If you have children and want to adopt a cat from your local animal shelter, you must teach them how to handle and care for it. Provide basic information for your children about cats so they can better understand their new pet. As an educator, you can also teach your young students about cats as part of a lesson plan.
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Also known as Felis Catus, its scientific name, the cat was first domesticated between 4,000 and 8,000 years ago, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Cats usually range between six and 6.8 Kilogram when fully grown, and they can live 15 years or more. As carnivores, they must eat a diet consisting mainly of meat, and you should feed them either canned or dry cat food twice daily. Some cats like an occasional treat of cantaloupe or broccoli. While most cats dislike getting water on their fur, they do need to drink it. Provide your cat with fresh water at all times to keep it well hydrated.
Cats need to sleep 12 to 16 hours per day and require a comfortable bed in a quiet location to relax. Play with your cat regularly to keep it well exercised and to bond with it. Use toys on string or ones containing catnip, an herb that cats love, to attract its attention and provide it with a stimulating item to pounce on. Cats also require regular trips to the veterinarian for health checkups and vaccinations required by law. The ASPCA recommends that you spay or neuter your cat to prevent it from producing litters of kittens or developing health problems later in life. Play with your cat only if it is not sleeping or it appears agitated with its ears down or tail wagging. Angry cats hiss, so give your cat some time alone if it does this.
Contact your local animal shelter to request that your children or students have an opportunity to tour the facility to learn more about cats up close. Here, children can learn more information about cat care, how to adopt a cat, how to care for cats and cat behaviour. Children can see up close the way cats groom themselves and how to set up a litter box for a cat to eliminate in. As a parent, have your child volunteer at the shelter or help to foster a cat before adopting one so he can learn more about how to treat and care for a cat.
When teaching children about cats, present materials in easy-to-understand language appropriate to the reading level of the child. Contact groups such as the Cat Fancier's Association or the ASPCA for recommendations about educational materials. Visit a cat show in your area to teach children about the different types and breeds of felines. Teach your children the importance of gentle handling of a cat. Ask your local 4-H club if it has a cat-learning program or curriculum. If so, have your child join the group to learn more about cats.
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- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Cat Care
- Cat Fancier's Association for Kids: Cats
- Science Kids: Fun Cat Facts for Kids
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Aggression in Cats
- Washington State University Extension, 4-H Youth Development Program: Animal Sciences -- Cat