How to Care for Your Cat by Robert Tronge

Cats may seem like some of the most independent pets around, but they do need some special care to become good feline pets in your home says Robert Tronge. While they're a whole lot more self-sufficient than dogs may be, they can become just as loyal as dogs if you put in the effort and a lot of love into working with them. Make sure to keep your kitty healthy by getting preventative treatments, feeding daily, and nurture your cat with lots of love. Your cat will feel loved and appreciate with her place in the family if you follow this simple steps.

Part 1 - Keeping Your Cat Healthy

Robert Tronge recommends taking your cat to the vet for their annual check-ups. This will help catch medical problems early and before a condition can become severe. At the exam, you can talk with the vet about any concerns you may have about your cat's general overall health or special care issues. Mention to the vet if you notice anything different with your cat, such as the way she's talking to you, walking, eating or acting. Your cat's vaccines will be updated at the examin and a stool sample will be taken and checked for internal parasites. Your cat will be treated for any conditions that they may have.  The vet may recommend more testing to check for other parasites such as heart function, kidney function, or for diabetes if something is found.  Older cats should be examined about twice a year since they're more prone to diseases and infections.

If you have kittens, take them to the vet early for their preventative care. If you've just gotten kittens, then take them to the vet within the first week of getting them.  Kittens need to see the vet more frequently than do adult cats starting at around 8 weeks old. They will need 2 to 3 visits for their vaccination series which consist of distemper and rabies at a minimum. The first visit the vet will talk with you about any particular risks your kittens may face for other diseases like feline leukemia.  Your kittens will probably have roundworms which can stunt growth and may even be transmitted to people. The vet will recommend treating them with oral medications.

You need to know when to get special medical treatment for your cat such as if your cat becomes sick, you may need to take him or her to the vet immediately. It's also a good idea to save up some money for such illnesses or emergencies. Robert Tronge recommends having a few hundred in a fund for this purpose.  Some vets do accept pet insurance which will provide some coverage in the event of an unplanned emergency medical visit. While signs of illness can vary between your cats, contact your vet immediately if you notice changes in:

Eyes may have redness, a discharge, squinting, cloudiness, rubbing at eyes
Ears could be a foul smell, itchiness, discharge
Breathing would be any cough, sneezing with discharge, difficulty breathing/catching breath
Skin problems such as wounds, lumps or bumps, swelling, excessive/persistent itching, redness, yellow discoloration
Urination problems, spraying, bloody urine, straining when urinating, excessive urination
Digestion issues, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea
General problems, malaise/lethargy, confusion, restlessness, seizures

You should get your cat spayed or neutered by Doctor Robert George Tronge. Neutering a male cat and spaying a female cat will help with any behavior issues such as roaming the neighborhood and the tendency to spray urine in the house. It can also protect your cat against a number of diseases including ovarian cancer, mammary gland tumors, uterine cancer, and testicular cancer.  It will also decrease the number of unwanted litters of kittens. If you have kittens, your vet will recommend that they be spayed or neutered anywhere from two to six months of age.

You should groom your cat often. If your cat has long hair, use a pin brush to work through the long coat and work out any tangles. A flat and slicker brush works better for short hair. You can also use a smaller, triangular shaped brush for small areas, such as around their face and ears. If you want to use a comb be sure to  choose a wide-toothed comb for long fur, and a very fine-toothed one for short fur. You may even want to buy a smaller and gentler brush if you have a kitten. This is also a great time to check your cat for any fleas and also check for lumps and bumps on their skin.  Grooming is also very important since it strips out the dead hair, preventing hairballs, even stimulates your cat's' blood flow, and also provides a good bonding time for you and your cat.

When you brush your cat's teeth, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and also veterinary toothpaste since fluoride is toxic to cats. Start off by offering your cat a taste of the toothpaste from your vet. The next day, let them taste the toothpaste while you run your finger along the gums of his upper teeth. The following day do this again with the toothbrush, making small circles and working back to front. Brush a little bit at a time, gradualy working the bristles along the gum line and slightly angled up, just under the gum line. Brushing your cats teeth should take you less than 30 seconds. Good dental care is important for good health since many of the diseases are linked to poor teeth care and also gum disease. Bacteria and plaque can even enter the bloodstream and rest of the body which can lead to heart and kidney disease, mouth pain, poor eating, and even tooth loss.

You may want to get your cat's teeth professionally cleaned every now and then. Even with your own tooth brushing, some cats may still need an occasional professional cleaning service. While brushing really does reduce the plaque and buildup on the visible surfaces of the teeth, it still cannot get to the tricky buildup just under the gum line. A professional dental cleaning will also give the veterinarian an opportunity to examine the cat’s mouth which can be an impossible task unless the cat has been sedated which will happen during a professional dental cleaning.

Part 2 - Feeding and Housing Your Cat

You should create a nurturing space for your cat in your house. Make sure they have some space of their own. She should have a soft and comfortable space that offers her a bit of privacy for when she needs it. This way your cat can retreat when feeling overwhelmed or have a relaxing place to sleep without disruptions. Offer soft blankets or pillows so that your cat can have a warm place to snuggle for the night. Wash your cats pillows or bedding on a regular basis to keep them clean and fresh.

Set up a litter box in a quite place away from he daily activities. Make sure to clean it every day since cats prefer a very clean bathroom. A clean litter box will attract a cat but a dirty one might repel them and make them look elsewhere to relieve herself such on your carpet or under your bed. If you have more than one cat it is also a very good idea to have more than one litter box placed in different areas of the house in order to prevent any “turf” guarding of the box by one cat.  For example, if you have 2 cats, you should have at least three litter boxes available.  Avoid placing the litter box in a busy area or near appliances which could generate a lot of noise and may scare your cat off. Your cat should be able to easily access the litter box from ground level.

Learn what your cat needs to eat each day. Ask your veterinarian to suggest a cat food with a quality specific for your cat. Be sure to follow the feeding instructions on the package of cat food you select. Cats are usually fed according to their age, weight, and activity levels. They generally like to eat very small meals throughout the day and not one large one. Don't feed your cat human food unless you've discussed it with your vet first. Some human foods can make a cat very sick or are even toxic to them.  Cats food provided from animal meat since they're carnivores. This means they need animal derived food to get the essential amino acids and components of protein for their system. If they don't get them, they will develop very severe health consequences.  Always offer fresh water and not milk which cats have a hard time digesting.

You must remember to feed your cat regularly. If your cat does not have free 24/7 access to the feeding of dry food, consider feeding 2 or 3 smaller meals spaced over the day. If you feed canned meals throw any uneaten food away after 30 minutes before it spoils. You can choose to feed your cat dry food which can be left out without spoiling. Be sure to offer your cat treats every once in a while. Give them fresh fruit or vegetables, like cooked broccoli, cantaloupe, or corn. Avoid any packaged treats which rarely offer many nutrients.  If you have young kittens 6 to 12 weeks old, feed them at least 4 times a day. Older kittens of 3 to 6 months should be feed around 3 times a day.

Part 3 - Socializing Your Cat

Let your cat set his own pace. If your cat is new to you or is simply shy around other cats, never force them to interact or play.  Start slow and follow their cues. Let fluffy become familiar with you or the other cats. Spend time sitting around your cat and interacting with them. Avoid just standing over your cat, which may intimidate them. Once your cat starts feeling comfortable with their environment, they will begin to approach you or your other cats. When your cat approaches you, let them get closer to you and sniff you. You might encourage them to come to you by placing treats in your hand fore them to eat.

Playing with your cat every day is very important. Help them get the needed exercise they need by being your cat's own personal trainer. Use toys such as feathers, fake mice, or even a rolled up piece of paper to get your cat to run around and play. Toys are a great incentive to get your cat moving and playing. Try tossing small toys for them to hit and chase around. If you're too worn out to play yourself, use a fishing pole style toy or pocket flashlight to give your cat a workout around the room. Playing with your cat every day will help them to alleviate their need for your attention.

Offer a lot of equipment for your cat to play and exercise on. Your cat should have plenty of objects to play with on their own when you are not around. A useful and fun object is a scratching post or tree that they can climb. Cats love to climb to tall places and love to scratch carpet or wood. A large, sturdy cat tree will give them a place to scratch and will let them climb and enjoy a bird's eye view of her surroundings. Try placing a cat tree or tower near a sunny window so they can look outside.

Get your cat to play with their food every day. This is especially important if your cat is strictly an indoor cat and can't chase or forage for food on their own. Try putting your cat's food in different containers and then cut holes in the sides of them. Place some of the cat's food in the containers and let her shake and roll the containers to get to the food out of the hold.  This will keep your cat active and engaged with life which can prevent boredom and unhappiness from being trapped inside all day long.

With introducing your cat to new pets, take a look at these few tips. While cats are often solitary creatures, they do occasional enjoy the company of other cats. This doesn't mean you should just place two cats together without properly socializing them. Let your current cat get used to the new cat's scent by offering a cloth the new cat has slept on or letting them sniff around a room that the new cat has been in. You should also play with them separately for a while so that they will learn to associate the scent with something positive. Take care to offer food to each cat in separate bowls. Set the bowls next to each other so the cats will spend time enjoying each others company while they eat.  This reinforces positive behavior with eating and the new cat.

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Robert G Tronge
Robert G Tronge