Thursday, 28 April 2011

The beginner's guide to taking care of cats

For newbies: The following are just some of the things that you should keep in mind before starting your adventure into the feline world. Please note that the following may not be the way you would do things but since the world is made up of millions of people, there will be different opinions.
  1. Do your research and read, read, read about cats and which breed you'd like to "grow up" with. - I rushed into the feline world head first so did not really read about which breed suits me and my life style best. But I believe I have made the right choice in choosing maine coons
  2. If there's a cat association or club, join them or at least get to know a few of them before plunging into the ravine so to speak :) - in other words, don't do what I've done, do what I was supposed to have done
  3. Ask yourself whether you want to start a breeding programme or just enjoy the cats that you have. Initially I only want cats as pets but I have now decided to breed maine coons 
  4. Do you have the space to keep them? I keep my kittens in the family area but I have already allocated them a room in the new house. We'll be moving in June 2011. :)
  5. Do you want to keep them in cages or let them roam free in the house? For safety reasons (and my peace of mind), I keep the babies in their individual cages when I go to work but will let them out once I get home. As they sleep most of the time during the day, I believe they don't miss much. Furthermore, it is easier to keep the boys away from the girls as I don't want the girls to get pregnant before they are one years old.
  6. Do you want to keep them indoors or outdoors? I prefer indoor cats as at least I can keep them safe
  7. Do you have a good vet within your neighbourhood? We have two vets located within 15 minutes drive from my house
  8. Don't go cat searching during a long weekend break, most of the shops would be closed. In my haste to get a cat, I had to choose the long Chinese New Year holiday weekend! 
  9. If the petshop is offering a kitten before he/she is three/four months old - WALK AWAY! They still need the mother and most likely have not been potty trained. A responsible breeder would only sell their kittens after they are four months old or so.
  10. Buy the biggest cage you can afford in terms of size to fit your home as they will grow bigger. I bought the largest kitten cage (36"L x 22"W x 29"H) for both Boboy and Dusky as the petshop had only one. After scouting around, I found a small sized dog cage (48"L x 30"W x 36"H) which is the biggest sized cage that could go into my family area. I now have four of the dog cages.
  11. And if you want to buy pedigree cats, make sure that the breeder shows you the registration slip for your kittens. Make a copy for your records as the breeder needs the slip to change the ownership. I made the mistake of not making a copy of Pearl's registration slip and am still waiting for the new one from TICA. In the case of Putra, I took a copy but am happy to note that the registration slip from CFA arrived on Friday 13 May 2011.
  12. The best breeder are those who allows you to choose your own name. I gave Putra his name but had no choice on Pearl.
  13. There are a lot of cat registration associations in the world but Malaysia only recognises FIFE (Federation International Feline, Luxemburg), CFA (Cat Fanciers' Association, US) and TICA (The International Cat Association, US)

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