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6 Cat Care Tips for Beginners

Bringing a new cat home is a very exciting time! Cats are great companions, but if this is your first time owning a cat, you may wonder how you can best take care of your kitty. Here are some ways you can care for a new kitten or cat with 6 simple cat care tips for beginners.

Cat Care Step 1: Preparing for your new friend

Cat Veterinarians

To begin, you will need to get all of your supplies for your pet. Basics include:

  • Litter box, litter, and scoop
  • Cat food and treats
  • Water and food bowls
  • Cat Bed
  • Grooming supplies
  • Toothbrush and cat formulated toothpaste
  • Collar with identification tags
  • Toys and various scratch pads

This is just a basic list, there are loads of other cat products to choose from, so don’t limit yourself to just our list.

Cat Care Step 2: Cat Wellness Examination

The next step is to set your kitten up with their first wellness appointment. This first appointment with your veterinarian will determine the starting point of health for your cat. Once the baseline has been set, the next step is to start on vaccination and parasite prevention. For kittens, you may need to come back in a few weeks for booster shots.

Your veterinarian will give you tips on how to keep your new feline friend healthy and happy at home. They will also discuss with you whether your pet has been or will be spayed or neutered and if they’ve received their microchip. The best step you can take to reduce the chances of them getting lost is to microchip them and keep your contact information up-to-date on the registry.

Cat Care Step 3: Feeding

As diet is pertinent to a cat's health, maintaining your veterinarian-recommended diet and portion size for your feline is important. You should choose a schedule for feeding your cat each day right away and stick to this routine as much as possible. Encourage your kitty to stay hydrated by changing the water bowls daily or using a water fountain type of bowl since cats adore running water.

Cat Care Step 4: The Litterbox

Cats can be picky about their litter boxes, so you will want to be prepared for whatever challenges come your way by learning the most common litter box issues and how to address them. It is also a good idea to get familiar with how to deal with cat pee accidents.

Cat Care Step 5: Exercise

Because cats spend most of their lives indoors, it is important to offer both physical and psychological toys and activities so that the kitty doesn’t become bored. These include:

  • Set out paper bags, tissue paper and cardboard boxes in your living room, family room, or wherever the cat enjoys playing, to spark their interest.
  • A cat tree or things to climb on
  • Window perch
  • Toys( interactive games with you and brain games)
  • Time spent brushing your cat
  • Creating a safe space for them outside is also a good idea to expand their world
Schedule a Cat Veterinary Appointment

As with any animal, obesity in cats is very common, so don’t assume your cat is getting enough exercise on its own and learn how to keep your cat in good shape.

Cat Care Step 6: Cat Behavior Problems

Many cats develop behavioral issues when the home has a new cat or animal. If your cat responds to every loud noise or when you have guests, you may need help to socialize your cat. Or you may have the opposite problem and have a cat that is a bully. Your kitty may become stressed and need your help in getting calm.

Contact Us For More Cat Care and Cat Wellness Tips

If you recently added a cat to your home and need some more advice on how to get it used to its new home. Please schedule an appointment for their first wellness exam, or call for any questions you might have about excellent cat care.

Keeping Your Feline Friend in Good Shape

Just like us humans, our feline companions need plenty of exercise to stay healthy and keep in good shape. Although this isn't a problem with some cats as they are quite active, other cats may not be so much. If the latter is the case with your feline friend, there are a number of ways to get your kitty motivated to play and run around.

1. Be Sure to Consult Your Vet First

Before introducing a new exercise program for your cat, be sure to talk with your veterinarian first, especially if your cat has health issues. Check with your vet on which activities are safe for your cat.

2. Get Your Cat Moving

If your cat is bored, one great way to keep them interested and active is simply to schedule time in your day to interact with them. Whether you choose toys, balls, or a feather stick, your cat may become perky and will start swatting and pouncing in no time! Here are some other great ways to help get your feline friend moving:

  • Set out paper bags, tissue paper and cardboard boxes in your living room, family room, or wherever the cat enjoys playing, to spark their interest.
  • Play a game of chase with your feline, using a flashlight pointer. Don't shine the pointer in their eyes!
  • Encourage instinctive feline behaviors like climbing and scratching by purchasing a cat tree, condo or scratching post.
  • Train your cat to learn a few tricks (and reward him or her with a low-calorie treat to encourage further learning!)
  • Buy your kitty a food puzzle. These are designed with treats inside, which your cat must work for to reach.
  • Consider purchasing another cat to keep your cat company and encourage your cat to interact and play more.

3. Provide Healthy and Tasty Meals

Nutrition is a major player in the overall health and happiness of cats. Cats are natural carnivores and need the proper amount of protein in their diets. Providing your cat a diet with high-quality, animal-sourced protein cat food, can help them maintain healthy vitality.

A high-quality adult cat food as they have been specially formulated to contain everything a cat needs. Be sure to give your cat the correct amount, especially when feeding canned diets since it is easy to overfeed. It is easier to prevent a cat from becoming overweight than to try to get them to lose the excess weight. Many owners prefer to feed small meals of moist food once or twice a day and provide dry food in between canned portions. This is fine as long as you ensure that your cat is receiving the proper number of calories and getting enough physical activity.

How to Prevent Parasites From Hosting On Your Pet

With warmer weather now here, one cause for concern are parasites hosting on your cat or dog. Fleas and ticks are external parasites which host in your pet's fur and burrow themselves further in, causing irritation, discomfort and even serious disease if they are not removed as soon as possible. The good news is that prevention of parasites is relatively easy, so talk with your vet about what preventative products can be used or what actions can be taken to keep your pet safe from these small, harmful creatures.

Here are some helpful tips for parasite prevention.

For Fleas

Fleas can inflict allergic reactions, itching and inflammation on your pet's skin, and therby cause your pet to excessively scratch or bite their skin. Fleas can be prevented by administering a medication in tablet or liquid form into your pet's mouth, or between the shoulder blades or at the base of the neck. We will discuss with you the best options, however keep in mind that some flea control products work against adult fleas, while some products are designed to target fleas when they are yet larvae. Talk with your vet about which products will work best for your pet.

Unfortunately, once fleas have begun hosting on the animal, the infestation will be difficult to rid of. Fleas will need to be completely removed from the environment wherever the pet lives. Your vet may recommend that you vacuum all rugs, remove all pet bedding and launder other items, in addition to frequently treating your pet.

For Ticks

Ticks can transmit illnesses such as Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. If you suspect your pet has ticks, treat him or her as soon as possible, to prevent disease.

The good news is that if your dog or cat has ticks, you will find that treatment is safe, effective and relatively easy. Talk with your vet about administering tick control products, which like preventative flea medications, can be given to your pet as a fluid to the back of the neck or between the shoulder blades.

In addition, to prevent ticks, try to keep your pet out of heavily wooded areas or away from tall grass. If your pet does enter one of these areas, check them at least once a day. Should you find a tick hosting on your pet dog or cat, use a gentle, firm grip to remove the tick using a tweezers. Avoid using a lighter fluid or matches, as this may irritate your pet's skin and cause injury.

Finally, do not use flea or tick medications intended for dogs on cats, as some medications normally adminstered to dogs can be toxic for their feline counterparts. Follow all label instructions, and if you have questions, please consult your veterinarian first.

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All hours subject to change

Appointment Hours

Monday - 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Tuesday - 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Wednesday - 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Thursday - 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Friday - 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Saturday 8:00 am - 11:30 am

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CountrySide Veterinary Services

CountrySide Veterinary Services
W3022 Edgewood Trail
Appleton, Wisconsin 54913
CountrySide Veterinary Health
2101 E Evergreen Drive
Appleton, WI 54913