Feeding And Training A Cat

Semi-moist foods are usually less expensive because they contain some vegetable protein and are usually supplemented with nutrients to make them nutritionally complete, especially for growing kittens.

Dry foods contain about 10 percent water and less fat and protein than semi-moist foods. Cats on dry diets should have plenty of water available. Some cats on dry diets may develop bladder problems. Milk, water, or gravy can be mixed with the food to improve palatability and to ensure that the cat gets adequate water intake. One may wish to feed canned foods occasionally to help prevent bladder problems, get the cat used to different types and textures of foods, and ensure that the cat gets a balanced diet. Dry foods do have the advantage of helping to clean the teeth and prevent the buildup of tartar.

The amount of food one gives depends on the cat’s age, weight, breed, condition, and amount of activity it gets. Cats and young kittens will not consume enough food in one meal to last 24 hours. Two meals are recommended and young kittens and females that are pregnant or nursing require more frequent feedings.

Cats should never be given a diet of dog food because it contains large amounts of cereals and vegetables. Because of this, the cat may not get enough animal protein. Dog food also lacks necessary amounts of vitamins A and B and some essential fatty acids. Many times cats will be seen eating grass. The exact reason for this is not known, but it may be an attempt to increase roughage in the diet or to eliminate a hairball.

The amount of exercise a cat need varies considerably depending on the breed and where its home is. A cat living in a city apartment may get very little exercise, whereas one living in rural areas may be allowed to run free. Apartment cats may need to be furnished with toys, cardboard tubes, or other play equipment to provide them with means to exercise Owners of valuable purebred or snowcats may not want their animals to run free where they risk injury, loss, or unwanted litter. Outdoor cats get plenty of exercise however, they run a greater risk of injury from fights, death or injury of the roadways, and contracting diseases and parasites. Cats living indoors should have a clean litter box and plenty of water. Owners should be aware of plants that are poisonous to their pets and other dangers if the cat is left alone for long periods. To protect the furniture, cats should be trained to use a scratching post.

Cats scratch to sharpen their claws, remove loose scales and fragments of dry skin, and leave a mark for other cats. Kittens should be trained to use a scratching post as soon as they are weaned. The kitten should be held by the scratching post and its claws placed on the post. The kitten will soon learn what to do and will usually come to the same post a cloth-covered post may offer the cat an alternative to clawing on soft furniture and draperies.

Correct toilet training is easier with cats than with dogs because cats naturally cover their urine and feces. If a mother cat does a good job of raising her litter, she will probably train them to use a litter box. If a kitten does not know what the litter box is for, can train it easily. Holding its front paws, the owner should show it how to scratch the litter material. Every time the kitten appears to be looking for a place to urinate or defecate, it should be placed in the litter box.

Urine spraying is a natural part of a cat’s behavior. The male cat will spray walls and furniture to mark its territory. If one can catch the cat in act spray it with a water pistol. Another alternative to try is to hang aluminum foil around the spraying areas. Also, one can try feeding the cat in the target areas, because cats will usually not spray near feeding areas.

Some cats can be trained to sit, beg, jump, through hoops, and do other tricks. Training should be similar periods, firm verbal commands, and instant rewards. Whether a cat learns any tricks depends on its intelligence and whether it wants to oblige. In any case, training should not be forced on a cat that does not appear interested.

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