Responsible Cat Ownership
Responsible Cat Ownership
Arden Moore (Animal Behavioral Specialist, Editor and Author) gives expert video advice on: When should I spay or neuter my cat?; What are the cons of having an indoor cat?; How do I keep my indoor cat happy? and more...
When should I take the new cat to the vet?
When you're ready to bring home a new cat, and it depends on where you got the cat, if you got the cat from a shelter or from a breeder, make sure that you've got the set of where they are up to date on all their vaccinations and if they were spayed or neutered. And I advise you, if you have the time, to book an appointment with your veterinarian before you bring your cat home. And if you can't, that's understandable too. But you need to get a physical exam on that cat done and that is what I call your base line. That gives you kind of a good idea of where your cat stands in health.The other thing to be careful of is some cats have infectious diseases, and if you're bringing that cat into a household that has other cats you want to make sure that that cat isn't contagious. And so I always try and recommend make that appointment with the veterinarian before that cat puts her first paw in your door.
Does my cat need an ID tag?
Just like we have driver's license, all cats need some form of identification and the first that they all should have is a breakaway collar with an ID tag. Make sure that cat's name is on the tag and your phone number and if possible, even your name. That's very important. Every cat no matter whether an indoor or outdoor cat needs to have a collar with an ID.
What is "microchipping", and how is it done?
Micro chipping, it sounds kind of eerie and scary, but think about it as sort of a GPS system if you will for your cat. Your veterinarian will take a needle that imbeds a little chip about the size of a grain of rice in the shoulder blade area of your cat. It is not painful and it doesn't need anesthesia. That little mighty grain of rice chip contains your contact information, your vet's information and you register it with the microchip company that you bought the chip from. So no matter what, if your cat finds himself out in the big, scary world, the microchip is so invaluable. If someone finds your cat and takes him to a shelter or to a veterinarian they can wave this wand over the cat's back and it will chirp to indicate that there is a microchip in your cat. The chip provides the information pronto and you'll be able to be reunited with your cat. It doesn't cost a lot, but it is such a worthwhile investment.
Why is it important to spay or neuter my cat?
You should always spay or neuter your cat unless you are one of the small percentage of people who plan to professionally show pedigree cats. The reasons are many: you will cut down a lot of behavior problems, cats who are still intact tend to roam, they tend to get in fights. If you spay or neuter your cat, you also reduce your cat's chances for certain diseases: for boy cats, prostate cancer, for girl cats, actually mammary cancers. There are a lot of benefits for spaying and neutering your cat. And the big reason is that there's less of a chance for your cat to have a litter. As we know, there's 100 million plus cats out there that are in need of homes. So spaying and neutering your cat is just a small way you can do your part to help control the pet over population.
When should I spay or neuter my cat?
You might think that you have to wait till your cat is six months old, or had her first cycle, to spay, or for the boy cats, to neuter, your cat. But here's the nice thing: they have made so many advances in veterinary medicine that you can actually spay or neuter your cat safely by the time they are two pounds, or at least eight weeks of age.
What are the pros of having an indoor cat?
There are many pros and cons of having an indoor cat. I've got to tell you right from the start, I'm a big fan of having a cat indoors, and here's why. If your cat is allowed to roam unsupervised outside, the cat is like a sitting duck for predators. Coyotes, dogs, other cats that might be bigger, meaner and mightier than your cat. Cars. Cats also can pick up a lot of diseases, and fleas and heartworm. And all these other nasty things that you don't want in your house or on your cat. The other thing is, cats might get lost. Cats can get injured in so many ways, and harmed, that it's far better to have a cat indoors. An indoor cat tends to live longer, healthier. You'll save money on your vet bills, because you're not getting a surprise cat fight to take care of. Indoor cats are less apt to get fleas and all the other nasties out there. So I say, paws up for indoor living.
What are the cons of having an indoor cat?
Now even though I'm a fan of indoor cat living, there can be some cons you have to consider, and the biggest one is boredom. I mean please, cats are not furry pieces of furniture. They need to have their environment enriched, and cats are natural predators. They like to hunt, they like to stalk, they like to chase things. An indoor cat should not be denied those opportunities. The other thing is, they need to kind of see the world, if you will. But there are many ways you can do that safely indoors.