If you are a two-cat household, will
you be able to make do with one tray? Most cats are prepared to share a tray if it is large enough, but fussy cats may prefer
to have their own toilet facilities.
Part of the job of caring for your cat
is providing it with its own toilet facilities - in the form of a litter tray. This is particularly important for kittens
that are not old enough to go outside, and (of course) for indoor cats that cannot get out to the garden to relivev themselves.
It is also useful to get your cat used to the idea of using a litter tray from time to time, in case it has to be kept indoors
for short periods due to illness, for example.
A litter tray is essential to teach a kitten to be clean. Toilet
training should begin when kittens eat solids, from three or four weeks. Once a cat is house-trained, the tray may no longer
be necessary if the cat is free to go outside, though you may have to get the tray out again if anything prevents your cat
from going out say if it's ill, or if its elderly and has become lazy. But if your cat is not allowed out, you will need to
have a litter tray permanently. The best type of litter tray is a purpose-made tray in strong plastic, which is more hygienic
than wood or metal. A high-sided tray stops litter spilling. If you have more than one cat, ensure that the tray is big enough
for all of them. Wash the tray regularly, using disinfectant before rinsing thoroughly.
Cats are private creatures, so if they
have to use an indoor litter tray they may prefer the type with a domed cover. You may find it more sightly, too.
POSITIONING THE TRAY
Cats are fastidious and do not like to eat near their 'toilet',so
keep the tray away from their feeding and sleeping areas. Place it on a washable mat or on newspaper to prevent litter spilling
on the floor-and to catch any near-misses when you are training kittens. Some litter trays have domed lid with side entrance,
which gives the cat privacy something that many cats appreciate, especially nervous ones.
Kittens will soon get used to the idea of using a litter tray,
particularly if you show them the tray soon after they have had a meal. Then, if you gradually move the tray closer to there
exit to the garden they will find their way outside when they are old enough, and you can do away with the litter tray altogether.
DID YOU KNOW?
?Cats are clean animals by nature and
usually return to the same spot to urinate. They are not likely to urinate or defecate near the area where they feed play
?Most common disinfectants are toxic to cats,
so use one of the quaternary ammonium disinfectants consult your chemist and rinse the area thoroughly after use
?A pregnant woman should not have any contact
with a cat's litter tray, in case of any chance of infection from toxoplasmosis, which carries a small risk of miscarriage
or deformity in an unborn child.
Many cats are tempted by tasty, home-cooked titbits; however, you
should always ensure that such treats are part of the overall diet, and not extras which would just make your pet put on weight.
Devoted cat owners who spend hours every
week slaving over a hot stove and preparing their pampered cat's meals are convinced that they're providing their pet with
the best possible diet. But whether or not this is true depends on what variety they're giving them a constant diet of even
the freshest and most expensive fish, for example, would not constitute a balanced diet.
A healthy adult cat's diet should contain a balance of nutrients,
including protein, fat carboydrates, vitamins and minerals. It may surprise you to know that this is more difficult to achieve,
in the right proportions, with home cooked foods. With prepared foods, the proportions have been calculated in theory, anyway
for you. However, when you cook and store fresh food for your cat it is easy to miss out on important vitamins and minerals.
Thus it is advisable to give a mixture of prepared and fresh foods rather than limit meals exclusively to either.
The golden rule with home cooked food is always to give variety.
A constant diet of any one food even if its the best quality and the most expensive lemon sole or fillet steak would not constitute
a balanced diet and can cause vitamin deficiencies. So ring the changes each day between meat, fish, liver and poultry.
The minimum amount of protein that a cat needs daily is reckoned
to be about 5g for each kg of body weight (1/8oz for each lb). In addition to the protein element in your cat's food, it is
also a good idea to add a little fat in the form of chicken fat, butter or sunflower oil, and some bulk in the form of bread
(crumbled toast is popular) or cooked potato. Eggs and cheese are other valuable protein sources
RAW OR COOKED?
Some people maintain that cats that are fed raw meat develop better
and are stronger and healthier, but this is not generally advisable because it is the main route by which diseases, such as
toxoplasmosis. The bacteria that cause such disorders are destroyed by cooking. The answer is to cook lightly boiling or steaming
say for 15 minutes which is unlikely to have any harmful effect either on proteins or on most of the vitamins.
DID YOU KNOW?
?R esearch shows that 50% of owners give
their cats two meals a day; 20% give only one meal; and another 20% give three meals. The remaining 10% either vary the number
of meals from day to day, or regularly give four or more meals a day.
?Vitamin supplements are most likely to be necessary
for your cat if it is being fed home-cooked foods
?Cats should be offered a bowl of fresh water, which
they need to flush their kidneys. Wash the bowl thoroughly each time.
?Chicken or rabbit bones can be dangerous to a cat,
because they can splinter and cause internal injuries.
Just like humans, cats need a well-balanced diet, with plenty of
protein. The commercially-prepared foods available will satisfy your cat and also save you any concern for his diet.
Most people feed their cats on prepared
catfoods, which provide a simple solution with no cooking or preparation involved-to the problem of keeping their cats well
fed and happy. They are convenient to use, manufacturers claim that they are formulated to provide a balanced diet, they are
relatively inexpensive catfood on the market are canned 'wet', 'semi-moist', and dry foods.
A healthy adult cat's diet should contain a balance of nutrients,
including protein, fat carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Will prepared foods provide the right combinations?
Canned foods contain meat and /or fish, jellying agents, vitamins,
colouring and cereals. With a high moisture content and fair amount of fat, they can form a large part of the diet. You get
what you pay for and the more you pay the more protein it will contain.
'Semi-moist' foods in sealed plastic pouches contain meat, soya
beans, fats, vitamins, preservatives, colouring, thickening agents and sugar. They contain only 20-30% moisture and are often
low in fats. Dry foods are mini-biscuits containing cereals, fish, meat, yeast, vitamins, fats and proteins. They contain
only 10 per cent water, and have been suspected of causing urinary tract problems in the past. Formulations have been altered,
however and they are now widely used.
A recent addition is the range of veterinary-formulated complete
'prescription' diet, in different formulae for young, mature, overweight and elderly cat, and for sufferers of specific disorders
such as kidney disease. Always provide water alongside the pellets.
No single food can be regarded as completely balanced diet-either
for people or for cats. Commercial pet foods are big business and no reputable manufacturer would dare risk his share of the
market by selling substandard products, so they probably won't do your cat any harm. Whatever type of prepared food you choose,
it should be supplemented once ot twice a week by fresh foods such as meat, poultry, or fish with a few vegetables and little
crumbled toast or pasta. Variety is the spice of cat's life too