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Cats may be a lower maintenance pet than a dog, in terms of walking and training, but it is still essential that they have their individual needs met in order to live a happy, healthy life. With the average cat living for 14 years, and many for much longer than that, you will want to provide them with the very best in terms of care.
Environment Cats are intelligent and so need a mix of both a contented and a stimulating home life. Ensure that they have a comfortable bed, although they will probably make any place they can find a bed, a scratching post and toys and if they are to be kept indoors for any length of time, then they will need a litter tray. Each cat has its own personality and while some will be very laid back and relaxed, others will need a great deal more interaction with you at playtime. If you can provide a home for more than one cat, then so much the better, as they will then have a ready-made playmate.
Vaccinations & Healthcare Cats are going to need regular veterinary care throughout their lives and unfortunately because they are animals who spend much of their time outside the house, then they are often more likely to get into accidents than other animals. Veterinary care can quickly become expensive, so it wise to take out pet insurance when the cat first comes into your life. Apart from the unexpected treatment for illness or injury, your cat will also need regular healthcare. At a minimum, cats need yearly vaccinations, to be spayed or neutered, to be protected against fleas and worms and to have nails and teeth checked. It is also a good idea to have them micro-chipped in case they wander off and get lost or are involved in an accident.
Diet Each cat is an individual and depending on a number of factors including age, size, health issues and energy output, they will all have their own specific dietary requirements. The optimal meal for your cat will be those with tailor-made nutrition in every cat food choice. This will ensure that all their nutritional needs are met and then you can, if you wish, add in a few healthy treats here and there. Cats should only be given fresh water to drink as, contrary to popular belief, it is not a good idea to give your cat milk. Cats do not have very much of the enzyme lactase, which is used by the body to break down milk, and thus drinking it can actually lead to sickness and upset stomachs.
Love & Attention It is important to meet all of the physical care needs of a cat, but more than that it is essential to provide a loving home and to lavish them with plenty of attention. Cats thrive on a mixture of independence and loving kindness, and as much as they value their time of freedom when they are away from home, they equally value a warm lap to return to and plenty of cuddles. If you can provide these four cornerstones of care for your feline then you can look forward to sharing a long and happy life with your cat.