How Cats Work

By: Joy H. Montgomery

Basic Cat Care

Although cats are generally easy to care for, there are some basic care principles that every cat owner should know about. Regular visits to the veterinarian for annual checkups and vaccinations are important, but there are also signs to look out for between visits. A healthy cat will have clear eyes and a clean nose and ears. If a cat has runny eyes or a runny nose, this isn't a sign of allergies but most likely an infection. You can also tell a lot about a cat's health by looking at its coat. Cats should have a healthy, shiny coat. If the coat is dull or has patches, this could be a sign of an underlying problem.

Cats require a high-protein diet and typically prefer wet food to dry food. You can feed your cat on a flexible schedule, but food should not be left out all day, as this can lead to overeating. However, your cat should have access to fresh water at all times. Contrary to popular belief, cats don't tolerate milk, and this creamy treat should not be given to them. Like dogs, cats shouldn't be fed table scraps.


You don't have to be a cat lover to know that most cats don't like to get wet, although it is possible to give your cat a bath or have it professionally groomed. In fact, with some hairless cats, like the Sphynx, it is necessary to wash them off periodically to keep their skin healthy. Most cats will self-clean and learn about grooming from their mothers as kittens. The cat's paws are engineered to act almost like sponges, making self-grooming a cinch for the cat.

Due to their independent nature, cats don't require much, if any, training. They will instinctively find their litter box and begin to use it. However, many cat owners try toilet training with great success. The younger the cat, the easier it will be to achieve this goal. There are specially made litter boxes available that fit over a standard toilet seat to begin training a cat to poo in the loo. You can also train your cat to walk on a leash, and again, the sooner you start leash-walking, the faster your cat will catch on.