Basic Cat Care
Are you thinking of getting a cat, or even got one? Congratulations! We know you’ll be thrilled to have your new cat in your home. If you are considering adopting a cat, please visit your local cats rescue, there are many beautiful cats and kittens without a home to call their own through no fault of their own.
Cat Supply Checklist
Good quality cat food
Brush and Comb
Safety cat collar with ID tag
Scratching post or scratching pad
Litter box and litter
Cat carrier box with warm blanket or towel
Read on for useful tips for new cat parents, and for those looking to brush up on their pet care skills.
It is recommended that you feed a high-quality kitten or cat food. Your veterinarian will be able to assess your new cat or kitten and determine the best diet. Factors such as age, activity level and health make a difference in what and how much a cat should eat.
Cats require taurine, an essential amino acid, for heart and eye health. The food you choose should be balanced for the life stage of your cat or kitten. Properly balanced foods will contain taurine.
You will need to provide fresh, clean water at all times, and wash and refill your cat’s water bowls daily.
Treats should be no more than 5-10% of the diet.
Many people feed baby food to a cat or kitten that is refusing food or not feeling well. Please read labels carefully: If the baby food contains onion or garlic powder, your pet could be poisoned.
Take your pet to your veterinarian if signs of anorexia, diarrhoea, vomiting or lethargy continue for more than two days.
To pick up your cat, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck or by the front legs.
Most cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath, but you should brush or comb your cat regularly. Frequent brushing helps keep your cat's coat clean, reduces the amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs.
Your pet should have her own clean, dry place in your home to sleep and rest. Line your cat's bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Please keep your cat indoors. Outdoor cats do not live as long as indoor cats. Outdoor cats are at risk of trauma from cars, or from fights with other cats, foxes and free-roaming dogs. Outdoor cats are more likely to become infested with fleas or ticks, as well as contract infectious diseases.
If allowed outdoors, your cat must wear a safety collar and an ID tag. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. And for both indoor and outdoor cats, an ID tag or an implanted microchip can help ensure that your cat is returned if they become lost.
All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended and one per cat plus one extra box minimum. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary, but if you must do so, move the box just a few inches per day. Keep in mind that cats won't use a messy, smelly litter box, so scoop solid wastes out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent and refill at least once a week; you can do this less frequently if using clumping litter. Don't use ammonia, deodorants or scents, especially lemon, when cleaning the litter box. If your cat will not use a litterbox, please consult with your veterinarian. Sometimes refusal to use a litter box is based on a medical condition that required treatment.
Cats need to scratch! When a cat scratches, the old outer nail sheath is pulled off and the sharp, smooth claws underneath are exposed. Cutting your cat’s nails every two to three weeks will keep them relatively blunt and less likely to harm the arms of both humans and furniture. Provide your cat with a sturdy scratching post, at least three feet high. The post should also be stable enough that it won't wobble during use, and should be covered with rough material such as sisal, burlap or tree bark. Many cats also like scratching pads. The more you have, the less likely they are to damage your furniture. I add catnip to mine to begin with to get them interested in the new post.
Your cat should see the veterinarian at least once a year for an examination and annual shots, and immediately if they are sick or injured.
Your cat must be regularly treated for Fleas and Worms
Medicines and Poisons
Never give your cat medication that has not been prescribed by a veterinarian. If you suspect that your animal has ingested a poisonous substance, call your veterinarian immediately.
Spaying and Neutering
Female cats should be spayed and male cats neutered by five months of age.
Your veterinarian will make recommendations based on your cat's age and health.
The Cats Protection has a great website full of help at