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Tips to Help You Become the Best Cat Parent

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Cats are lovely creatures and make great pets, but that doesn't mean raising them isn't without its challenges. As a cat owner, you'll need to learn how to tend to their needs while also balancing the other responsibilities of your life – work, relationships, friends, and so on.

Here are some tips to help you become the best cat parent possible.

#1 Feed a High-quality Diet

Cats are carnivores—they need animal protein and fats in their diet. Cats also tend to crave taste and texture, so you should ensure that your cat's food is well-seasoned. On occasion, feeding human treats is fine, but don't give them human food every day. Treats should be used sparingly and only in moderation.

Keep an eye on the ingredients in treats and commercial foods—some ingredients aren't good for kitties! Go for approved food brands or talk to your veterinarian about the best brands for your cat's nutritional needs. Regardless of your food choice – wet, dry, homemade, or a mix of all, ensure you meet your cat's dietary and nutritional needs. Also, consider purchasing an automatic feeder and water fountain if you know there won't be someone around to give your cat fresh food and water during mealtimes.

#2 Provide Feline Enrichment

Enrichment refers to activities designed to increase your cat's physical, emotional, or social well-being by improving their environment. For cats, especially indoor kitties, it's an important way of staving off boredom, relieving stress, and keeping them out of trouble. There are plenty of simple ideas you can use to stimulate your cat daily.

Cats are naturally curious, so use your imagination and create a fun, active environment for them to explore. Cats also prefer vertical spaces over horizontal ones so give them plenty of places to jump, scratch, hide, and perch. Be sure that these areas are safe, so they don't hurt themselves. Besides, provide a safe, comfy space for your cat to relax, such as an outdoor house or cat bed.

Toys will also help keep cats engaged in play as they explore their surroundings. When choosing toys for kitties, be mindful of size and textures. You can also make DIY toys with everyday household items like cartons. Lastly, join in the fun and play and interact with your cat regularly.

#3 Train Your Cat

Establish routines and rules of conduct with your cat from day one. Consistency helps keep cats calm and ensures they know what's expected of them. So, be sure to establish these routines right away—right down to regular playtimes, grooming sessions, mealtimes, and other necessary schedules.

Your cat should understand what is expected of them behaviorally so that problems don't occur later on down the road. Explain everything calmly with kindness and gentleness (and lots of patience). And if your cat should get into trouble, use positive reinforcement to correct them. Remember, a happy cat is a well-behaved cat!

#4 Read Up On Feline Behavior and Health Issues

To be a great cat parent, you'll need to educate yourself on feline behavior and health issues. That means watching out for signs of illness both, taking care of their day-to-day needs, and monitoring their well-being long term.

Constantly speak with your vet about your cat's health and any questions about your cat's health that you should be aware of. A little knowledge can go a long way in helping you stay on top of health issues that prevent your cat from living a healthy, happy, and comfortable life.

#5 Offer Routine Veterinary Care

Many people get cats without realizing that routine care (visits, vaccinations, nail trims, etc.) are mandatory for their well-being.

Find a competent veterinarian and experienced-pet sitters for your cat, preferably within proximity. What's more, try to schedule frequent vet visits to ensure your cat is healthy and comfortable. Importantly, regular vet visits help identify and treat health issues early enough that may otherwise be life-threatening or prove to be expensive in the future.

#6 Constantly Groom Your Cat

Cats are fastidious groomers, keeping themselves clean with their tongues. However, they sometimes need your help, especially if they're seniors.

As such, you will have to be diligent in cleaning your cat as well. Invest in quality grooming tools that can clean pet hair and make sure you know how to use them. As a general rule, brush or comb your cat at least once a day to prevent mattes, hairballs, and tangles from forming and encourage healthy circulation through massaging their skin. Long-haired cats like Maine Coons or Persians will need extra attention.

#7 Clean Out Their Litter Box

Cats like their litter boxes clean. It's vital for both you and your feline friend that the litter box is cleaned and emptied daily. Dirty litter boxes are health hazards and lead your cat to litter in non-designated areas.

Wrapping Up

Cats are fantastic, but the truth is that cat ownership comes with its fair share of responsibilities. It can be difficult, expensive, and more involved than most expect. Hopefully, these tips will help you become the best cat parent you can be, so you and your feline friend can enjoy each other's company as much as possible. 

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