How to Raise a Friendly Cat?

So, you spotted the cutest tabby in your city’s latest pet adoption fair, and you are SO tempted to bring the little one home, but you were hindered by your fear of turning out to be an irresponsible pet owner, so you’re here to check whether or not it’s manageable to raise a cat!

Well, here is a simple answer: it is not that difficult to raise a cat – it only gets difficult when you expect something more. If you want your new cat to be as loving, attentive, and disciplined as your childhood dog, you really have to work hard for it, since cats are not naturally submissive as they are free spirits. Read: 15 friendliest cat breeds.

But if you are just worried about the technicalities, there is very little reason to worry, and we are here to help you all the way. Read on for general help on raising cats. If you have a cat and a dog, be sure to read our friends acme canine's post on steps to stop your pets.

Where to Get a Cat?

All right, first things first. If a cat had wandered into your backyard and none of your neighbors claim to own it, lucky you – as cat lovers would tell you, YOU have been chosen by a pet, instead of the other way around.

For those who are not so lucky and are simply setting out to get a cat, know that there is a general overpopulation problem with cats. The North Shore Animal League, together with almost every cat expert, strongly advocates adopting a cat, instead of shopping for one. Visit a local shelter of abandoned cats or a pet adoption fair – the cats from these places are more desperate for care and love!

How to Potty Train a Kitten?

Congratulations, you have brought home your new pet kitty! First order of business – teaching it to pee and poop in the litter box you bought, instead of on the freshly washed carpet and throw pillows. You will notice a new kitten will sleep a lot! That is normal so don't be alarmed, our guide on how much do cats sleep will educate you on what to expect sleep wise for your new best friend.

Dr. Mark Stickney, Clinical Associate Professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explains that as soon as you bring your new pet home, the training must begin.

You’ll soon learn that cats generally have a good sense of instinct, and would genuinely prefer relieving itself in the litter sand instead of on your bed. You just have to help it a bit by positioning the litter box somewhere accessible and visible to your cat.

Also remember to clean it very frequently, as your cat would not want to use it when it is dirty and full of clumped sand already.

How to Discipline a Growing Cat?

Everything is cuteness, fun, and games until your tomcat terrorizes a child in your neighborhood by chasing/scratching/biting it AND when a kitten begins nursing - Ow the horror! This is not an unlikely scenario with how impulsive cats can get, especially around children who might feel entitled to pet your feline inappropriately or try to lift it in a hurtful way. Even if it could be the child's fault, you could face serious complaints from the doting parents for keeping an outdoor cat!

So, much as we like to just let our cats be the free-willed animals they are, we need to at least try to discipline them if they are to be around other people and kids. Read: 10 tips how to stop a cat from biting.

Two-time New York Times best-selling author on cat behavior Jackson Galaxy actually have helpful videos on how to help curb your cat’s aggression (cause of most behavioral problems.) Check them out here.

What to Feed my Cat?

Diet is also another puzzle you have to figure out with your new cat, especially if it's a stray or a rescue since it means it has somehow grown accustomed to a certain diet before coming into your house and well, your life.

Some cats are picky eaters and some are not, so feel free to do trial-and-error. Check our articles on the foods your cat can and can’t eat, and make your new cat try different cat food, treats, and human food (as long as it is safe for them) to find out the kinds of food your cat needs in its system.

Guard against obesity, though – most people tend to over-feed their pets in fear of underfeeding them, but excessive weight is just as harmful to cats as malnutrition. Animal fitness expert Dr. Ernie Ward talks about this.

Should I Spay/Neuter my Cat?

Spaying your female cats and neutering your tomcats will prevent them from having offspring. You might be excited at the idea of how cute newborn kittens look, but think hard and long if you will be able to give them a good life. If they will end up in the streets, roaming hungrily in the cold because you cannot take care of so many cats, then just prevent it.

There is a global cat overpopulation problem, and you can always just adopt new ones if you are confident of your capability to raise more than one feline.

Keep in mind that only a doctor of veterinary medicine should perform neutering/spaying on your cat. Otherwise, your cat will be put in grave danger. Listen very well to the take-home instructions of the doctor to help your cat recover from the procedure!

Should I Take in a Stray Cat?

While we would like to say “YES!” without batting an eyelash, there are definitely risks to taking in stray cats, especially GROWN stray cats. They may have diseases and parasites that could harm your indoor cats, and they might be very difficult to train especially if they have been roaming alone for too long.

However, if you are willing to shoulder the costs of a full veterinary checkup to assess the situation of the stray, then by-all-means do it! Surely, your well-raised cats would love to welcome another addition to the family. The more, the merrier!

16 Years Outdoor Cats
18 Years Indoor Cats

If you need help raising a friendly dog, check out Adrienne Farricelli's brain training games for dogs.

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