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Outfit your cat with a breakaway collar and visible ID that includes your name, address, and telephone number
No matter how careful you are, there's always a chance she may slip out the door. Your cat is more likely to get home safely if she has a collar and ID. Also, be a good citizen by complying with any local cat licensing laws.
Take your cat to the veterinarian for regular check-ups and vaccinations
If you don't have a veterinarian, ask your local animal shelter, rescue group, or a pet-owning friend for a referral. Medical care is as essential for your cat as it is for you. If you are having trouble affording veterinary care, investigate our list of financial resources. If you already have dogs or cats at home, make sure they are up-to-date on their shots and in good general health before you introduce your new cat.
Spay or neuter your cat
Spaying and neutering your cat will keep him healthier and help decrease the number of cats euthanized every year because of cat overpopulation. If you can't afford the operation, look into low-cost options.
Feed your cat a nutritionally balanced diet and provide fresh water 24/7
Educate yourself on your cat's nutritional needs or ask your veterinarian for advice on what and how often to feed your pet.
Keep the litter box clean
Cats are naturally clean, and most will instinctively use a litter box; you just have to show yours where it is. Don't place your cat in the box and make little scratching motions with her front paws. This will probably upset your cat and may make her leery of the box. Scoop the box at least once daily and periodically wash it with dish liquid and hot water. Because cats also value privacy, place the litter box in a convenient but quiet spot. We can help you get things off to a good start.
Groom your cat often.
All cats, whether long- or short-haired, should be brushed regularly to keep their coats and skin healthy, prevent matting, and reduce shedding and hairballs. They also need to have their claws clipped to keep them from growing into their paws. Grooming is a good opportunity to discover any lumps, fleas, injuries, etc., and to bond with your kitty. If you want to find a groomer, read our advice on choosing one.
Make time to play and provide entertainment
Cats often entertain themselves, but regular play sessions with your pet will provide her with the physical and mental stimulation she needs and strengthen the bond you share.
Give her toys and scratching posts to distract her from your household goods. Cats love to play and will appreciate simple and inexpensive toys. Ping-Pong balls and opened paper bags (remove the handles) can provide hours of fun. A comfortable perch by a window can become your cat's very own entertainment and relaxation center. Rotate toys to maintain your cat's interest in them.
You might want to invest in a kitty condo or cat tree—a structure typically covered in carpet or sisal (a rough material cats love to scratch) where your cat can climb, stretch, and hide to her heart's content while watching the world go by. But the best two things you can give your cat are love and playtime.
Provide your cat with some basic training to help him get along in your home.
It's true that cats usually have their own ideas about how to do things. Even so, a positive approach can teach most cats not to scratch the couch, eat plants, or jump up on the kitchen counter. With repeated, gentle, and consistent training, your cat will learn the house rules. Don't ever yell or hit your cat.
Keep your cat safe by keeping him indoors, safely confined to your property, or walked on a harness and leash
Doing so is best for you, your cat, and your community. Here are other ways to keep your cat safe and secure.
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“Don't walk behind me; I may not lead.
Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.”