is not broken. In some instances, some vaccines/medicine are not extensively tested, so the long-term effects are unknown and side effects can be harsh, which can outweigh short-term gains, so it is better to avoid them. Therefore, always consult with a veterinary expert before making important decisions regarding the health of your cat. Additionally, it is important to ensure your cat gets plenty of social interaction and play time, so they are active and content with their lives. Be observant and be loving !
#7 - ENSURE THAT YOUR CAT IS SPAYED OR NEUTERED
Spaying or neutering your cat is one of the most important and loving things you can do. Neutering a cat involves castration in the male and spaying the female involves removal of the ovaries and uterus. You might think this is meddling with nature, but it is better to consider the bigger picture. Spaying or neutering not only prevents unwanted pregnancies occurring but also curbs unwanted behavioural patterns associated with sexual maturity and reduces the likelihood of certain diseases such as cat ‘flu or infection in the womb later in life.
#8 - GIVE YOUR KITTEN HAS PROPER IDENTIFICATION
It is inevitable that your cat may get lost at one point in its lifetime. To safeguard your cat as they transition into big cats and roam around freely, give them a collar containing your name and contact details. Make sure the collar fits properly and won't irritate the neck or affect the breathing or swallowing of your cat. A general rule is to allow two fingers to fit between the collar and the neck. Additionally, to ensure the safety of your cat, before adoption, Cats Protection will insert a microchip, so if the feline gets lost, they can be located and returned safely to the rightful pet parent.
#9 - INCLUDE YOUR KITTEN IN FUTURE PLANS
Thousands of cats are abandoned every day because their owners tend to overlook them in their future plans. You have to realise owning a cat is a huge responsibility and requires a lifetime of commitment. Do not commit in the short-term, if you have no intention of keeping the cat in the long-term for as long as you or the animal is alive. Adopt with the intention of forever, no matter what. Know the cost, time and emotional effort may be high but in the end, the rewards are priceless.