Skip to main content

Keeping your cat healthy, groomed, and well fed is important. Take a look at these five easy tips for maintaining your cat and you’re sure to have a lovely companion for many years to come.

Congratulations on getting a new cat! Whether you’re a new cat owner or someone with a few other furry, four-legged creatures around, one thing is for certain: You and your new pet are going to have a great time together.

However, these cute pets do depend on you to keep them in tip-top shape. It’s much like having a furry toddler in your hands, but with less maintenance, and a litter box. (Hopefully no one out there makes their toddlers use litter boxes.)

Follow these five easy tips and you'll make your cat healthy for many years to come.

1. The Essential Cat

Your cat has certain needs, some of those are basic: food, water, liter box, and bowls or glasses. Bowls are used for food, while drinking water from glasses make cats feel fancy and elegant. Carriers are also important, as are ID collars and microchips, especially if your cat spends time outside.

Did you know cats can sleep up to twenty hours a day? But when they’re not sleeping, eating, or showing off in windows for passersby to admire, they are playing. Toys, therefore, are a great way for your cat (or kitten) to hone its hunting skills, stay fit, and not get bored while you’re away at work.

A piece of colorful string, toy mice filled with catnip, ball, or laser pointer -- be careful not to direct it into the cat’s eyes -- are all good toys. Rotating the toys is also a good idea, as the kitty will enjoy rediscovering an old friend (or foe).

2. Chowing Down

Food and water are essential for any living being. Likewise, cats like their water fresh and clean. You can even splurge and buy water fountains that provide your cat with filtered, flowing water. Now we know what you're thinking, "I'm not spending that kind of money!" Don't worry. Just make sure they have access to clean water, allowing them to quench those parched lips whenever they please.

It’s also a good idea to have a few special dishes for food. If you’re busy in the morning, just put the food in a clean bowl and save all the washing for later. However, it's important you only put enough food for the cat’s morning meal. If cats are given too much food, they tend to overeat. Remember, fat cats are made, not born (and who wants to end up on Dr. Phil because of a fat cat?).

Dry food used to be recommended by many vets, but some have recently changed their minds and are encouraging an exclusive wet food diet, instead. If you decide to take this route, make sure you ask your vet for good brands, or head down to your local pet food store (holistic or otherwise) and see what they suggest.

[ pagebreak]

3. The Litter Box "Thing"

Cats are very fastidious creatures. They like their litter box to be clean. If it isn’t clean, they might start “going” elsewhere, and you certainly don't want to deal with that. A good, scoopable litter is great for easy cleaning on a daily basis. And daily cleaning means you can keep an eye on your cat’s health for early warning signs (e.g., abnormal frequency in peeing, odor changes, feces change, or blood in urine) and make sure any problems that arise are taken care of immediately.

It’s also a good idea to change the cat litter weekly, removing all the old liter and giving the box a thorough cleaning.

4. Grooming Doesn’t Necessarily Have to Involve Brylcreem

While cats are very clean creatures with saliva containing natural deodorants and cleansing properties, they do need a little help every now and then. Some advocate a bath once in a while. This is your decision and may depend greatly on how cooperative the cat is. If you do decide to wash your cat, use a special cat shampoo and warm water.

But the best thing to help your cat with grooming is brushing. It will help remove excess hair, which leads to hairballs for cats. If your particular cat has long hair, then it is essential to keep it tangle free. Brush often, most cats enjoy it.

5. Vet is Not a Dirty Three Letter Word

Making an appointment with a vet is paramount when purchasing a new cat, especially if it hasn’t been spayed or neutered. Holistic vets can be advantageous because they use natural remedies, as well as trusted medication, to keep your pet in good health.

Regardless of the type of vet, make sure you bring in your cat to the vet's office for its shots and once-a-year "wellness" checkup. Being proactive will allow the vet to catch any medical conditions or problems in your cat earlier, thus reducing potential exorbitant vet bills later on.

Your cat is your best friend, so treat "kitty" like royalty.

Image: peteSwede / via Flickr

Help us make PetMD better

Was this article helpful?