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A Guide to Cats for Beginners

Updated on December 30, 2014
Tabby Cat
Tabby Cat | Source

Basic Needs

When first getting a cat most people assume all they do is lounge around the house and catch bugs and mice all day but this is not true. Depending on how u take care of them they can be just as fulfilling as a dog. They have few basic needs such as:

  • hunting
  • playing
  • scratching
  • stimulation
  • independence
  • health
  • attention
  • Interaction

Disclaimer: Some of these needs can and will work against you but it is your responsibility to take care of them and figure out how to make them work to your and the cats advantage. All behavior problems can be fixed with little effort. If you get a cat and they are a terror to you and your house then it is not the cat who is doing anything wrong. It's you.

Dry Cat Food
Dry Cat Food | Source

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Important Information About Your Cat's Diet

One of the main goals of owning a cat is keeping him or her safe and healthy so it is important to note that all cats need to eat a wet diet. They are not like dogs and in the wild they don't drink a lot of water. Their main source of water comes from the meat that they would eat in the wild such as in birds and mice. If they are on a dry diet it can cause their urine to become undiluted and in turn can lead to a urinary block which can be fatal. You can help prevent this, simply, by feeding them wet or a mixture of both wet and dry foods. Feeding your cat a wet diet will greatly reduce their health risks but it doesn't prevent them in all cases.

Kitten | Source
Tabby Cat
Tabby Cat | Source

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Behavior Problems and What You Can Do About Them

Scratching- if you get a cat and they scratch up all of your furnishings then there is a simple solution. You should buy them scratching posts, pads and cat condos. This will clear up the problem right away. Cats have a natural instinct to scratch and that is what they are going to do. You can get mad, yell, or even punish them but this will not help. Your cat has no choice but to scratch so it is your responsibility to give them something to scratch on or they will use your home for this need instead. On the plus side, this helps to keep their nails trimmed, helps them exercise, and gives them more to do so they are not sitting around bored all day.

Hunting- Cats have an instinct to hunt. They will catch bugs and mice around your house and even eat them. This is perfectly normal and harmless. Along with that you should play with your cat on a daily basis. The best toys to fulfill this need are laser pointers, toys on a stick and crinkle tunnels. If your cat is causing problems such as keeping you up at night, causing too much chaos, or even so much as attacking you and members of your household it is likely due to their very high energy levels. Playing with them will ensure you a happy, relaxed, and calm cat.

Escaping- If you have a cat that keeps trying to run outside and it is not spayed or neutered then that is most likely the cause. He or she is just trying to find themselves a mating partner. This can be prevented by taking them to a vet and having them spayed or neutered for under $100. The price will vary depending where you go so be sure to look around for a place that suits your own budget and needs. If they are already spayed or neutered and you're still having this problem then it would be a good idea to invest in a cat leash since they enjoy the outdoors. You can let your cat outside without a leash but it's not a great idea if the cat is declawed as they can't protect themselves from predators. If you prefer you can allow your cat to live outside but he or she will most likely have a shortened lifespan because of this. Another important tip is to never leave a collar on an outside cat due to the fact that they can easily catch on fences and can strangle your pet. If you must put a collar on the cat, please consider keeping them inside.


Cats can be entertaining, intelligent, friendly, and loving all at the same time. They are very timid creatures but as long as you keep them safe, happy, and show them they can trust you it will pay off greatly in the end. Some advice when adopting a cat is to pick one that really clicks with you. If you want a smart pet that will love you back, pick one that's out going and responsive. If the cat doesn't seem into you when going to pick it out then it is just that particular cats personality. Do not bring him or her home thinking they will change because it's highly likely they will not. What you see is almost always what you get with cats so be sure to pay attention and pick a good one. You will be much happier if you take the time to find one that fits in with your needs and wants then if you just pick out any cat you see.

Tabby Cat
Tabby Cat | Source


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    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Thanks for sharing these tips. Cats are great pets. I have one now who adopted me. I moved to a house about 9 years ago and she was there. Her family did not care for her so she adopted me. She was very skittish at first but gradually would come onto the porch to dine Eventually she let me pet her. Now she is an indoor outdoor kitty. I have a kitty door so she can go in and out as she wishes. Often she comes in and rests on the couch or heads back to my bed and lounges for hours.

      She has trouble eating dry foods now so she eats mainly wet foods.

      Again, thanks for sharing. Sending Angels to you this evening. :) ps

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      I love cats. We have two. One was a stray and one was given to us. We had an orange tabby at one time. He was also a stray, but the neighbors fed him cheese. He developed bladder stones and had to have surgery. He lived quite a long happy life afterwards.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Good information and suggestion for cat lovers. Thank you very much.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Cats are fantastic pets. I have 9 of them -- 4 outdoor, 1 indoor/outdoor, and 4 outside only. Most of mine are middle aged or better. All were either neighborhood strays or "leftover" from when I used to do cat adoptions (because they had disabilities or were unadoptable). They provide excellent companionship and are very smart, sensitive animals.

    • Dzenan Dzeno profile image

      Dzenan 2 years ago from Bosnia

      An interesting article .Thanks for the information.

    • profile image

      Stargrrl 2 years ago

      Cats are adorable! I used to have two; one unfortunately passed away, but you are on point with your information and tips. Voted up!

    • profile image

      fabulous jessie 2 years ago

      thanks so much! I have always been brought up with cats and now I have my own family, husband and two sons, We are adopting our own on Thursday. We did want a kitten until I saw an ad from someone who's been looking after a cat that got dumped by previous house owners. They have been looking after it but don't want it long term. I fe,to so sorry for her and fell in love. These tips have really helped me as This will be my first cat I have ever owned. Good job!

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