8 Essential Accessories For Every Cat
As a cat owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your cat is happy and healthy. The essentials mentioned below will keep your kitty happy, healthy, safe and relaxed so you can enjoy quality time with him or her.
If you are like many cat parents and think that cat beds are a pointless extravagance and the floor works just as well, think twice. Having a cat bed is more important than you realise. Cats spend more than half their day sleeping. The right cat bed can provide better weight distribution and support for your cat's muscles and joints while sleeping.
The right cat bed can also provide orthopaedic support to take the pressure off of achy joints. Cats naturally seek elevated resting places to feel safer. Try placing your cat's bed on a high surface to see if your cat prefers it higher or lower. The beauty of a cat bed is the ability to move it around to your cat's liking.
2. Collar and ID tag.
The most important purpose for putting a collar and identification tag on your kitty is to ensure she can be identified and returned to you if she runs away or gets lost. No matter what type of collar you choose for your cat, a proper fit is crucial. You should be able to fit two fingers between your kitty’s neck and the collar.
Microchipping is another way to ID your cat. A microchip is a permanent pet ID and lasts the life of the pet. The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is injected beneath the surface of the pet’s skin between the shoulder blades.
3. Scratching mat or post.
Cats have an innate need to scratch, and they will scratch upon household surfaces if you don't provide an alternative. Cats scratch for several reasons; to mark territory or relieve stress, to stretch and as a matter of grooming and keeping uncomfortable skin off their claws.
Sisal rope, corrugated cardboard or wood are good choices of scratching surfaces as they mimic tree surfaces in the wild that cats love to scratch. Place mats or posts in prominent areas in your house or where your cat likes to sleep. Get a scratching routine started by gently helping your cat do scratching motions and reward immediately with lots of praise or treats (or both!).
Purchase a scratcher toy for your cat.
4. Food and water bowls.
When it comes to food and water bowls for your kitty, ceramic, stainless steel or melamine dishes are the best choice. Plastic bowls can absorb odours and deter cats from eating or drinking. Always check bowls for scratches and chips, which could harbour bacteria, or hurt your cat’s mouth.
In multiple cat households, each cat should have their own set of bowls. Don’t place the bowls in a ‘high traffic’ area of the house where the cat may feel threatened, and ensure the bowls are not placed next to litter trays! Remember to wash food and water bowls at least daily, or every other day to keep both you and your pet healthy.
5. Dental products.
Dental disease is one of the most common conditions seen by vets today and can be hugely painful for your cat, particularly if it progresses unnoticed and untreated. Eighty per cent of cats over the age of three suffer from some form of dental disease. The good news is that for the most part, dental disease is fully preventable.
You must start a strict daily dental care regime of regular and effective tooth brushing at home; with routine repeat check-ups (at least annually) at the vet. Brushing your cat’s teeth is the single most effective means to maintain dental health between professional dental cleanings.
Some brushing is better than none; so thorough tooth brushing two to three times a week goes a long way. You can use dental treats and mouthwash specifically designed for cats in between brushings. Combining several methods will achieve the best results. If your kitty is reluctant to accept dental hygiene, use a very gradual, gentle and patient approach to achieve success.
Purchase dental gel for your bff.
6. Nail clippers.
Cats have claws that grow in a curve and can curl under their paw pads if they’re left untrimmed; a condition that can be very painful for your cat. Trimming nails helps to keep your kitty’s claws at a healthy length and reduces the chances of your cat catching a claw in the screen or upholstery and hence injuring herself trying to get away.
As a general guideline, to keep your cat's claws from becoming too sharp, you should trim his claws about every two weeks. You'll have to use your own judgment about when to take care of your kitty's grooming needs based on his individual needs (and yours). You'll need a clipper especially made to trim cat's claws.
Special clippers are designed to cut your cat's claws at the correct angle to prevent splitting your cat's nails and causing them to bleed. When trimming your cat's claws, hold her firmly, but not too tightly. Snip off the tip of your cat's nail. Be careful not to clip too closely to the quick (the pink vein in the nail).
It's best to do the clipping in a well-lit area so you can see the pink quick through the nail. If you have any doubts about how far to clip, be conservative and just clip the tips of the nails. Alternatively, talk to your groomer or vet to show you how to clip kitty nails. If you do clip the quick by accident, press a little flour gently against the bleeding.
Purchase Safari Professional Nail Clippers for your kitty.
7. Brushes or combs.
Whether you have a shorthaired or longhaired cat, regular brushing is an important part of maintaining a healthy skin and coat, as well as overall health for your kitty. Frequent brushing will cut down on shedding and the amount of hair getting ingested through her self-grooming.
Brushing distributes the natural oil, which helps to maintain skin and coat health. With frequent brushing you can address tangles before they turn into mats. Brushing helps you to check for parasites such as fleas and ticks or any skin abnormalities or ear problems.
Time spent brushing your cat deepens the bond between the two of you. Frequent brushing helps desensitize the cat to being handled. The more hair you brush, the less hair your cat will swallow. Remember, a cat’s skin is sensitive and very thin. Be gentle as you brush. Use brushes or combs appropriate for your cat’s type of coat, for example, slicker brushes (ideal for all coat types), combs (ideal for long length coats), rubber curry brushes (ideal for short to medium length coats) and/or deshedding tools (ideal for all coat types).
8. Flea, tick and worm control.
Before you choose a parasite prevention plan for your cat, it’s important to know exactly what vermin you're up against. Keeping your pet parasite free is not just important for their happiness, but it protects them against serious health risks, some of which may result in death if left untreated.
Some parasites can also infect people so regular parasite control is vital for feline and human health. Most treatments target a combination of parasites at once and will be administered as either a topical or oral medication. Topical flea and tick (and worm) treatments can be applied on a monthly basis.
It is commonly recommended to deworm or treat kittens for worms (using oral medication) every 2 weeks from 2 until 8 weeks of age, then monthly until 6 months of age and every 1- 3 months thereafter. Kittens only require tapeworm treatment if they also have fleas. Adult cats should be treated for worms every 1 to 3 months. Talk to your vet to establish a flea, tick and worm prevention schedule for your kitty.
Information for this article was sourced from content.dollargeneral.com, petfinder.com, myhealthycat.com, catbehaviorassociates.com, petcircle.com.au and purina.co.uk.