Cats make wonderful pets because they offer us friendship, love, trust, and they teach us responsibility.
My cat Phanny offers lots of love and comfort for my family and me. Phanny, like most cats, is fun to play with. They’re relatively independent animals and are easy to care for. We feed Phanny each day, give her Petromalt every so often to prevent hairballs, and we make sure we give her fresh water each day. We take her to the vet for checkups once a year, and we also have her claws trimmed periodically to make sure they are not too sharp. All that being said, cats are probably one of the easiest house pets to have. But if you’re going to adopt a longhaired housecat, be sure to keep a brush handy! Unlike shorthaired cats, longhaired cats require daily attention to grooming. You can read more about caring for a longhaired cat in this article: How to Care for Long Haired Cats.
The best way to get a pet cat is to adopt one. Shelters and rescue groups have many wonderful cats and kittens for adoption, including many pure breed cats. Most adopted cats have already been spayed or neutered by the rescue groups or shelter, and have been given their shots. These cuddly cats are just looking for a loving home. Once you have your cat for a few months, you start to understand how they communicate with you and tell you what they want. Phanny just wants me to play with her, and give her love and attention.
If you’re thinking of adopting a cat, you will need to prepare for his or her arrival by gathering the supplies your cat needs:
- Age-appropriate cat food
- Clean water
- 1 bowl for cat food
- 1 bowl for water
- 1 litter box
- Cat litter
- Cat carrier
Adult cats should be fed 1 large or 2 or 3 small meals per day, kittens from 6–12 weeks should be fed 4 small meals each day. Kittens from 3–6 months should be fed 3 small meals per day. Contrary to popular belief, milk is very hard for cats to digest, so refrain from leaving milk out for your cat.
Most cats do a great job at grooming themselves. They don’t need a bath, but it’s a good idea to brush them regularly to keep their coat clean, as well as to reduce shedding.
Cats love to chase their prey, so the best toys are those that move, so the cat can chase it. It is a good idea to purchase a scratching post. The scratching post helps file the cat’s claws. Also, cutting your cats claws every 2–3 weeks will help prevent them from scratching furniture and people. A little trick to keep your cat interested in the scratching post is to sprinkle catnip on it twice a month.
Your cat should visit the vet once a year for an annual examination. If an emergency arises, call your vet immediately, or seek emergency care at an emergency veterinary hospital. Fleas should be taken very seriously. Medication for fleas can be purchased at your local pet store or from your vet. If your cat has not already been spayed or neutered, don’t delay: speak with your vet or contact one of the free/low-cost spay/neuter resources listed on the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals website.
About the Author
Jon Spinac has been doing research and writing for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals for nearly two years. He lives in Manhattan with his family, which includes a Himalayan/Persian cat named Phanny, whom he adores. Jon also enjoys working with tabletop miniature models. One of Jon’s favorite activities is playing with Phanny — especially letting her chase a laser pointer around the room.