Responsible Pet Ownership
Ten Commandments of Responsible Pet OwnershipSharing a home with a much-loved cat is one of life's greatest pleasures. It is important to ensure that cats are kept in harmony with the rest of the community and the environment. To reduce some of the problems associated with cats in our society and ensure that both cats and humans gain maximum benefit from this special relationship all cat owners should follow the 10 Commandments of Responsible Cat Ownership.
Choose the right cat. Think carefully before getting a kitten and choose a breed that will fit your lifestyle
- Identify your cat in case it gets lost. Identification can be by microchip or
a tag with your phone number, attached to an elasticised collar.
- Keep your cat inside for its own safety and to prevent it from
hunting. being hunted or being run over.
- Care for your cat and meet its needs for food, clean water, shelter, grooming,
play and companionship.
- Socialise your cat. Spend quality time with your kitten, and introduce
it to other animals and people when it is young and impressionable so that it
grows into a loving and well-adjusted animal.
- Groom your cat regularly and check for fleas.
- Encourage your cat to stay at home by creating a caring, interesting and
attractive environment. Cats need places to climb, cubbies to hide in,
things to scratch and someone with whom to play.
- Vaccinate your cat every year, worm your cat every three months, and if your
cat is acting differently, see your Vet.
- Use a sturdy cage to transport your cat whenever it is off your property.
- Desex your cat if you have not purchased it for breeding purposes.
Spaying and Neutering - The Problem
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of spaying or neutering your cat or kitten. Thousands of homeless cats and kittens are born each year and are either euthanased or left to fend for themselves on the city streets.
It has been calculated that one unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce, in a seven-year period, 420,000 kittens.
Abandoned cats lead short, turbulent lives and face death from freezing weather, automobiles, disease, and starvation. Even if turned into a shelter, only a small proportion of all cats and dogs each year are adopted; the rest are euthanased.
PLEASE do your part by having your kitten or puppy spayed or neutered, or adopt a shelter cat or dog and give them the loving home they deserve
The Advantages of Spaying and Neutering Your CatThe advantages of spaying or neutering your cat are many. These include the following:
- Preventing litters of kittens can help save the lives of kittens already born
that do not have homes. Over 8 million cats and dogs are euthanased every year
in the U.S. alone because animal shelters and humane societies do not have the
facilities to accommodate all homeless pets. Letting a cat have even one litter
of kittens simply adds to the numbers.
- In addition to helping control pet overpopulation, sterilizing cats helps
eliminate the problems associated with overpopulation: large numbers of stray
and feral cats that die of starvation or are caught and sold for animal
testing, nuisance cat problems, such as spraying and defecating, and incidences
of cruelty to cats.
- Spaying and neutering reduces the risk of cats contracting diseases of the
reproductive tract. Spayed cats are also much less likely to contract cancer of
the mammary glands.
- On the average, sterilized cats live two to three years longer than do intact
- Owners of female cats can avoid the problems that arise when cats go into
heat, such as crying, bleeding, escaping outdoors and possibly disappearing for
good - by having their cats spayed.
- Having male cats castrated helps reduce or eliminate certain behaviours, such
as roaming, spraying and aggression, and the risks associated with these
behaviours, such as injury or death resulting from encounters with automobiles
or fights with other cats.
- Relieving cats of their hormonal drives allows them to relax and live more
comfortable lives. Because a cat is more likely to become affectionate and
friendly when not under the influence of sex hormones, it will be a better,
more contented pet. For instance, statistics show that spayed and neutered cats
are less likely to bite than are intact cats.
- Some communities have differential animal licensing programs, in which the fees for licensing pets are based on whether or not the pets have been spayed or neutered. For example, one community in Indiana charges a $15 fee for an intact animal but only $4 if the animal has been sterilized.
(Taken from Cat Fancy Magazine, Feb., 1990 edition - author: W. Bradford Swift, D.V.M.)
Dispelling Myths About Spaying and Neutering
Myth #1: Altered pets become fat and lazy.
This myth is simply not true - if an altered pet becomes fat and lazy, it is not due to the sterilization but because the pets' owners feed them too much and do not encourage them to exercise. Any altered pet fed in proper amounts and that receives adequate exercise will not become fat and lazy.
Myth #2: It is better to let a female cat have one litter before spaying her.
No medical evidence exists to support the belief that having a litter is good
for a pet. It's just not true.
Myth #3: I wanted my children to experience the miracle of birth.
Letting a cat have a litter of kittens that may not get homes is really teaching children that animals can be created and discarded to suit people. Instead, parents should explain to their children that the real miracle is life and that preventing the births of some unwanted animals can save the lives of others. If you want your children to experience the miracle of birth, show them a video - there are plenty available that show in detail the miracle of birth.
Myth #4: Some owners feel that their pets are unique, and by breeding them, they will produce offspring with the same unique characteristics.
Breeding a special pet does NOT guarantee that the coveted traits will be
passed on to the next generation; in fact, the resulting litter could receive
all the pet's and its mate's worst characteristics! It simply doesn't hold
Myth #5: My cat is a purebred, and this justifies breeding it.
Purebred animals should only be bred by a reputable breeder who has a carefully planned and controlled breeding program. Twenty-five percent of all the animals surrendered to shelters each year are purebreds - don't contribute to this figure.
(Excerpts taken from Cat Fancy Magazine, Apr., 1989 edition - author: Amy D. Shojai).
Advantages of Adopting An Adult Cat
Too often, adult cats are passed over for all the wrong reasons. In fact, a cat need not be a kitten to develop a warm and lasting bond with a new family. The advantages of adopting an adult cat include:
- It is easier to discern an adult cat's personality and behavioural traits, as
well as its size, weight, and appearance, than it is to predict how a young
kitten will develop as it matures into adulthood.
- A cat that has already been raised with other cats, dogs, or children may
adapt much more easily to them in a new home than a kitten will.
- An easygoing adult cat is sturdier in a rough-and-tumble environment than a
kitten will be.
- Because adult cats are usually more calm and focused than kittens are, they
can more quickly learn a new owner's routine and rules, and are also less
likely to be destructive.
- If you want a purebred, adopting a young adult cat from a breeder may save you
a lot of money - young adults are often priced at a fraction of the cost of a
kitten of comparable quality, and you will be spared a long waiting list.