Adoption of cats rising in India

Adoption of cats rising in India

Keeping pets is a very common and important part of many people’s lives, and the most common reason for pet ownership is that of companionship. In...

Keeping pets is a very common and important part of many people’s lives, and the most common reason for pet ownership is that of companionship. In today’s modern society, cats are becoming increasingly popular, and in some countries have started to outnumber the other popular human companion, the dog. Most people consider cats (usually more than one) as pets if they are likely to be away from home for much of the day – 9 to 5 job or frequent travellers. Cats are solitary animals but intelligent and like to spend most time alone. In addition, cats are not expensive to maintain considering their feeding behaviour and habits. Likewise, cats take up less space and there is no need to take them for walk or exercise. Of course, cats keep themselves clean and no bath is needed!

How feasible is it to take care of cats
Owning a cat is a wonderful experience, but also an important responsibility. Cats are very independent animals; however, the responsibility for their health and physical wellbeing ultimately lies with you. Cats clearly need a balanced diet like Whiskas brand of cat food, to keep fit and healthy; you will need to supply shelter, general care and regular visit to vet and companionship to keep your cat healthy and happy throughout her life. In addition, the things that keep cats happy are appropriate hiding and perching places that can reduce stress (at least two rooms and resting and hiding places like shelves, platforms, windowsills). Cats also require human contact and mental stimulation and toys could help to stimulate their senses.

Diferent breeds of cats
It is estimated that there are between 40 and 80 different breeds of cat. Abyssinian, British Blue Shorthair, Burmese, Chinchilla, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Havana Russian Blue are few examples. Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest are becoming increasingly popular in some countries. Siamese, Persian and domestic shorthair cat is most popular in India.

Things to remember before bringing a cat
Take time to decide whether a cat is a right pet for you and it suits your lifestyle. Keep the house as quiet as possible when you bring your kitten home. If you have other pets, try to keep them away for the first few hours. Decide which room is going to be your kitten’s “home base” for the first few days and make sure it has a door or some other way of shielding her from the hustle and bustle of daily life (including children and other pets). Place her litter tray, preferably with sandy, clumping-type litter unless she’s already shown a preference for another type, in a corner opposite the door.

Don’t forget the tray liners and a scoop. Have shallow bowls for her food and fresh water ready, as far away from the litter tray as possible. You may want to put plastic mats under her dish and litter tray to make cleaning easier. Buy her a bed or make one yourself. A cardboard box with an entrance cut in one side and lined with a blanket will be fine. Place the bed somewhere away from the litter tray, but keep in mind that she may prefer to choose where her bed goes.

Buy a cat carrier for her first journey home and for later trips to the vet, non-toxic toys to help her play and learn, a brush and comb for grooming and (for your furniture’s sake) a scratching post. Finally, make sure you remove any dangerous items like poisonous plants and cleaning agents prior to her/his arrival. Once the cat settles and you may need to take him/her to vet for preventive health care - vaccination and deforming, etc.

Pros and cons of adopting
Adopting kitten or cat is an important decision that can influence next 15 to 20 years of your life. Cats are not small dogs. Cats provide love and companionship you are looking, with less effort/work from you. Cats are relatively low maintenance. Cats can adapt more easily to our busy and modern lifestyles, as they are pretty independent. Cats can be left alone much more easily and are more suitable for smaller flats or houses. Cats can get along with other cats or pets or children. Lastly, cats can be kept indoors completely.

Cats are fascinating but sometimes mysterious creatures. Kittens need time for socialisation time to settle in as well require frequent veterinary visits. Adults are good if you are busy or working family. However, cats need a litter box that you need to clean regularly and cats may develop stress or behavioural problems if not raised properly. Cats have a natural instinct to hunt a prey (even when they are not hungry).

When cats are stressed long term, some may show behaviours such as urine spraying or soiling indoors or territorial aggression. You may need to provide scratch posts to avoid damages to curtains or sofas. Unlike dogs, they don’t like to be handled or cuddled. Some people with asthma may develop an allergy to cat hair or dander. It is recommended to neuter them (if you do not like them to breed) as it may create a nuisance, particularly in night during the season.

By: Dr KG Umesh

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