Proper identification can mean the difference between life and death of your cat. Your cat can be returned if lost or at a shelter. Currently more than 95% of cats in shelters are not reunited with their owners. This record can be improved through identification that may include:
- A special collar 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 and address and telephone number.
- A microchip can be inserted under the skin of your cat by your veterinarian and are routinely done for animals adopted from the Georgina Animal Shelter.
Remember your cat is special to you. If others can identify your special companion, it can help your cat be returned 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 and never human food. Contrary to popular belief, milk is not good for cats.
- Declawing is a painful surgical process and is not necessary and should be used as a last resort.
- Cat's nails can be trimmed regularly; a scratching post and behaviour modification used (praise appropriate behaviour or use a firm voice or a 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 under supervised restraint. 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.
- The average life span of a cat who lives outdoors is only three to five years.
- Cats are at risk of getting hit by cars, being poisoned, getting an infection or being stolen.
Indoor cats are exposed to fewer animals reducing risk for contagious illnesses.
- Outdoor cats face abuse from strangers, fleas and other parasites. They may also do serious damage to struggling wildlife populations, especially birds.
Spaying or Neutering
There are overwhelming numbers of surplus cats. Tragically, many unwanted pets are euthanize each year. If you're thinking about getting your cat spayed or neutered, there are a number of benefits to the operation that you should take into consideration.
- Prevents future births of hundreds of homeless pets, even if you find homes for your cat's kittens from just one litter, those kittens may produce generations of homeless cats.
- Helps prevent uterine or ovarian cancers and allay the frustration (often for both you and your cat) of the week long 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 get checked and have 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 play time