A dog may be man’s best friend, but a cat is man’s best manager. There are exceptions, but generally a cat will be more indifferent to your existence than a dog will. Cats expect to be served and cared for in a way they approve of. Regardless, they can make a great pet and are especially suited to smaller places that do not have the space for a dog, or the time to take it for walks.
Cats don’t require a lot of equipment, but they will need food and water dishes, and a litter box. Some cats will also like scratching posts, or special beds, but this depends on the cat.
There are a variety of materials available for litter. Some are clay based, while others are made from recycled newspaper. Some litters contain baking soda, which will help reduce any smell.
When you bring your cat home, find out what type of litter it is used to using. If you give it something completely different, it might not recognize this substance as litter and may not use it. Show your new cat it’s litter box, and food and water when it first arrives home, then leave it alone to get used to its surroundings.
Cats love to climb onto counters and shelves. If your cat is prone to this, ensure you keep valuable statues and similar breakable items either back far enough they cannot be knocked over, or in a room the cat does not have access to. Sometimes a small squirt bottle aimed at the cat while it is climbing onto a countertop will deter it from jumping up, but many cats will not learn this lesson.
A variety of commercial cat food is available. From wet, semi-moist and dry, you’ll certainly be able to find something your cat would like. Cats are much more finicky eaters than dogs. It may take some time to find something your cat will eat, so don’t be afraid to switch brands until you find the right food. The ideal cat food dish is shallow, and heavy enough it won’t be tipped over. Same with the water dish.
Most cat owners allow their cat free choice access to food, rather than specific meals. There are treats available commercially for cats, which can be offered on occasion.
There are a number of different litter boxes on the market. Everything from simple pans, to elaborate covered boxes. Choose the one that best fits your space and decor. All litter boxes will have a little smell on occasion, but if you clean the box regularly, and choose a suitable litter material, it will be infrequent. If you are pregnant, or suspect you may be pregnant, you should avoid cleaning the cat’s litter box because of the risk of T. Gondii infections. This risk is low, but the possibility is always there.
Cats need something to scratch. If you don’t want this to be your expensive furniture, you will have to provide a suitable scratching post. Your cat may or may not use this. As mentioned before, a small squirt bottle can be helpful in deterring cats from unwanted behaviours. Sometimes the only option is to lock the cat out of certain areas in the home.
Cats groom themselves regularly, so they usually don’t need additional brushing. Brushing with a comb, or bristle brush can be beneficial though, if the cat will tolerate it. Cats ingest their own fur as they groom, and an overabundance of fur will cause hairballs, which can make the cats sick. Most cats do not enjoy being bathed, and usually don’t need it.
Cats can live happily indoors, though some do like to spend some time outside. Spayed or neutered cats are less likely to stray. Neutered cats are also less likely to mark their territory by spraying urine inside the house. To avoid this, neuter a male cat early in life. Strictly indoor cats can be surgically declawed to reduce damage to your furniture, but this is not ideal because the stretching action the cat performs while scratching is good for them. It’s better to just encourage them to use a suitable scratching post.
Outdoor cats should be vaccinated. Indoor cats probably don’t need vaccinations because they won’t have contact with the outside world. Ask your vet for recommendations on this.
Your cat may never greet you at the door the way your dog will, but they will still be an enjoyable pet for many years.