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Responsible Cat Ownership

| December 26, 2011
Responsible Cat Ownership

Today, responsible cat ownership means owners not only have an obligation to meet the health and welfare needs of their cats, but a duty to ensure their cat's activities do not unduly interfere with the neighbours or the environment.


Over time, the meaning of responsible cat ownership has changed with shifting community expectations and concerns, and a growing awareness of the value of cats.

Today, responsible cat ownership means owners not only have an obligation to meet the health and welfare needs of their cats, but a duty to ensure their cat’s activities do not unduly interfere with the neighbours or the environment.

Although priorities will alter from community to community, as for example, night confinement may be more of an issue in environmentally sensitive areas, most problems can be prevented by encouraging a few simple changes in cat owner behaviour.

The key to these changes in behaviour is education. Peer group pressure has led to most Australians to “do the right thing” with litter. In time, if pet owners are educated to follow these simple rules of responsible cat ownership, most Australians will “do the right thing” with their feline companions.

IDENTIFY your cat
Cats can be identified be either a collar bearing your address or phone number, or a microchip implant and an “M” tattoo placed in the ear. Victoria and South Australia both have laws which require cats to be identified when off their owner’s property. Identification is for your cat’s own safety, as it can be returned to you if lost or injured.

KEEP your cat in at night
A recent study conducted by the Cat Protection Society found that 94% of accidents (car accidents or fights) in a three week period occurred at night. Cats which are kept inside live at least three years longer on average than cats which are allowed out. Confining your cat at night will help keep it safe from injuries.
“Yowling” and fighting are more of a problem at night, because they keep the neighbours awake! Keeping your cat inside at night is good for neighbourly relations.
Many native animals are vulnerable to hunting at night. Cats which are kept inside at night hunt less.

Training your cat
Although cats are independent by nature they are highly intelligent and can be trained to show desirable behavior rather than undesirable behavior. To discourage a cat from scratching furniture provide a scratching post for your cat. If the cat scratches the furniture admonish “no” in a gruff, loud voice or spray with a jet of water from a water pistol. Cats are naturally clean animals and kittens learn from their mothers to bury their faeces. This is why kittens are so easy to toilet train and readily use a litter tray. Litter trays should be placed in a quiet area, be readily accessible and kept clean.

Cats spend a great deal of time grooming themselves but long haired cats require brushing and combing several times per week. Pay particular attention to the cats underline and tail.

If you are not planning to breed from your cat it is advisable to have it desexed by the age of 4 months.

Neighbourly manners
Comply with your local Council’s laws regarding cat ownership and, for your cat’s protection, and especially in environmentally sensitive areas, keep you cat inside at night.

Lost cats
Unfortunately cats sometimes do get lost. You can help prevent this by making sure your cat always wears a collar and identification tag with your telephone number. Confine your cat during thunderstorms and firework displays. If your cat is lost check with your neighbours, your local veterinary clinics, animal welfare organisations, the pound and the local council. Check with these organisations in neighbouring suburbs as lost animals may travel some distance.

Holiday time
You will need to consider how best to care for your cat while you are absent from home. Your local veterinarian may be able to recommend a boarding establishment where your cat will be secure. Reputable boarding establishments will require the cats vaccinations to be up to date. If you are only absent for a few days you may arrange for a neighbour or a home feeding service to visit and feed your cat. Cats are usually uneasy away from their own environment and may become scared and escape so when transporting your cat away from home it is essential to contain it in a secure cat carrier available from pet shops or veterinary clinics. Never leave your cat in the car as cars can become very hot even on moderately warm days and the cat can die from heat exhaustio

Copyright & Credit:

© CATMATCH Reprinted as a courtesy and with permission from Catmatch CATMATCH began with an idea to help reduce the tens of thousands of cats and kittens that are put to sleep each year because they can’t find a home and someone to care for them. And yet there are people like you who would enjoy life with a cat.



Category: Feline Articles, Feline Health and Care, Feline Resources

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