Last Updated: 1/30/08
Most information that one needs to know is found in books and from talking to people. There are a few things; however, that I would like to stress. ALL cats need to see the vet as soon as possible after you get them. First, they all need to be checked for their general health and sex. Cats need shots, parasite treatments, and neutering/spaying. This vet visit is also a good time to learn about your pet's care.
The important information about cats is all around since more people own them than any other pet. Buy a few good books, talk to people, and take the cats to the vet for shots and spay/neutering always. Cats will play with anything and try to eat anything. Be careful they do not eat poison, poisonous plants, string, curtains (well, my Polky ate them for breakfast), etc. The vet can give you most information you need. There are links for Cat FAQ'S on health, bad behavior, each breed, and more that you can find on any search engine.
Keep litter pans as clean as possible. I used to change my cats' pans twice a week and wash with warm water once a week. It really needs to be done more often than that. I recently (3/99, no longer recent!) switched to clumping litter. Now, I remove the clumps twice a day, wash the pan weekly, and change all the litter every few weeks. The clumping litter saves a lot of money since less gets thrown out. It was especially helpful because Tootsy was diabetic and urinated ten times more than most cats. The main downside to clumping litter is that it sticks like glue to the bottom of the pan (so I use a liner which the cats tear apart in a few days) and anything else that is wet.
I have yet to find a commercial litter pan that suits the needs of my cats. I bought a semi-clear plastic storage box and cut an entrance into it. My cats do not like to be in a litter pan with the roof enclosed. The box is open at the top but has a good surface area and high sides so when my neutered male, Gino, squirts up high, most of the time, it runs down into the litter.
I really love the "World's Best Cat Litter" and would use it except it is very expensive when you have five cats!
Update 1/30/08: I have been using "World's Best Cat Litter" (WBCL) now for over a year in Gino's litter pan. I discovered that I had not updated that here. I really love WBCL. It really is the best! It is not overly dusty, does not stink like most litters, clumps well, etc. The only problem aside from the high price is that my other cats aside from Gino do not really like to use it. So, I keep a litter pan of Scoop Away in the basement. I really hate the smell of Scoop Away (they stopped selling unscented at our grocery store) and the mess it makes but Doodally just loves the "real" litter. By that I mean she will get in there, dance around, and make a big mess scattering litter all over!
I do not believe in declawing. This is not just because cats need them for defense if they ever go outside or escape from inside. It is not just because declawing involves cutting off the ends of cats toes and renders them handicapped. When I was young, my first two cats were declawed. One (Bootsy), who was the love of my life, tried to kill my brother. The other (Tootsy) was grouchy and mean. I do believe that removing their claws makes cats feel more defensive and helpless. To compensate, they use their teeth. I was attacked once by my cat Bootsy; I would have preferred scratches to deep puncture wounds from her teeth that I still can see 21 years later. This same cat was the most loving I have ever met. I believe she had some type of seizure related to her screwy hormones but spaying did not fix the problem. Years of Ovaban did but may have given her breast cancer.
I now have one stray, GK, who is also declawed by the previous owner. She also tends to be more bitey than my other four who have their claws (2/10/06).
Check out this site on declawing:
The Declawing Information Site
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