Cats

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CATS

 

Cats have been our companions for many centuries - one need only to look at times of the ancient Egyptians and mummified cats in tombs.

 

Although cats are by nature very independant, it is important to know how to care for them proprely, what to feed them, what toys they might enjoy and how to keep them well groomed and in good health.

 

Being owned by a cat can be one of the most rewarding experiences that you will have during your entire lifetime!

 

  1. I am bringing a new kitten /cat home - what should tips should I keep in mind ?
  2. What should I feed my cat?
  3. What should I keep mind when feeding my cat?
  4. What is an obligate carnivore?
  5. Should you groom your cat?
  6. What is catnip?
  7. How do cats communicate?
  8. Can cats taste sweet things?
  9. Can you train your cat?
  10. Cat Paws - What should important facts should you remember about your cat's paws?
  11. Why should you sterilize your cat?

 

1. I am bringing a new kitten/cat home - what should tips should I keep in mind ?

 

  • Create a safe haven for your cat in a seperate room -keep all the doors and windows closed. The room should have water and food on one side of the room and a litter tray on the other side.
  • "Kitty-proof" the room - remember that cats can climb up curtains, table cloths and can be quite destructive when playing.
  • Ensure that your cat / kitten has plenty of toys in the room.
  • After about 10 dats slowly let the cat out of the room (under your supervision) - let the new cat explore the area and get to know the other cats in the house. Increase "free" time in large areas daily until the cat is comfortable in the whole house.
  • Keep toilet seats down! Cats are curious - kittens may be too weak to get out if they fall in and could drown. Also do not leave a cat unattended when running a bath or near a full run bath.
  • When introducing the kitten/cat to other animals, let them sniff each other first through a pet carrier.
  • Dogs should be restrained on leads until fully introduced.

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2. What should I feed my cat?


Being carnivores, cats need high quantities of animal proteins and fats to survive. You can feed your cat a high-quality premium commercial food that is appropriate for the life stage and health status of your cat. Cats are healthiest when consuming a diet which mimics a small prey animal as closely as possible. Your cat will enjoy fresh, raw meat and raw, meaty bones. Taurine is one of the most important nutrients present in meat but it is missing from plants. Taurine deficiency will cause blindness and heart problems in cats.

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3. What should I keep mind when feeding my cat?


Being obligate carnivores means that cats love meat and have a preferences for the consistency of food relating to this. Your cat naturally prefers larger chunks of food than crumbs. They prefer soft food over hard food. Food temperature is also important - cats prefer warmer meat - simulating meat from a fresh kill. Cats are also able to detect fat content in food.

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4. What is an obligate carnivore?


An obligate carnivore (true carnivore) is an animal that by its genetic makeup must eat the tissue of other animals in order to thrive. Obligate carnivores may eat other foods, such as vegetables or fruit, but they must eat meat as the main source of their nutrients. True carnivores lack the physiology required for the efficient digestion of vegetable matter.

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5. Should you groom your cat?


It is a good idea to groom your cat regularly - weekly (or even more frequently if possible) to prevent hairballs and to improve the look of your cat's coat.

Daily brushing will minimize sheddng in longhaired cats. Use the grooming time to examine your cat for common health problems as well. Check your cat's gums, teeth, eyes, ears and skin for possible problems.

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6. What is catnip?


Catnip is a herb from the mint family. Not all cats love catnip but those that do, will roll in it and go a little nuts for 5-10 minutes!

The leaves and stems of the catnip plant contain an oil called "nepetalactone." When cats smell nepetalactone, it stimulates special receptors that sense chemicals. This chemical reaction gives cats a sense of euphoria.

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7. How do cats communicate?


Cat communication includes the use of a variety of vocalizations (mewing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling, and grunting), as well as cat pheromones and types of cat-specific body language.

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8. Can cats taste sweet things?


Cats have relatively few taste buds compared to human. Both domestic and wild cats share a gene mutation that keeps their sweet taste buds from binding to sugary molecules, leaving them with no ability to taste sweetness. So no, cats cannot taste sweet things.

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9. Can you train your cat?


Yes cats can be trained - in fact litter box training, socialising cats with other cats and humans and playtime to help eliminate destrcutive behaviour is very important. Teach your cat to use scratching posts and climbing frames to save your furniture!

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10. Cat Paws - What should important facts should you remember about your cat's paws?

 

  • Each of the cat's paw joints are subject to joint disease.

A cat’s paw is made up of bony structures and soft tissue. Cat paw pads are designed to help with speed and agility. A cat can flex and grip with all of his toes, enabling him to climb. Each section of a cat’s toe that can flex, is a joint and is subject to joint diseases, like osteoarthritis. The last digit of a cat’s toe is the one that houses the claw.

  • Declawing = amputation.

The claw makes up more of a cat’s toes than our nails make up our fingers and declawing a cat literally mutilates his foot forever. When you rip off one of your nails, it will eventually re-grow. A partially completed declaw procedure allows the disfigured nail to try to re-grow and becomes a source of chronic pain for the cat. An incomplete declaw is even worse than a correctly done declaw, but even the best procedures are a mutilation and multiple digit amputation.

  • Paws perceive information about the environment through their paws.

As a hunter, a cat must be able to move quickly. His paws are the interface between his body and what he is standing on. The pads of his feet are designed to cushion his impact when he steps and also to help him spring into his next step. A cat is also able to sense vibration with their paw pads.

  • Beware of paw injuries.

There are many blood vessels and nerves a cat's foot pad. If your cat cuts his paw pad, it will bleed profusely compared to other parts of a cat.

  • Paws help cats communicate.

Has anyone ever told you that you “talk with your hands”? A cat also communicates through its paws. Cats have glands between their toes that secrete a marking chemical called interdigital semiochemical. The chemical is released when your cat scratches or kneads its paws - this leaves a sign that other cats can read.

 

It is important to realize that your cat’s paws are vital and similar to your own hands in many ways, but different in many ways too. If your cat cuts her paw pads or seems to be in pain when she steps or climbs, ask your vet for help.

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11. Why should you sterilize your cat?


It is important to sterilize your cat - there are millions of unwanted cats/ kittens that are euthanized each year. Sterilization also prevents dieseases such as Feline Aids and will help prevent your cat from roaming. Keep in mind:

  • the gestation period of domestic cats is 57 -70 days - average being 63 days
  • litter size can vary between 2 - 6 kittens on average
  • kittens can be weaned by 8-12 weeks
  • within weeks the queen can be pregnant again - she can have at least 3 litters per year and up to 300 kittens in her lifetime

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