Cat care – general tips to improve your cat’s well-being
If you wish to keep a cat indoors, take some time first to learn about cat care. In the wild, cats can follow their hunting instinct and roam their territory, something which isn’t possible indoors. But if you give your cat a home in which it can give expression to its natural behaviour, you will have a lot of fun with it. To enable your cat to feel comfortable at your place, you need to consider the following cat care tips:
Cats are considered to be curious and playful creatures. The younger the cat, the stronger the urge to play. Give your cat room for romping around and make sure there’s enough space for it to run freely.
Take time out to play with your cat. Cats love chasing balls, feathers or scraps of cloth. If you spend enough time playing with your pet cat, you help it to remain fit and healthy. Pet shops sell special cat toys that attract the cat’s curiosity. But your cat can also have fun playing with simple items such as screwed-up sheets of paper, small balls or empty cardboard boxes
Cats that are kept indoors need a playmate, especially if you are often away from home. Since cats like the companion of other cats, a good solution is to have a sibling pair. That way the two cats can play, romp and cuddle up together when you are absent.
If you plan to bring a second cat home, make sure that the new cat fits in with the existing one, especially in terms of character and age. Their characters should match and the difference in age shouldn’t be too big. A kitten might cause stress for a senior cat because its urge to play is much greater. In most cases you’ll need one or two days to see whether the cats really get along with each other. Therefore, take sufficient time to allow your new cat to settle in. Spend plenty of time at home during that period: an extended weekend or a few days off is ideal.
Eating and drinking places
Place your cat’s food and drink bowls in different areas of your flat, as this imitates the conditions cats find in nature. Many cats prefer a quiet place to eat. Therefore, avoid noise near the food bowl to allow your cat to eat without being disturbed.
By nature, cats don’t drink much. Indoor cats get most of the liquid they need by eating wet food. If you feed dry food, make sure that your cat drinks enough. Provide your cat with various drinking options in different locations of your flat. A drinking fountain can have a positive impact on drinking habits because cats prefer running water to still water. Regularly fill the water bowls with clean drinking water.
Cats are very clean animals. They will go to the litter box on their own to do their business only after a short settling-in period. It is important to place the litter box in a quiet place in which the cat is not disturbed. The cat toilet must be accessible at all times. For information on how you train your cat to become clean, refer to Training cats to use the litter box.
Cat toilet – find a quiet place
Different types of cat toilets are available: trays, covered boxes and self-cleaning litter boxes. No matter which design you choose, the cat toilet should be big enough for your cat. If you plan to bring a young cat home, make sure that the kitten can enter the toilet without problems. A toilet with a high lip or opening represents an obstacle for the kitten. Whether you decide to have a covered or uncovered litter box certainly depends on your preferences. In the end, however, your cat will decide. If it avoids the litter box, the toilet may not meet the cat’s requirements. It is possible that it doesn’t like being surrounded by walls. In this case, remove the cover. Other reasons for urinating problems and possible solutions are explained in Inappropriate urination of cats.
Make sure to use a high-quality cat litter. We recommend organic clumping litter because it has many advantages. For more information, see Clumping litter – good for cats and the environment. A good clumping litter is characterized by the following qualities:
- Highly odour-binding
- Highly absorbent
- Outstanding clumping properties
- Free of fragrances
- Free of chemical additives
Providing different places
Cats that are kept indoors need different lying, sitting and climbing places. Offer your cat elevated areas to lie and sit on. These can be places on shelves or on top of a wardrobe. A scratching post that provides the cat with different levels for sitting and lying is suitable too and can also be used for scratching.
Allow your cat to sharpen its claws by providing cat trees, scratching boards and smaller sisal mats. If your cat doesn’t have enough scratching options, it may sharpen its claws on your furniture. Keeping your cat in a species-appropriate manner helps to protect your furniture!
A balanced diet is important for cats to remain healthy. The age, palate and state of health of your cat determine what you should feed. Please read up in appropriate specialist literature and consult your vet for advice. Appropriate cat care requires that you give your cat smaller portions of food several times a day, but at least twice a day.
Grooming plays an important role for cats. Therefore, they groom themselves regularly and thoroughly. In doing so, they repeatedly swallow hair, which enters the stomach. If the hair cannot be excreted in a natural way, hairballs may form over time. Cats living in the wild eat grass. The grass fibres act like an emetic and help the cat to vomit the hairballs. If you keep your cat indoors, you should provide cat grass as a substitute. It makes it easier for your cat to vomit the hair and prevents your cat from eating harmful plants. Put the cat grass in a place to which your cat has easy access. Malt paste has a similar effect to cat grass. And there is special cat food that induces cats to vomit hair.
Hairballs cannot be avoided, but if you groom your cat regularly, you can reduce the formation of hairballs. By brushing your cat, you remove hair that the cat would otherwise swallow. Therefore get your feline friend used to regular grooming right from the start.
Final remark on cat care
By caring for your cat in a species-appropriate way, your feline friend can live a life that is normal for a cat. Make sure you always focus on the cat’s needs.