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How To Handle A Cat

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( Originally Published 1928 )



IN HANDLING the cat be sure to do it in the way she likes. Never stroke her fur the wrong way. In lifting her from the ground, do not lift a cat by the upper part of her body, leaving her hind legs hanging uncomfortably. If this is done roughly there is danger of rupture. Lift her gently by placing one hand under the fore legs, and at the same time lift her hind legs with the other hand. In this way the whole body will be supported at once and she can be carried very comfortably. Do not take her up by the nape of the neck. A grown cat is too heavy to lift in that way.

A PAN OF DRY EARTH

IF You keep a good-sized pan partly filled with dry earth (renewed when necessary) where the cat can always get at it, you need not, as a rule, fear that she will be otherwise than neat about the house. I know of a cat who has the range of the house day and night, and there is no trouble. A screen in the hall-way hides the pan. Be sure also that your cat has a warm place to sleep at night. Do not turn her out-of-doors. Give her a soft rug or shawl, all her own, spread upon an ottoman or within a basket, and your cat will show contentment and happiness in every soft curve of her graceful body.

A cat should always have a warm bed out of a draft. A box filled with newspapers, or a soft cushion with a cover that can be removed and washed (as a cat likes a clean bed), or, if in the country, a box filled with hay, will make a comfortable bed.

Three things are necessary for a cat's welfare and happiness: affection, warmth and neatness. A cat should never be punished, for she will not understand. Do not let her play with a mouse. Either take it from her or kill it; if she thinks you are going to take it from her she will kill it at once.

When a cat is crying about the house you may be sure that she needs something, either food or attention. She may be hungry or thirsty. No one should keep a cat unless willing to see that it is well fed.

Cats become very intelligent under the influence of kindness, and develop an understanding of language which is quite surprising. If you wish to develop this intelligence, you must act so that your cat will trust you. Always be kind and gentle, not gentle one day and rough the next. If you watch carefully, you will find it very interesting to see how she will come to you and ask for what she wants and will use different tones of voice to express different emotions; and how she will in various ways, show how much she knows and understands.

CATS SHOULD BE KEPT IN THE HOUSE AT NIGHT

LEAVING OUT of question the comfort of the cats themselves, it is a nuisance in any neighborhood to hear them crying or fighting by night. Many invalids and tired persons needing sleep are kept awake by this noise, for which those who own the cats are responsible.

A cat that is roaming about at night may be set upon by dogs or caught and injured. In order to get cats in at night, be regular about their supper, and make the supper hour late. Cats will come in to get their supper, and may then be kept in.

In the country, at the time when birds are rearing their young it is especially important to keep cats in all night, for it is usually in the early morning hours that they catch birds. Some watchfulness is needed in the day time also, at this time of year, if we care to preserve the lives of our useful frien4 the birds.

FRESH WATER FOR CATS

CATS SHOULD be fed regularly every day, and always have a saucer or pan of fresh water standing ready for them. This may save them from diseases of digestion, and from fits which usually come from indigestion. Sour milk is likely to produce digestive troubles.

The dishes from which a cat is fed should be kept perfectly clean. They should be scalded. Whenever possible, a cat should have access to grass, as sickness is often prevented if she can eat a little of it in time.

You will find her very grateful for a little catnip occasionally, and if you will warm her milk she will like it much better. Do not have it hot, but just a little warm.

Butter, cream, milk, all these are good for cats and necessary for their health. Butter is an excellent corrective for cats. Give them now and then a small piece - say a half teaspoonful; they like it, and it acts as a gentle laxative, besides keeping the fur in nice condition.

Milk is not a sufficient food for any cat, but may be given as a part of the breakfast or supper. Milk can be given in the middle of the day as well as in the morning and at night. A kitten needs to be fed several times a day with warm milk and should have meat cut up fine once a day. It is well to mix vegetables with the meat, spinach, asparagus, grated carrots, whatever the kitten will eat.

NEVER GIVE POULTRY BONES

NEVER give poultry or chop bones to cats or dogs. These bones splinter so easily and are so sharp, that they are apt to stick in the throat or injure the intestines. Dogs have been considered mad or have died as a result.

MEAT ONCE A DAY

GOOD AUTHORITIES State that a cat should have meat in small quantities once a day. It is important that raw meat and fish given to cats should be perfectly fresh.

Meat should be cut up into rather small bits, otherwise there is danger that a cat will not chew it enough, but will swallow large and stringy pieces which may cause bad attacks of indigestion. Meat, either raw or cooked, should be varied with fresh fish once or twice a week, always cooked and with the bones carefully taken out. It often happens that cats are choked by fish bones or get a bone in the throat which causes great suffering.

Some vegetables are good for cats. String beans, sweet corn with the kernels slit down the center, and only the pulp scraped out, asparagus, squash, baked beans, oatmeal mush and milk, or bread and milk, puffed wheat crisped in the oven, brown bread crumbs in sardine oil. All these can be tried as a change of diet, but it is useless to force them on a cat. Cats know what they want and will go hungry a long time before they will eat what they do not like.

Often when a cat has been kept on one diet steadily for some time it loses its appetite and appears dumpish or even ill, when a simple change of food will bring it back to itself at once. Boiled liver is useful once every week or two, or when the cat is a little off its feed, as it acts as a laxative. It is not, however, good diet for regular use.



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