Feeding and training a cat

 Feeding and training a cat

Semi-moist foods are usually less expensive because they contain some plant protein and are usually supplemented with nutrients to make them nutritionally complete, especially for growing kittens.

Dry foods contain about 10 percent water and less fat and protein than semi-moist foods. Cats on dry diets should have plenty of water available. Some cats that follow dry diets can develop bladder problems. Milk, water, or sauce can be mixed with food to improve palatability and ensure that the cat is getting enough water. You may want to feed canned food occasionally to help prevent bladder problems, accustom the cat to different types and textures of food, and ensure that the cat has a balanced diet. Dry foods have the advantage of helping clean teeth and prevent tartar build-up.

The amount of food given depends on the cat's age, weight, breed, condition, and amount of activity. Young cats and kittens will not consume enough food in one meal to last 24 hours. Two meals are recommended and young kittens and females that are pregnant or nursing require more frequent feedings.

Cats should never be on a dog food diet because it contains large amounts of grains and vegetables. Because of this, the cat may not get enough animal protein. Dog food also lacks the necessary amounts of vitamins A and B and some essential fatty acids. Cats will often be seen eating grass. The exact reason for this is unknown, but it may be an attempt to increase forage in the diet or eliminate a hairball.

The amount of exercise a cat needs varies considerably depending on the breed and the place in your home. A cat that lives in a city apartment can get very little exercise, while one that lives in rural areas can run freely. Apartment cats may need to be provided with toys, cardboard tubes, or other play equipment so that they have the means to exercise. Cats outdoors get plenty of exercise, yet they are at increased risk of injury from fighting, death or injury on the roads, and from coming in contact with diseases and parasites. Cats that live indoors should have a clean litter box and plenty of water. Owners should be aware of plants that are poisonous to their pets and other dangers if the cat is left alone for long periods of time. To protect furniture, cats should be taught to use a scratching post.

Cats scratch to sharpen their claws, to remove loose scales and bits of dry skin, and to leave a mark for other cats. Kittens should be trained to use a scratching post as soon as they are weaned. The kitten should be supported by the scratching post and its claws placed on the post. The kitten will soon learn what to do and will usually come to the same position - a cloth-covered pole can offer the cat an alternative to scratching on soft furniture and curtains.

Proper potty training is easier with cats than dogs because cats naturally cover urine and feces. If a cat does a good job raising her litter, she will probably teach her to use a litter box. If a kitten doesn't know what the litter box is for, you can easily train her. Holding it with the front legs, the owner should show it how to scrape the sand material. Anytime the kitten appears to be looking for a place to urinate or defecate, it should be placed in the litter box.

Spraying urine is a natural part of a cat's behavior. The male cat will spray walls and furniture to mark his territory. If one can catch the cat in action, spray it with a squirt gun. Another alternative to try is to hang aluminum foil around the spray areas. Also, you can try feeding the cat in the target areas, because cats will generally not spray near the feeding areas.

Some cats can be trained to sit, beg, jump, hoop, and do other tricks. The training should be of similar periods, firm verbal commands, and instant rewards. Whether a cat learns a trick depends on her intelligence and whether she wants to please her. In either case, you should not force training on a cat that does not seem interested.

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