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Picking up a cat

To pick up your cat, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck (behind the ears) or by the front legs without supporting the rear end.

Litter Box Information

All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. A bathroom or utility room is a good place for your cat's box. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary. Then do so slowly, a few inches a day. Cats won't use a messy, SMELLY litter box. Scoop solids out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent (don't use ammonia) and refill at least once a week, less frequently if using clumping litter. Don't use deodorants or scents in the litter or litter box (especially avoid lemon scent).

Playing with your cat

Cats delight in stalking imaginary prey. The best toys are those that can be made to jump and dance around and look alive. Your cat will act out her predator role by pouncing on toys instead of people's ankles. Don't use your hands or fingers as play objects with kittens. This type of play may cause a biting and scratching problem to develop as your kitten matures.

Scratching and Clawing

Provide your cat with a sturdy scratching post, at least 3 feet high, which allows the cat to stretch completely when scratching, and stable enough that it won't wobble when being used. It should be covered with rough material such as sisal, burlap or tree bark to further prevent household destruction. Cats also like scratching pads. To train a cat to use a post or pad, rub your hands on the scratching surface and then gently rub the kitty's paws on the surface. When the cat starts to scratch furniture or rugs, gently say no and lure her over to the scratching post. Praise your cat for using the scratching post or pad. A sprinkle of catnip once or twice a month will keep your cat interested in it.

Cost of Ownership

Cats can provide warmth and companionship with considerably fewer demands than their canine counterparts. However, every furball comes with a price tag. Total first year costs for a cat can reach upwards of $640.

Food $120

Medical $150

Litter $150

Toys $50

Misc $30

Spay/Neuter $75

Litter Box $25

Collar $10

Carrier $30

Total $640