Feline for Family

Feline for Family

Cats allow you some freedom but still give you love and affection and a shared bond to come home to. However it is important to weigh the commitment it will require from you and decide honestly whether you can meet all of the needs of your new family member before taking one on.

Adopt or buy?
If you decide to get a cat it is always better to adopt cats from organisations such as the Cat Welfare Society (CWS) and Society of the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals (SPCA) than to buy. You will be saving a life; thousands of cats get put down every year for want of a good home. Even the purebred cats are not spared; high maintenance cats such as Persians and Abyssinians are often abandoned when their guardians realise that they are much more maintenance than previously thought.

shutterstock_195965051It’s also crucial to check the background of cat breeders before purchasing one. There have been many reports of purebred cats which are forced to breed in appalling conditions and where kittens are separated from their mothers very early on, sometimes even before the kittens get a chance to nurse. Kittens deprived of their mothers’ milk often suffer from lowered immunity which result in a whole host of health problems growing up. These appalling breeding conditions plus early separation from the mothers often result in first-time owners ending up paying large amounts of money in vet bills to save very ill kittens and some end up dead within days or even weeks of purchase.

If you insist on buying a cat, ensure that you do a thorough check on where the cats are bred and that they have a clean bill of health before purchase. For cats with previous owners, it’s normal to have to pay an adoption fee of $40 to $60 or even higher when the cat has undergone extensive veterinary care such as sterilisation, vaccination and treatment. It’s also good practice to ask for proof of such vet care before adoption.

To ensure cats end up in good homes, organisations such as CWS ensure that the would-be adopters go through a stringent adoption screening process.

De-sexing
There are already too many homeless and unwanted cats in Singapore so it is irresponsible not to get your cat spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted kittens. There are other good reasons for getting your cat snipped. De-sexing the cats make for more docile and amiable pets; after neutering, males tend to not mark their territory; ie, your apartment with urine.

Scratch posts
All cats scratch. Placing scratch posts at different places in your house, gives your cat acceptable places to scratch while leaving your furniture alone. The scratching action helps them remove old material from their claw, mark their territory with scent glands in their paws.

Entertainment
A bored cat can be a nuisance. If you have to leave your cat alone for long periods while you are at work and it has nothing to amuse itself with it might do things you will find less than amusing like knocking things off tables to get your attention. Plus if your cat has been bored and inactive all day it is unlikely to be sleepy when you want to go to bed.

A hammock or shelf so the cat can look out a window, a vertical climbing frame or ‘cat tree’ will keep most felines happy. Getting your feline to chase a laser spot on the wall for half an hour in the evening will ensure it’s calm enough not to disturb you when you’re going to bed.

Litter box
A litter box is a must for a tidy cat; the good news is that kittens are easiest to toilet train when they are five weeks old. Size matters: too big or too small a litter box can make toilet trips uncomfortable for the cat and it’s not uncommon for cats to draw your attention to its problem by soiling your carpet or your bed. Start with a smaller tray for a kitten and then upgrade to bigger tray for a cat when it is approaching a year old. There are many types of litter trays; most owners prefer a covered one to keep odours and litter in. There are a several types of kitty litter in the market: scented and unscented, clumping and non-clumping, biodegradable and even silica gel litter. Pick one that not only makes cleaning easy for you, but is comfortable for your cat. If you plan on having only one cat, cleaning the litter once every few days is more than sufficient.

Love and attention
The most important thing for any cat is love and attention and lavishing love and attention on your cat will be the best returning investment you will ever make as your cat will return it tenfold. A scratch behind the ear and under its chin mimics the grooming actions of its mother. To show affection or seek attention, a cat would rub you with its head (which is called a headbutt) or with the side of its body sometimes making figure eight around your legs. Cats purr when they are content and there has been research demonstrating that a typical domestic cat’s purr falls within the frequency that promotes healing of bones and soft tissue.

*all images by shutterstock.com

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