Living With a Cat Means Responsibility
Dogs have owners, cats have staff – a common saying, that has some truth to it
Even if your cat might view you as their butler, you have the responsibility to ensure that your cat not only has a comfortable but also a safe life.
Identification and registration
Cats, in particular, should be microchipped and registered in a pet database. In the event your cat goes missing and has been found elsewhere, it can be reunited with you. Make sure that you always keep your personal data in the database up to date.
Having your cat neutered is a valuable procedure in many ways. On the one hand, it prevents unwanted offspring. This is especially important when domestic cats are allowed to go outdoors, where they could mate with stray cats. Having your cat neutered therefore also means that you are not contributing to the stray cat population, which is present in many regions. Neutering also offers many other benefits for your cat's health and behaviour.
Indoor or outdoor keeping
Indoor cats’ life a much safe life, provided the apartment is designed to be cat-safe. Cats with outdoor access are in danger of getting in an accident or getting lost. But on the other hand, they experience a much richer environment than indoor cats.
An annual visit to the veterinarian is essential. The veterinarian will examine and, if necessary, treat your cat for any problems associated with its current age, health, and breed. Your vet will also ensure that all necessary vaccinations are up to date. The sooner a health problem is recognised, the faster and more effective the therapy can be.
Even if your cat grooms and cleans itself, it still needs your help every now and then. Remember to groom the fur regularly. Brush the animal regularly, especially if it is long-haired. This supports the change of coat, and also allows you to check for any parasites (fleas/ticks). Also keep in mind that cat care options include dental and nail care. Regular dental care is necessary to prevent tartar formation and tooth decay. Dental care can be done in many ways: carefully brushing the cats’ teeth with special tooth brushes or by feeding special food. As for claw care, trim the claws as needed, this mainly needs to be done for elderly cats.
To see if your cat is still at a healthy weight, you need to check its weight at regular intervals. If you have a good eye, use the Body Condition Score to look at your cats’ shape. If you want to be on the safe side, use the scales (you need to know the optimal weight of your cat to do this).
Protection against parasites like fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites is essential. They can be harmful to your cat's health. Talk to your vet and get advice on which effective parasite control measures are recommended.
Veterinary costs can be very high, especially if your cat get sick or get injured. There are options to acquire health insurance for your cat, which can aid you when your cat needs treatment. In case insurance is not available or you do not wish to take this route, it is advisable to start a vet costs savings account, where you can save money in order to be financially prepared for eventualities.
Emergency preparedness is a responsible recommendation, that a cat owner should take into account. This can include steps that need to be taken in case you cannot take care of your cat anymore (e.g. hospital stay), or a natural disaster strikes (see how to prepare for a disaster). Prepare an emergency plan for every eventuality and determine how the safety and further life of your cat can be guaranteed. Always keep important telephone numbers (vet, veterinary clinic, animal shelter).