Fancy a cat? 5 questions you need to ask yourself first

in words by Sigmund Freud, “time spent with cats is never wasted”. It’s a view shared by millions around the world who are drawn to small felines that have chosen to live with humans. thousands of years since.

With anatomical, physiological and behavioral similarities to their big wild cat cousins, it’s their independent yet gentle nature (not to mention cuteness) that makes cats such a popular petespecially in the western world.

But people often underestimate what caring for a cat means. Here are five important things to think about before welcoming a feline into your home.

5. Early socialization

cats need advanced socialization to ensure they can thrive as pets and establish a close relationship with their humans. Habituation to people and other animals – as well as to different sounds, objects and physical contact – must be made by the age of seven or eight weeks. This places a huge responsibility on cat breeders and cat shelters, as kittens should not be taken from their mothers until at least eight weeks (ideally 10 to 12).

During this time, they develop their strength and immunity by feeding on their mother’s milk and learn to play and use their litter box under her guidance.

Check that the kitten is still with its mother before agreeing to adopt or buy and that it has reached the appropriate age before bringing it home.

4. Training and stimulation

Cats are independent animals and like to do what they want when they want. You will therefore need to teach them not to jump on kitchen surfaces and any other places where they might not be welcome. This is best done when young, but adult cats can also be trained to also to some degree. If you invest the time, you will make your own life easier and your cat’s life happier.

Read more: Physics and psychology of cats — an (unlikely) conversation

Generally speaking, most cats are perfectly content with their own company for several hours a day. But just like dogs, some cats suffer from separation anxietywhich can lead to behaviors such as inappropriate urination or an unusual level of vocalization.

If you are going to be away for long periods each day, you will need to make sure they are stimulated. You might consider having two cats from the same litter, rather than just one. Or a cat flap. Or maybe even a dog. Cats and dogs can form close bonds, but you’ll need to be careful how you introduce your cat to a new canine friend – here, too, socialization from an early age is key.

3. Nutritional and medical needs

Cats are supreme and opportunistic hunters, which can lead to pressure on their prey speciesas well as on you as the owner to prevent such murders.

Be prepared to put in the effort to find cat food that meets their approval, as cats can be very picky eaters. You may even want to consider the type of bowl you feed them, as cats sometimes suffer from mustache stress.

You’ll need to have them microchipped at a young age and vaccinated every year – and choosing and optimal timing to neuter will take some time. think.

2. A suitable environment

Make sure you can provide a living environment that suits your cat’s character.

Cats are considered semi-solitary animals. They can benefit from being adopted with a same-sex animal from the same litter. But if you already have an older cat used to a quiet life, you can cause considerable upheaval by adopting a new little kitten or bringing in another adult cat.

Cats enjoy human company but like to choose who they mingle with.insta_photos

Cats are very agile and live in three dimensions, which means they like to sit high, jump and climb. They also inhabit an olfactory world, which may be accompanied by a need to encounter interesting smells. Be prepared to adapt your home accordingly, as these are important behavioral needs and they cannot be persuaded not to do them.

To prevent your couch from becoming the scratching post, you’ll probably want to provide your cat with scratching posts. Make sure they are long enough to allow a full body stretch and placed at central positions in your house.

1. Pedigree or Rescue

Adopting a cat from a shelter can be an incredibly rewarding experience and can also make it easier to find a perfect match.

Choose the cat for its character, not just for its appearance. Individuals differ widely in personality and temperament, including friendliness, boldness, and likelihood of aggression. It is important to find a cat or kitten that fits perfectly with you and your living conditions.

If you’re going for a purebred kitten, find a breeder who invests heavily in kitten socialization. Choose your breed carefully as they have very different characteristics – some are more lazy and gentle, others more vocal and demanding. Be aware, however, that some breeds may be prone to hereditary problems which can cause serious health problems.

Last but not least comes the fun part of deciding what to name your new kitten (an older rescue cat will probably already have a name). Cats learn their names very quickly – just be sure to pick something you’re happy to shout out loud when calling your feline friend for the night.

This article was originally published on The conversation by Ineke van Herwijnen and Claudia Vinke at Utrecht University. Read it original article here.

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