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A Guide To New Cat Owners

Posted on 22nd October 2021 by Green Lane Farm Team

At some point, everyone who has a pet cat was doing it for the first time. It can be a scary thing – after all, you’re responsible for the health and wellbeing of a living creature with very particular needs and preferences. 

There’s so much you can get out of sharing your life with a cat. Yes, they’re independent, and can often seem like they don’t need you at all (they’re the very opposite of dogs in that respect!) – but they can also be funny, loving, playful, warm and wonderful to have around. 

To get the best out of them, there are a few things you need to do and a few things you should  bear in mind. Here are a few pointers:

cat close up in cattery

Keep their jabs up to date and protect against fleas

Cats that spend a lot of time outside are bound to run into other neighbourhood cats, which offers the regular potential for fights and for the exchange of viruses and fleas. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about the first. However, your vet can protect against common viruses with annual injections, proof of which you’ll need should you need to put your cat into a cattery at any point. 

When it comes to fleas, flea collars are great – if your cat can actually bear to wear one (many can’t) – otherwise, there are a number of treatments for both prevention and cure. Whatever you do, don’t just leave them – fleas can take over your home in a way that even the most demanding of pets can only dream of.

Buy your cat a scratching post or box

This is an absolutely essential investment – unless, of course, you don’t mind if all your soft furnishings get shredded! Cats need to exercise their claws, so giving them something specific – and, more importantly, inexpensive – to do it on is a very good idea.

Brush or comb your cat regularly

There are two really good reasons for doing this, the first of which is that nearly every cat just loves having it done to them.

Secondly, and this is far more for your benefit, brushing and combing removes loose hair, hair that your cat might otherwise end up swallowing while grooming. It’s not easy for your cat to digest, so it tends to clump together in your cat’s gut (this happens much quicker with long-haired cats) until the point when your cat will throw it up in the form of a furball. While this is mainly formed of fur, some half-digested food will inevitably come up as well, which you’ll have to clean up (cats never clean up their own sick!). Combing and brushing won’t eliminate this entirely, but it should significantly reduce it.

Play

Pretty much all cats love to play, but it can take a few attempts to find the toy that tickles their playful fancy. If all else fails, a simple bit of string for them to chase, hunt and eventually kill, works almost every time. If you’re going to indulge in a bit of play fighting with your cat, cover your hands and lower arms with something – unless, of course, you don’t mind having sharp claws deeply embedded into your flesh.

Have a strong stomach

Cats love to hunt and unfortunately they also love to kill. And when they’ve done so, they sometimes like to present their trophies to you, usually in a somewhat dismembered form. Research suggests that they may actually be doing this because they think you’re too useless to hunt for yourself, rather than as a token of their love. In the end, it doesn’t really matter – either way, it’s you that’s going to have to clean up the bits of bird or rodent deposited on your kitchen floor or living room carpet.

Choose a good cattery for when you’re away

Cats are very independent and are more than capable of looking after themselves for a couple of days, but any longer than that and you’ll need to put them in a cattery. Take your time when it comes to choosing a cattery, because you want to make sure it’s one that will look after them well, feed and water them regularly, and not send them home covered in other cats’ fleas.

Here at Green Lane Farm, we have many years looking after cats around the Kingston and Chessington areas of Surrey – and we have many guests who like to come back year after year. That’s because ours is a cattery that local people know they can trust to treat their pets as well as they would at home. Get in touch to find out more or to book your cat’s stay next time you’re away.

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