7 Cat Care Tips for Pet Parents

Discover essential cat care tips to help create the optimal environment for your feline companion.

Jul 6, 2024byDonna Hobson

cat care tips for pet parents

Whether you’re a first-time pet parent or a seasoned pro, there’s always more you can learn about taking care of your cat. Did you know, for example, that brushing your cat’s teeth is a great way to prevent health issues or that indoor cat care is the safest?

Discover some of the best tips from vets, behaviorists, and other pet care experts to help you provide the best environment for your feline friend.

1. Provide Fresh Water

cat drinking running water
Image credit: Pixabay

A clean water source is vital for your cat’s health, and changing the water regularly is critical in encouraging your cat to drink. After all, think about it: you wouldn’t want to drink a glass of water that had been left out all day, would you? Still, cats have a low thirst drive, so you should try different methods to get them to drink sufficient water. Some cats like to drink from running water sources, such as water fountains, while others prefer not to bend their necks to drink.

You can also use wet food pouches as part of a healthy diet to introduce more fluids. Your vet can help you set up the best nutrition plan for your cat based on age, health, and activity level. And remember: treats (even ones you made yourself) should account for no more than five to 10% of their overall food intake.

2. Establish a Good Hygiene Routine

brushing kitten cat teeth
Image credit: homesalive.ca

Kitties are particularly clean animals who are excellent at maintaining a shiny, healthy coat. Still, cats need your help with some regular grooming to maintain their overall health. Regular brushing helps to remove dead hair and debris from their fur, which helps prevent them from swallowing excessive amounts of dead fur.

In addition, brushing your cat’s teeth is vital in helping them maintain good oral hygiene. Pet owners can often overlook this, but dental disease is one of the leading causes of illness in adult cats (50 to 90% of cats over four have periodontal disease). You can brush their teeth with a soft children’s toothbrush or a finger brush.

Ensure that you use cat-specific toothpaste, as many human varieties contain xylitol, which is toxic to both dogs and cats. It’s best to start this practice when they’re kittens to get them used to the sensation. You can also supplement good dental hygiene with specially adapted foods.

3. Desex Your Felines

cat stretching and yawning
Image credit: Pixabay

Kittens reach sexual maturity at around four months of age, which means they can then breed. The average litter contains four kittens, but cats can give birth to as many as 12. The main reason you should get your cat desexed is to prevent the birth of unwanted litters.

Male neutering removes the testes, while female spaying removes the uterus and ovaries. This prevents cat overpopulation and reduces the risk of reproductive diseases. It also prevents some diseases in cats, including ovarian cancer, uterine infections, and breast tumors in females and prostate problems and testicular cancer in males.

In addition:

  • Desexing reduces or eliminates spraying in 85% of male cats.
  • Desexing reduces roaming behaviors, which means your cat is less likely to get into fights.
  • Male urine can possess a pungent smell; neutering helps to reduce the odor.
  • Desexing prevents your female from “calling,” yowling, or crying when she is in heat.
  • Desexed cats are less likely to display aggressive behavior.

4. Provide and Maintain Litter Boxes

cleaning cat litter tray
Image credit: Daily Paws

Cats like a clean place to go to the toilet. For this reason, you must provide enough litter boxes and scoop them out regularly. Every cat in your house needs a litter box, and you should keep an additional one, too. These boxes need scooping out at least once to twice a day, and litter should be replaced entirely once to twice a week. Remember: a dirty litter box is bad for a cat’s health.

5. Consider Keeping Your Cat Indoors

cat playing on steps of cat tower
Image credit: Pixabay

Domestic indoor cats can live perfectly content lives within the confines of your property, which comes with several significant advantages. First and foremost – indoor pets can enjoy a long lifespan, thanks to this lifestyle’s reduced risks. If you allow your cat to roam freely, you expose them to numerous hazards, including:


  • Traffic / being hit by a car
  • Catnapping/abuse from cruel people
  • Poisoning
    • Toxic plants
    • Rats and other small animals that have been poisoned
    • Chemicals on your neighbor’s lawns and gardens
    • Pest control
  • Contact/fighting with other cats
    • Subject to wounds
    • Open to diseases
  • Threats from other animals, such as dogs, foxes, raccoons, and birds of prey


That doesn’t mean you have to keep your cat locked inside, though. You can install cat-proof fencing and allow them to walk the grounds of your property. Also, you can train your cat to walk on a leash and take them out to the local park or green area.

6. Enrichment Is Essential

cat playing with string toy
Image credit: Pixabay

It’s easy to assume that your cat’s independent nature means they’re happy to entertain themselves all day, but that’s not the case – particularly if you are keeping an indoor cat. In these circumstances, providing your cat(s) with an enriching environment that satisfies their natural instincts and balances their wellbeing is essential.

Cats love to stalk prey, and it’s easy for you to simulate this scenario and prevent harm to your local wildlife. You’ll find numerous toys online that replicate the movements of birds, fish, and other small animals, and wand toys are also a great way to engage your cat. Rotate toys regularly and play different games with your cat to keep them interested.

cat green color eyes
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

You can also make feeding time more “natural” for them by using puzzle feeders to make them work for their food. You don’t need to purchase expensive products – your cat will be just as happy with a box or bottle that has holes cut into it. Or you can set up a “treasure hunt” where you hide food around the house.

Cats don’t need huge spaces to thrive but require vertical climbing space. The best way to achieve this is to provide them with climbing towers, preferably those with good perches and hiding spots for them to explore. In addition, giving your cat access to a window with a good view will help to keep them entertained, especially if there are birds or other small animals nearby for them to watch.

7. Give Them a Place to Scratch

british shorthair cat scratching pole
Image credit: Pixabay

Scratching is a normal behavior for cats; their claws are one of their top defense weapons, so keeping them sharp helps them to feel safe. Still, if you don’t want a cat ripping your furniture to pieces, you must provide appropriate scratching materials, such as poles and scratch pads. Any time your cat starts to scratch the furniture, redirect their attention to these more suitable materials.

Donna Hobson
byDonna Hobson

Donna believes that keeping a pet is the key to a happy life. Over the years, many creatures have passed through her home - Sooty the cat, Millie the rabbit, Stuart (Little) the guinea pig, and Trixie the tortoise, alongside her pet goldfish, Zippy, who lived to the grand old age of 24 years! She currently resides with her black kitten Jinx and an aquarium full of fish and snails to entrance them both. When she is not looking after her pets, Donna enjoys researching and writing the answers to all your pet-related wonders.