Illustrated by Abigail Phoenix

Caring for a Cat 101

Since I was 8 months old we had cats in our home, and although my last cat passed away in…

Since I was 8 months old we had cats in our home, and although my last cat passed away in 2018 at the ripe age of 18 and a half, I still love cats and help care for my sisters.

Many people think cats are easy and for the most part, they are, but there’s a lot more that goes into their care than you’d think. If you’re thinking of getting a cat in the near future, here’s a basic list of the main things you need to know about taking care of the little ball of fluff.

My little Onion boy in 2015

Vets & Insurance 

Whether your cat is indoors or outdoors, you should always have insurance. This means that if anything happens to them or they get ill, you won’t be saddled with lots of expensive vet bills. Make sure to choose the right insurance for you and your cat, and read the fine print. Some insurance companies have large excesses and caps on how much you can claim per year. 

In case of emergencies, you should always know where your nearest emergency vet is and have a small amount of savings to help pay for any unpredicted costs. Don’t forget to register your cat with a local vet for routine checkups and treatments, most cat insurance companies will require you to take your cat to a check-up every year!

Ian and June resting knowing they have great insurance policies

Food

Most cats will be happy on a diet of wet food pouches, biscuits, and water, but you need to be prepared to alter their diet if needed. For example, my sister’s cat, June, recently became unwell with bladder crystals. She now has to have a specific type of food which is rather expensive. These kinds of things cannot be predicted when you get a cat, and you should be prepared to have to pay more for your cat’s health. 

Alongside this, cats can be really picky! My old boy Onion used to rotate through different brands of food that he liked, he would go off brands every few months, so we’d have to shift him to another one. Don’t try and force your cat to eat food they don’t like, they don’t understand what you’re doing and may just refuse to eat it.

June – who has the poorly bladder

Entertainment

Cats can get bored easily, and if you have indoor cats, they can get rather sedentary. You need to make sure that they have access to toys when they want them, and that you play with them often. You can buy toys that are motorised or run on batteries to help keep your cats happy while you’re busy.

If you don’t pay attention to how much physical activity your cat is getting, they could end up gaining a few extra pounds and becoming unhappy. Cats will sleep for a large amount of the day, but when they’re not asleep – they will want someone to pay attention to them and play with them, so make sure you’re happy to spend a few hours of quality time with your cat each day.

Ian with his favourite toy – the crinkle bee
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