Proper identification is critical in reuniting pets with their owners. Currently, on average, 75 per cent of cats in shelters are not reunited with their owners. This percentage can be improved through proper pet identification, which may include:
- A universal microchip, inserted under the skin of your cat by your veterinarian that can be scanned and read by shelters or other veterinarians, should your cat be found.
- A collar to hold identification tags that fits snugly (two finger spaces sideways), but stretches, allowing your cat to escape if it gets caught. A reflective strip on the collar is another good idea.
- An identification tag, label or licence with the cat's name, your name, address and telephone number.
Remember, your cat is special to you. If others can easily identify your special companion, your cat can be returned safely and quickly to you if it loses its way.
Keep your cat healthy by visiting the veterinarian at least once a year for an examination and vaccinations to prevent disease.
- A daily nose-to-tail check of your cat may reveal unusual signs you wouldn't have noticed otherwise.
- Sudden changes in eating habits or litter box use, other behaviour changes, lumps, rashes, hair loss and coughs/sneezes could be signs of illness that may require a visit to the veterinarian.
- Your cat's veterinarian (carefully chosen) will provide advice on common diseases and good nutrition. Healthy cats are fed good quality cat food. Contrary to popular belief, milk is not good for cats or kittens.
- Declawing is a painful surgical process, it is not necessary so long as the proper enrichment and resources are provided in the home and should only be used as a last resort.
- Cat's nails can be trimmed regularly by you or your veterinarian. A scratching post can be used with behavior modifications such as praise when using the post or use a firm voice or small squirt of water when you see inappropriate scratching.
There are many benefits to having your special cat companion as an indoor pet only. A compromise may be to allow the cat out with supervision and restraint such as a leash and harness. Life inside can be interesting, healthy and fulfilling. A happy cat has the warmth, shelter, affection, nutritious food and the interesting diversions it needs, right in the home. Setting aside time for your pet each day will benefit both you and your cat. Indoor cats are exposed to far fewer hazards and animals reducing risk for injury or contagious illnesses.
- The average life span of a cat who lives outdoors is only three to five years.
- Cats are at risk of being hit by cars, ingesting poisons and toxic materials, getting infections, acquiring fleas and other parasites, injuries or illnesses from other animals, and being stolen or re-homed.
- Outdoor cats may also face potential abuse from strangers when exploring in unfamiliar places.
- Cats may also do serious damage to struggling wildlife populations, especially birds.
Spaying or Neutering
If you're debating about getting your cat spayed or neutered, we highly recommend that you follow through with this procedure as soon as possible. There are a number of benefits to spaying or neutering your cat that you should take into consideration.
- Prevents future births resulting in homeless pets. Even if you find homes for your cat's kittens from just one litter, those kittens may produce generations of homeless cats, should they remain intact.
- Helps prevent uterine or ovarian cancers and avoids the frustration (often for both you and your cat) of the weeklong periods of being in heat that are repeated throughout the year.
- Prevents aggression in males, roaming, spraying in the house and strong smelling urine.
- Will not make your cat fat. Cats become overweight because of too little exercise or overfeeding. Caloric needs often change as cats mature and this fact must be considered.
Responsible Care Checklist
- Proper identification
- Spayed or neutered
- Healthy, safe and stimulating environment
- Regular veterinary visits each year to be examined and receive vaccinations
- Monitored daily for unusual signs
- Provided with adequate food and water
- Receives daily affection
- Groomed and has its claws trimmed regularly
- Kept inside or supervised and protected when outside
- Daily playtime with interactive toys