“Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow.”Jeff Valdez
According to a survey published by the New Zealand Companion Animal Council Inc, there are more companion animals in New Zealand than there are people! New Zealanders are the world’s greatest cat owners, with a total feline population of 1.419 million. Our feline friends can amuse, entertain and relax us and they soon become an integral part of the household. To ensure that they remain a part of our lives for a long time, it’s important to keep them in good condition. Some tips, courtesy of the RSPCA are:
Vaccination: Do not omit to have your kitten vaccinated. A combined Enteritis/Cat Flu injection at 12 weeks of age with a booster at 16 weeks will protect your pet. Thereafter an annual booster is recommended.
Desexing: When you have your kitten vaccinated talk to your veterinarian about desexing. Desexing is absolutely crucial to prevent your kitten from breeding and adding to the unwanted pet population. Female kittens should be spayed around 5 to 6 months and male kittens neutered at 6 to 7 months. Mature cats may be desexed at any age.
Nutrition: If possible, find out what your new pet is accustomed to eating and keep him on the same food for the first few days as a sudden change of diet could upset his tummy. You can use prepared tinned food OR a mixture of fresh and prepared food. A fresh bowl of water should always be available, even if the cat has milk as well. See the RNZSPCA website for details on appropriate food types for your feline.
Housetraining: Place your kitten on his toilet tray immediately after a meal, a sleep or a game. He will very soon seek out the tray of his own accord. Be sure to remove the soiled litter regularly, at least twice a day, as many kittens (and cats) will not use a dirty tray.
Grooming: Your long-haired cat will need regular grooming. Suitable brushes and combs are available from pet shops or your veterinary clinic. Accustom a kitten to grooming while it is small.
Overnight: Cats are best kept home after dark. This is the time when they are the biggest threat to native birds nesting in trees. If they have access to a toilet tray and are given a cosy bed they will be content.
Health care: Your cat will require annual visits to the vet for vaccinations, boosters and general health checks.Ask your vet about flea, tick and worm prevention. ,/I>
Another important consideration is pet insurance. The cost of illness or injury of your beloved cat can easily reach four figures and pet insurance can be a way to provide peace of mind that you could afford the costs involved. See our Types of Pet Insurance article for further information