It's International Cat Day this Thursday, August 8, a day that affects lots of us according to the RSPCA: there are estimated to be 3.9 million pet cats in Australia, or 16 cats for every 100 people.
Anyone who lives with a cat will concur that you don't actually own a cat. Rather, the cat has bestowed the honour upon you to meet its needs.
To help you better serve your cat, PETstock Vet Dr Emily Chan compiled a list of care tips to keep kittens and cats happy and healthy.
Fun training for your cat
Cats are intelligent animals and can be easily trained in a similar way to a dog to learn new tricks such as sit, shake paws and more. There are many benefits to training your cat: You are providing them with positive mental stimulation, improving your relationship with them, encouraging positive behaviours, such as coming to you when you call them, and discouraging negative behaviours, such as jumping up on tabletops.
Cats are natural hunters and it is not uncommon to find lizards and birds presented to us on our doorsteps. Keeping your cat indoors is the best way to prevent them from hunting wildlife and fighting with other cats. Providing your cat with a range of stimulating, indoor hunting games will decrease their desire to get out and hunt wildlife. The benefits of keeping indoor only cats include:
- Reducing the stray cat population (together with desexing);
- Reducing the spread of diseases;
- Prevents cat fights and wildlife injuries; and
- Prevents injuries and/or fatalities from dog attacks and passing vehicles.
Additionally, many councils are now implementing cat curfews, requiring cats to be confined to their owner's property during certain times e.g. between sunset and sunrise. Check with your local council for laws regarding cat curfews.
Indoor cats need a lot of environmental enrichment. Cats love chasing toys however owners need to be careful of toys that are attached to string or toys that are small enough to swallow, as they can get obstructions from chewing and eating them.
Cats love to sit up high so they can overlook their 'kingdom'. A large multi-level scratch post, especially located with a window view, is a great way to keep your cat happy and to give them a nice spot to snooze during the day. An automated laser pointer for your curious cat will provide lots of fun.
Cats love running water- a pet friendly water fountain is a great way to encourage cats to drink more water, as well as multiple water stations around the house.
Cats need regular brushing and grooming to prevent hairballs as well as matting to the fur. Long hair cats need daily brushing.
Stress and anxiety can affect your cat in similar ways that it can affect humans. It is important to ensure you give your buddy time to adapt to changes and keep an eye out for any behaviour that may be telling you that your fur-baby is suffering from anxiety. If in doubt visit your local vet.
Feline Fun Facts
- Cats conserve energy by sleeping for an average of 13 - 14 hours a day, which equates to about 70 per cent of their lives sleeping.
- Cats have powerful night vision, allowing them to see at light levels six times lower than what a human needs in order to see. Cats also have excellent hearing and a powerful sense of smell.
- The richest cat in the world according to Guinness World Records is Blackie. When his millionaire owner passed away, he refused to recognise his family in his will and instead gave his 7-million-pound fortune to Blackie.
- An orange tabby cat called Stubbs was the Mayor of an Alaskan town for 20 years.
- You've heard of monkeys and dogs in space, but in 1963 a cat known as 'Astrocat' was the first and only cat to go to space.
- House cats share 95.6 per cent of their genetic makeup with tigers.
- The most tricks performed by a cat in one minute is 24! Didga completed a series of tricks from rolling over, to even jumping a bar whilst on a skateboard! You can watch the video HERE