The 3 Things Every Cat Parent Must Know How to Do

For the most part, cats are pretty easy to take care of. Besides their unique personalities, general quirkiness and their independent nature they are great to have around. 

More than likely, you have all of the usual cat chores down…

You know, the cleaning of the litter box, choosing healthy, high-quality food, making sure they have fresh clean water, a scratching post and plenty of toys.

But there are three simple things that every cat parent must know how to do.

How to trim your cat's nails

1. How To Trim Your Cat’s Nails:

If you want your cat to be healthy, you have to keep their nails trimmed. For starters, it keeps you from getting scratched, it protects your furniture from getting shredded and most importantly it protects your cat from getting injured.

Have you ever seen a cat with long, unkept nails get them snagged and caught up the carpet? 

It can cause the nail to rip right out. That’s why it’s so important to have their nails trimmed as short as possible. 

It’s really a good idea to get your cat used to getting their nails trimmed when he or she is a kitten. However, if your cat is older don't worry, they will eventually get used to it and accept it. The key is to go very slowly, speak softly and lovingly and give your cat a treat when you’re all done. 

Here are a few tips to help make it easy on them:

-Make sure your cat is relaxed and isn’t agitated or irritated, take them into a quiet place away from other animals or loud noises. 

You’ll need to try a few different ways of holding and securing your cat. I typically hold my cat Ziggy in my lap on his back. You can try cradling your cat in the crook of your arm or have someone else in the household hold them in a secure position. The last thing you want is for them to move and for you to clip the nail too short. Just see what is most comfortable for both of you.

-Gently grab one paw and squeeze the middle pad, it will extend the nails

-With a quality pair of nail trimmers, quickly, efficiently and carefully clip the sharp tip of the nail. Stay away from the pink part known as the “quick”. This part is very sensitive and will bleed if you cut it. It will also be extremely painful for your cat. If you do cut the quick, use a topical antiseptic to clean the area and apply pressure until the bleeding stops.  

-Once you finish with one nail, move on to the next. I like to talk to Ziggy while I go and tell him what a good boy he is. Soon, it’s all over. That’s when Ziggy gets his treat. I try to cut his nails every 2 weeks or so.

If you have a cat that just won’t allow you to cut their nails without squirming around, they do have what is known as restraint bags. These allow you to restrain your cat and access each paw to trim their nails. It’s a little easier on you, but it may be a bit more traumatizing to your cat.

Whatever you choose to do just be patient, they’ll get the hang of it.

How to give a cat a pill

2. How to Give a Cat a Pill:

While we all hope that our little fur baby never gets sick or that we’ll ever have to give them medication, it happens. Most people try to hide the pill in their cat’s food, and we all know how that works out most of the time. Cats are pretty savvy, and they’ll spit that pill right out no matter how well you think you’ve hidden it. 

The good news is that there are a few different methods you can try, you’ll just need to try each and see which one works for you and your little kitty.

Pilling By Hand: With this method, you place your hand on top of your cat head and using your thumb and middle finger you push in the sides of their jaw and hold it open. 

Using the same hand, hold your cats head back.

Now using your other hand, gently pry open your cat’s mouth and quickly insert the pill as far into their mouth as possible. 

Now here is the tricky part, because you need to hold their mouth closed. You’re going to have to sit there for a minute and make sure they swallow the pill, otherwise, they’ll run off and spit it out the first chance they get. 

The best way to get them to swallow is by gently rubbing their throat and blowing softly into is or her face. Once they swallow you can release your grip, but make sure they’ve actually swallowed the pill. This way of giving a pill is a little tricky, but with enough practice, it’s pretty easy to do. And if your cat is on long-term medication, it may be your best option.  

-Pill Poppers:

If you’ve never used a pill popper you should definitely give it a try if your cat is a bit on the bitey side. Some cats, unfortunately, have a bit of a mean streak and no matter how much you call them their survival instinct kicks in anytime they feel in danger. 

Pill poppers look a bit like a syringe. You simply put the pill in and use the popper to pop the pill to the back of your cat’s throat. 

Just use the same method we discussed above to hold your cat and prop their mouth open. The pill popper keeps your fingers out of harm’s way.

Just insert the pill using the popper and once again hold their mouth shut while encouraging them to swallow while you rub their throat and blow into their face. 

Also, anytime you give your cat a pill, you’ll want to try to get them to drink some water or eat a little food. It can help to make sure the pill gets to where it needs to go and it can also help settle your cat's stomach.

How to take a cat's temperature

3. How to Take Your Cat’s Temperature:

If you have a sick kitty on your hands or are concerned that they might be, taking their temperature is a great way to confirm it. It can also help you determine the seriousness of the illness and if you should seek the advice of a veterinarian or not. 

Feeling their head or nose is simply not accurate and doesn’t really give you an indication as to whether they have a fever or not. 

Nope, you need to use a thermometer and unfortunately for you and your cat, it needs to be taken rectally.

Here’s how you do it:

a. Hold your cat by their two front legs in a steady position. Now to be fair, this won’t be appreciated by your cat but hey, you’re only trying to help. You may need assistance on this one to make sure your cat doesn’t wiggle away. Another trick is to grab them by the scruff of the neck, much like a mother cat would.

b. Put a water-based lubricant on a quick-read digital thermometer. One with a soft rubber tip is best. Your cat will appreciate it. 

c. Next, lift their tail and insert the thermometer. You only need to go in about an inch, any further and you could cause pain or an injury. Hold this position until your thermometer indicates the temperature.

For reference, normal temperature for a cat is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. 

If your cat’s temperature is higher or lower than this, you may want to call your vet. 

Just keep in mind, that both a high or low temperature can be an issue and either should be investigated.

Simply master these 3 simple tasks and you’ll have a healthier, happy cat. 

Maybe not at the time, but you know what I mean.