Pets in the City - Cats and Dogs 101
Supplies for the New Members of Your Family
So - you’re going to get a little kitty or a little puppy or a big dog, huh? Prior planning really helps here. People seem to get caught up in the moment and come home with a kitten or two in their pockets from the Flea Market or a puppy from the adoption corral at a garage sale.
They walk in the door and its kind of a shock. Like having a baby and coming home from the hospital. You walk in the door and think, “OMG, what do I do first? Feed the baby? Bathe the baby? Change the clothes?” What does this little animal need now that it has been adopted? In the following paragraphs there will be basic lists to get you started, or to have on hand for an emergency, as well as some additional advanced supplies. Keep in mind these are basics! Pet food and supplies is a billion dollar industry. If you WANT it someone has MADE it and will sell it to you!
Food for your Feline
Buy the best grade of food that you can afford to buy on your budget. Higher quality food will pay for itself in the long run by having a healthier cat with less vet visits. I swear. Trying to hold down expenses by buying less expensive food is false economy. Cats will eat as much as they need to get the nutrients they require. Therefore, they may eat twice as much of the carbohydrate filled store brand to get the nutrients they need in a premium food. Additionally, feeding substandard foods over a period of time will contribute to, or even cause medical conditions that will require a veterinary visit. You get what you pay for in this case. Cats are obligate carnivores, (meat eaters) and cannot thrive on vegetarian diets, although most vegetables can be added to cats' diets, either by the manufacturer or the consumer.
What to look for on the label: Named protein source - look for "chicken, lamb, or beef," rather than "meat." On canned food particularly, the protein source should be the first listed ingredient. Check the expiration date for freshness.
What to avoid: Words such as "By-products," "meat and/or bone meal," "animal digest," most other descriptions including "digest" or "meal," and added sugars; Chemical preservatives, including BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, and propyl gallate; Corn meal as a filler; Excess of carbohydrate "fillers" (Dry food can contain as much as 50 percent grain)
List of Supplies for a Kitty (basic home setup)
Crunchy (dry) cat food (see above)
Canned (wet) cat food
Water bowl, crunchy bowl, canned food bowl
Collar with name tag
A carrier to be used to transport to the veterinarian, etc.
Write down the local emergency animal hospital and your vet's phone number. Post it on your refrigerator for quick access!
Kitty Litter (again, you get what you pay for) Higher quality litter helps to eliminate more odors.
*Note: If you have more than one cat, you should have one litter pan PER CAT, plus one. So 3 cats would need 4 pans in an ideal setting.
**Another Note: If you are having cat "accident" issues, Dr Elsey's cat attract litter comes with a very helpful and informative booklet in the litter bag. This booklet discusses litter training, how to clean up accidents to avoid repeats to the same area, tips and tricks to teach a stubborn cat to use a litter pan. I found this product at PetsMart.
List of Supplies for a Kitty (the extras)
Kitty treats for occasional use (if you get them hooked on kitty treats, you can shake the bag and they come running. They hear the package crinkling. This is useful if you can't find them when its time for a vet appointment or you have an escapee outside that you are trying to coax back inside!)
A soft bed or blanket
A placemat for food and water dishes
A mat to put at the "door" to the litter pan to capture the litter fall-off-the feet.
For a New Dog in Your Home
Make sure to have everything you need before acquiring a puppy or an adult dog (and seriously consider the "pluses" of adopting an adult, young adult or senior dog - already house trained, already spayed or neutered, etc) such as:
Outdoor House: If you are intending for your dog to be outside most of the time, make sure to provide the necessary living space for him. Doghouses are usually made out of wood or fiberglass that resist different temperatures. These come in all sorts of different sizes (small, medium, and large), and it's important that the doghouse be lifted from the ground to prevent humidity from getting in.
However, if your dog is going to be staying inside your house most of the time, you could put together a "bed" for inside. It is important that if you have a large dog or a short hair breed that its bed be soft enough to avoid your dog getting calluses or his bones becoming deformed. You may want to consider a crate in order to contain your dog when you are away. A crate can also provide shelter and a comfortable safe place for your dog.
Dog bowls: Get two different bowls for your dog, one for his food and one for his water. Be careful to get the right kind of food and water bowls for your breed. Larger dogs may need bowls that are raised off of the floor. Also lightweight bowls tend to move as your dog is trying to eat. Your puppy will probably need some smaller bowls to begin with. If you have more than one dog it is essential for their sakes that you make sure that they each have their own food/water bowls. Make sure to always keep the dog bowl clean.
If your dog or puppy gulps food, there are:
Identification: Your dog must always have a dog tag, containing his personal information as well as contact information, on his collar when out. You will need a county dog tag, as well as a rabies tag on the collar. Name tags can be purchased at pet stores, or online.
Toys: Read packages so you are buying appropriately sized items to avoid choking. Large dogs can chew HARD; so also look for appropriately strong toys.
Grooming: Some dogs require a lot of grooming and others, not so much. Be thoughtful and groom your dog when needed. Read the labels and buy a couple of grooming tools appropriate for your animal. Short hair, long hair, medium ---- there are tools for every breed; It’s a way to spend time with your dog and your dog becoming comfortable with touching and grooming.
Food: Similar to cat food, read the labels. Make sure you are buying the most quality food you can afford on your budget. After feeding, make sure you pay attention to your dog’s signals, like pacing or sniffing around. What goes in must come back out, and the act of eating can stimulate the digestive process!
The following is a list for stray cats that is funny, but also TRUE! Enjoy!
STRICT, UNBENDING RULES FOR DEALING WITH STRAY CATS
Stray cats will not be fed.
Stray cats will not be fed anything except dry cat food.
Stray cats will not be fed anything except dry cat food moistened with a little milk.
Stray cats will not be fed anything except dry cat food moistened with warm milk, yummy treats and leftover fish scraps.
Stray cats will not be encouraged to make this house their permanent residence.
Stray cats will not be petted, played with or picked up and cuddled unnecessarily.
Stray cats that are petted, played with, picked up and cuddled will absolutely not be given a name.
Stray cats with or without a name will not be allowed inside the house at any time.
Stray cats will not be allowed inside the house except at certain times.
Stray cats will not be allowed inside the house except on days ending in "y".
Stray cats allowed inside will not be permitted to jump up on or sharpen their claws on the furniture.
Stray cats will not be permitted to jump up on, or sharpen claws on the really good furniture.
Stray cats will be permitted on all furniture but must sharpen claws on new $114.99 sisal-rope cat-scratching post with three perches.
Stray cats will answer the call of nature outdoors in the sand.
Stray cats will answer the call of nature in the three-piece, high-impact plastic tray filled with Fresh'n'Sweet kitty litter.
Stray cats will answer the call of nature in the hooded litter pan with a three-panel privacy screen and plenty of headroom.
Stray cats will sleep outside.
Stray cats will sleep in the garage.
Stray cats will sleep in the house.
Stray cats will sleep in a cardboard box lined with an old blanket.
Stray cats will sleep in the special Kitty-Komfort-Bed with non-allergenic lambs wool pillow.
Stray cats will not be allowed to sleep in our bed.
Stray cats will not be allowed to sleep in our bed, except at the foot.
Stray cats will not be allowed to sleep in our bed under the covers.
Stray cats will not be allowed to sleep in our bed under the covers except at the foot.
Stray cats will not play on the desk.
Stray cats will not play on the desk near the computer.
Stray cats are forbidden to walk on the computer keyboard on the desk when the human is asdfjjhhkl;ljfd.;oier'puyykmm4hbdm9lo9jUSING IT.
Watch this blog for upcoming topics: Walking your dog in the park - Trail ettiquette; First aid for animals - Putting together your own first aid kit; Send an email or post a comment if there is something you are trying to find, or information you are trying to locate! Please make comments! I love hearing feedback!!
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