Congratulations on becoming a new cat owner! Keeping your new pet happy and healthy requires ongoing care. Cats are relatively self-sufficient but they still rely on their owners for food, water, and grooming. As their teeth reveal, cats are carnivores so it is important to feed them animal proteins, which are contained in cat food. Cats require about one ounce of water daily for each pound of body weight. A good daily coat brushing keeps the cat from swallowing its own hair when it performs self-grooming.
Like people, cats (even those that remain indoors at all times) require health checkups. Annual trips to the veterinarian for a general exam and scheduled vaccinations are recommended. A healthy cat will be more likely to play. Purchase sturdy cat toys that are fun and do not contain removable parts. Keep cellophane, string, and ribbon away from cats because though these items are appealing toys, they can cause fatal injuries.
Any cat that does its business indoors will need a litter box filled with cat litter. Cats definitely have a preference when it comes to litter. If the feline does not like the litter you are using, it will let you know in no uncertain terms by doing things like refusing to go in the box or kicking the litter out of the container. Once you find the right litter, fill the litter box at least two inches deep. Remove solid waste and clumps daily. Clean the box and replace crystal litter monthly and clay and non-clumping litter weekly, sooner if needed.
Clay-based clumping litter is easier to scoop than non-clumping clay based litter because it sticks together where the cat urinates. Crystal litter is made from sand or a sand blend that absorbs liquid but does not clump. Natural, biodegradable litter is made from corn, wheat, paper, or pine and comes in non-clumping and clumping versions. While other litter must be discarded in the trash can, many types of natural litter are flushable.
Cat Litter Boxes
Tray style cat litter boxes come in different sizes so select one that is at least 24 inches long or wide to offer ample maneuvering room for your cat. Kitty litter boxes with sides that are two to three inches high are sufficient for kittens but for larger cats, select a box with sides that are at least four inches high. A box made from durable plastic will not absorb the waste smell. A hooded box is a tray with a removable hood, designed to better contain the litter.
Automatic cat litter boxes are marvels of the modern world. Self-cleaning occurs through a process that automatically sifts the solid material from the litter and stores it in a covered area until you are ready to dispose of it. These convenient contraptions are designed for cat owners who want to minimize their exposure to litter and are willing to pay for that benefit. Not all cats are comfortable with the moving parts in these boxes, though, so be sure the product is returnable.
Cat Litter Box Accessories
Several accessories are available for use with litter boxes. A cat litter scoop is a handy tool for removing waste from a non-automatic litter box. Simply scoop the waste into a bag and dispose of it properly. A cat litter mat can be used with both automated and non-automated boxes. Place it in front of the litter box so the cat will not track litter onto the floor. The mat traps the litter, which can be dumped into the trash can.
Cat litter pans are refill trays designed for use with certain automatic litter boxes. Just slide one of the pre-packaged trays into an automatic litter box and store its cover until you dispose of the tray approximately 20 to 30 days later. No more smelling, seeing, or worst of all, touching, dirty cat litter. Cat care does not get any easier than this!