Your feline family member is an intelligent and feeling being. Cats, like humans, must have their basic needs met.
A proper and fresh, high-quality diet is the foundation for health. For many, how their cats are fed is based more on convenience (whether done intentionally or not) than what's best for their feline. Cats require high protein (meat), low carbohydrate diets. Many commercial cat food products contain a high grain to low meat (oftentimes byproducts) ratio...the exact opposite of what a cat's body requires. Dry kibble is easier for us humans, but its cumulative effect can be hard on a cat's kidneys. A grain-free wet food diet is best and can be supplemented by a bit of kibble as a treat or if you are unable to be home at feeding time. Remember, it is easier to clean teeth than it is to fix kidneys (and by the time you realize your cat's kidneys are failing, they have lost approximately 75% of their function). Additionally, cats on wet food diets tend not to be obese as often are their dry-food (calorie dense) fed friends. So, buy the best, grain-free canned nutrition you can afford and serve it in stainless steel or ceramic bowls that are washed daily. Ensure your cat has access to clean water. Many cats enjoy the Drinkwell Fountain or similarly styled water dispenser which circulates the water and must be thoroughly cleaned at least weekly. (What follows is a very information-intensive link on cat nutrition: www.maxshouse.com.)
An appropriately sized litter box such as a mortar box (sold at Home Depot) is an excellent choice (please don't make your cat squeeze into a little box...would you like to use an airplane-size restroom every day of your life?). The ideal cat-to-litter-box ratio is 1:1+1, that is one cat gets two boxes; two cats should have access to three boxes, etc. Since that is not always possible, it is recommended that no more than two cats share one box and that box MUST be scooped at LEAST twice daily and completely washed and filled with new litter on a regular basis. There are a great number of corn-based litters available on the market. Not only are these eco-friendly, they clump well, some are nearly dust free, and many can be flushed or composted (we recommend Natures Miracle Cat Litter). Clay-based litter is detrimental to the environment and contains silica, a carcinogen.
Please do NOT place your cat's food near the litter box (you wouldn't want your dining table along side an open toilet area and neither do they).
Cats need to stretch their muscles and manicure (not sharpen) their nails. Ensure your cat has access to tall vertical and horizontal scratching posts...show your cat where they are and gently rub his/her paws on them. If you experience inappropriate scratching, try applying double-faced tape to the area and move the cat scratcher near.
Cats need vertical space...to survey their surroundings, to nap in safety, or to escape from and remain out of reach of an overactive child or pup.
Mental and physical stimulation are important. Provide a variety of toys (interactive and solo toys). Some favorites include fuzzy mice, large "sparkly balls" (available in the sewing section of WalMart) and plastic springs. Ensure the toys you provide are safe...watch how your cat plays with them...if it looks like he/she will eat them instead of hunt/interact, remove the toy immediately. Install window seats so your cat has a front row seat to nature's screening room. Hang a bird or squirrel feeder outside the window for added show variety.
Please, DO NOT HESITATE to seek veterinary treatment for any problem or concern you encounter, and of course, feel free to contact us if you have any cat care questions. If we don't have the answer, we'll try to help you find it.