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The case of the caretaker's cat

The case of the caretaker's cat


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The case of the caretaker's cat is a common one. The owner of the cat brings him into the house where the cat takes up residence, eats, drinks and sleeps and takes no part in the activities of the family. He is completely dependent and utterly a member of the household. It is usually assumed that he is a family pet who is well cared for. Yet, he is a human in that he is capable of all that a human is and is capable of all the human's weaknesses.

The caretaker's cat goes without food, water, and proper shelter. He is vulnerable to the elements and even to the other cats in the household. He may get lost, injured or ill. He may become ill in a household infested with fleas, ticks or mites. He may simply get out of the window or find some other way to escape the boredom and confinement.

He has to be protected from other cats. Many caretakers put out food and water for their cat, but they leave it within reach. This is a good way to provide food but, when you see him in the morning, he will have eaten it. So you have to feed him frequently, which can become a chore. But it is better to provide food than to have the cat starve. You also have to provide water or he will drink it from the basin, which is unhygienic. Provide a bed for him, but do not let him sleep in a corner. Give him access to the window.

It is a good idea to provide a box or something for him to play in. A cat who is lonely and confined is a much more comfortable cat than one who is always free to roam.

If you have children, then some consideration needs to be given to what happens when they sleep. Does he sleep on the floor? In their bed? Is he outside? Are there no other rooms in the house that he might be allowed to sleep in? Sometimes it is necessary to be firm. You might think that the cat would not harm the child, but you are wrong. A cat who is confined may do something, such as nip or claw, which could have serious consequences.

Of course, you do not need to worry about your cat if he has nocturnal friends. Sometimes this is a problem for young kittens or cats who come into the house. However, it may be a good thing if they sleep in the same room so that there is no need to have two separate rooms in which to go to sleep. There is nothing to say that you must give them separate rooms, but the less separation, the better. It is just as well to be aware of this when the time comes to take them to new homes.

It is essential that the cat gets out of the house at night. If he does not, there is a danger that he will become over-excited at the slightest noise. The cat's brn becomes over-excited because it feels vulnerable and needs to respond. In the case of cats who are frightened at night and confined, this may result in them behaving in a very aggressive manner when they hear noise or see movement. In such cases, it is best to put a cat who is frightened at night outside, even though there may be danger.

The cat's diet is not important at this point, other than to ensure that he has sufficient food and fresh water. The diet should be varied and, in particular, should include a good-quality, nutritious and balanced diet.

## BATHING

There are two things to remember about your cat's baths. One is to make sure that the bathwater is warm. If your cat is a house cat, he may well not like baths. You can try placing the bath directly over a radiator or use hot-water bottles. Make sure that the tub is clean and then fill it with warm water to a level just below the top of the cat's back. The warmth will cause your cat to relax. It is best to wt for the cat to decide when he is ready for his bath.

In this situation, I use a mixture of warm water and 'pet shampoo' (a commercial shampoo that contns no chemicals or scents) on both front and rear legs, and then rinse thoroughly. The shampoo contns both essential oils (eucalyptus and peppermint) which will stimulate circulation. When your cat has had his bath, you may want to treat him to a short 'dry brush', (a soft brush which is used to pat the cat dry).

I believe that dry brushing helps to stimulate the cat's skin, but I do not use it on every cat.

## COMFORTERS

There are a number of things that cats need in their day-to-day life. When you are thinking of buying a cat for your household, it is essential to consider which comfort factor is most important to you. My clients have included both those who just want a pet, and those who want a housemate who looks after their children. Therefore, the first category are those who are looking for a pet-familiar housemate to share their home, with whom they can enjoy a relationship.

The second category are those who are looking for a housemate to play with their children. This can be the most difficult of all. It is well known that children should not be fed on children's food or be bottle fed, as this can lead to long-term health problems. A 'real' meal is the best thing for any child and their family to have. However, if your child is really teething, perhaps they are eating too much solid food. If you want to be able to spend time with your children, it would be a good idea to give them a baby-style biscuit once or twice a day. The biscuit will need to be soaked in warm water, and then the milk should be warmed up on the stove. If your child refuses to eat the biscuit, then this may be a sign that it is not the right food for them. You will know if they have a sore gums, which can mean that they are teething, and also that their teeth are just coming through.

## CAT FRIENDLY

People who live with children and their pets have had to learn to deal with the fact that their lives do not revolve around the cat. Their homes are the centre of attention for the cat, not them. They cannot share the same living space with their cat if they wish to have other friends or family members in their homes. This is not a bad thing, cats are friendly, but they will not tolerate living in the same home with certn individuals.

If you want to be able to enjoy your friends and family as they are, it would be wise to look after your cat in a non-aggressive way. When you live with a cat, this means not allowing your cat access to your food, so that they do not take any of your food, and, if possible, not allowing your cat to come in contact with the food in the kitchen. This is not an easy thing to do, as the smell of the cat will have already been transferred to your kitchen. It is wise to keep the food in the kitchen, and make it easily accessible. For this reason, it is better to have a separate kitchen for your cat. You could also provide a separate food dish so that your cat can eat there in peace. In this way, your food and dishes will be kept separate.

Cats will need a different amount of time to purr. In the wild, cats would spend all day purring and would do little else. However, in the homes of people, cats are more likely to spend the day sleeping, and


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