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Speaking of Pets: Caring for your cat

Some tips on how to take care of a new feline friend

Joan Merriam
Speaking of Pets
You’ll find that cats are fun, entertaining, curious, and loving companions that can bring you years of joy.
Raul Varzar, Unsplash

So, you’ve just brought a new kitty into your family—that’s great. Whether you’re new to the cat world or an old hand, there are some things to need keep in mind to keep your new furry friend happy and healthy.

Food

Most importantly, read the label, and look for foods that list meat, poultry or fish as the first ingredient, and don’t contain by-products, fillers, or artificial colors or flavors. While you may appreciate the convenience of dry food, cats tend to prefer moist food, which is generally more digestible than dry. I recommend you feed a premium rather than grocery store food. You’ll pay more, but your cat will live a longer and healthier life because of it. And make sure the food is appropriate for your cat’s life stage and health.



Litter box

It’s important that your cat have a clean litter box that’s large enough: at least 1.5 times the length of the cat, with sides between 5-7 inches tall. Kittens need a box that has shorter sides so they can get in and out easier. It’s critical to keep the box clean, so you’ll need to scoop out the waste once a day at least.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.



Toys

Most cats — especially kittens — love to play, so make sure you have a supply of toys on hand. These can be store-bought or DIY: Most cats love to explore things as simple as an empty paper bag or box. Toys that wiggle or move are especially intriguing for most cats and can provide hours of exercise and entertainment.

Health

First, make sure your cat is spayed or neutered by 5 months old. Second, take your cat to the veterinarian once a year for wellness checkups and to make sure your cat is — and stays — healthy. Follow your vet’s recommendations for regular vaccinations, which should include the FVRCP (commonly called the “distemper shot”) and rabies vaccines. Rabies vaccinations for cats are required by law in Colorado.

You’ll find that cats are fun, entertaining, curious and loving companions that can bring you years of joy. And if you’re thinking about adopting a cat, please visit your local shelter.

Joan Merriam lives in Northern California with her golden retriever, Joey, and Maine coon cat, Indy. She emphasizes that she’s not a veterinarian or animal behaviorist — just an animal lover who’s been writing about pets since 2012. You can reach her at joan@joanmerriam.com.

 


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