Friday 26 September 2008

Are we good cat owners or keepers?

This combines three elements of healthy cat life: companionship, play, grooming. Photo by Kirk Siang

Are we good cat owners or keepers? The reason I have included the word "keeper" is because I do not believe that we own cats as if we own an inanimate object. We keep cats. This is a better description, I think. That said, legally we do own cats, but the law is sometimes stupid and/or out of date.

So how do we find out if we are good cat owners or keepers? Answer these questions:

Do we play with our cat(s) for a part of the day, say 10-20 minutes? Cats need some form of stimulation as they are living an artificial life in which they are perpetually provided with all they need (in the right household at least). This keeps them as kittens mentally. They are adults so they need some challenges and stimulation. Play in one answer. Personally, I do out with my cat into the garden and comb her and check for fleas in the garden as she is more tolerant of doing that in the garden on her feet and being stimulated by what is going on around her.

I'll play with a piece of plant (a dried plant for example) or I push her over and she accepts this as it is the signal for a game in which she lies on her back and waves her arms at me. I do the same back to her. I also prod her in the rump. This gets the juices going but these things are personal to her. Each cat will tell you eventually by trying things out, what he or she likes.

Play is a physical release and good emotionally - it is good for humans too. Giving up the time to play confirms that the answer is, yes, to the question: Are we good cat owners or keepers?

Do we groom our cat at least once day? My girl is a medium length haired cat but she has a thick undercoat, which tends to matt and she is overweight so she can't get at all of the coat; plus she is old (16). This makes her less flexible. Grooming your cat and grooming with a flea comb is pleasant for nearly all cats (and us) plus it serves a useful purpose and it means we are close to our cat companion so we can inspect for problems. It also helps create a bond - beneficial on a number levels then. A yes to daily grooming means another yes to the question: Are we good cat owners or keepers?

Do we check bowel movements and eating habits daily? It is good to check what goes in and what comes out!! This tells us quite a lot about our cat's metabolism and general health. Doing the litter tray tells us what we need to know about the products of her toilet sessions. Feeding her will tell us if she is feeding well. Good cat food is I think a little hard to come by but the best simple answer is to try and buy the better quality food and feed a balanced diet which for me translates into not feeding dry food all the time. Feline diabetes is one condition that can be created through the wrong diet at least for Dr. Hodgkins it is (Your Cat).

The experts recommend yearly vet check ups. I cannot deny the sense of that. But I am more the kind of person who checks and keeps an eye on things and goes to the vet when needed. On a practical level a lot of people can't afford vets. This is not to say vets are expensive. I discuss vets. Cat insurance is expensive too, potentially, at least. For some people insurance is good and it does mean we go to the vet more freely which means earlier treatment sometimes. The truth is we shouldn't keep a cat unless we can afford to and that means the cost of proper care. This amongst other things needs to be factored in when adopting a cat. See cat vaccinations recommendations for example.

If we are out a lot does are cat have a companion cat? This is not obligatory of course but if we are out a lot a companion cat could be a way of improving our cat's life provided the introduction is done properly. See sociable cats.

Are we good cat owners keepers? to Home page

Are we good cat owners or keepers? - Photo: published under a creative commons license - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License.

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