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Monday, December 18, 2006

You And Your First Cat

Congratulations! You are about to embark on one of life’s most memorable and emotionally rewarding experiences -- pet ownership. Generally. a cat can live 15 to 20 years and if it all goes well, he will become your dearest friend and a member of your family. However, as rewarding as pet ownership can be, it can also be a nightmare if you both get off to a bad start. The following will help ease this period of adjustment for you.
When you first bring the cat home, try to keep everyone as calm as possible. Although this is difficult with children, please try not to get too enthusiastic. Next, try confining the cat, temporarily, to a small area. A kitchen is perfect because it is the most popular room in the house. Remember, when he first comes into your home, your cat is the outsider; he/she is confused and frightened. Give him time to slowly adjust to the family and its routine. The period of adjustment is much more difficult for him than it is for you.
As he/she starts to feel more comfortable, and you feel he/she is ready, gradually give him more freedom. Perhaps you can take him into the den while the family is watching TV, but be sure to keep an eye on him/her.
Even the best behaved cat needs guidelines at one time. If you establish good guidelines in the very beginning, your cat will always follow them. Cats want to please their owners; this makes them happy. If you give a cat too much freedom and he wrecks your house, it’s your fault, not his. If a cat needs reprimanding,
never hit him. A loud, stern NO works much better. Another tool is a water gun or spray bottle filled with plain water. When the cat does something wrong, squirt him and say NO very loud. Do not overuse the water as it will lose its effect. Never Hit Your Cat!! Your hand should only be associated with petting. If the water does not work, try shaking a can or plastic bottle filled with pebbles or pennies.
If your cat starts to develop a habit of scratching the furniture or the rug, take immediate action. Buy or make a scratching post. Preferably, the post should be covered in sisal rope and should be sturdy. If it moves when the cat touches it, chances are the cats not going to use it. Each and every time the cat goes to scratch on the furniture, pick the cat up and bring it to the scratching post. Lift the cat’s paws on the post and move them back and forth on the post. Also clipping your cats nails on a regular basis Is known to cut down on scratching. Cats are smart and they learn quickly. Remember the training period will also allow you and your cat to get to know each other. Your cat will love and respect you much more for it.

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