If you are adopting a cat or kitten, you probably have a lot of questions about caring for your new family member. Cats are wonderful companions and they can bring many years of fun, joy and unconditional love to your home.

Here are some tips to ensure your cat is happy and healthy.

Spend time with your cats. Cats need exercise, companionship, love and play. Toy mice and feathers are fun toys for your cat. But toys don’t need to be expensive—they can even be homemade. Items such as jar lids or empty boxes can provide hours of entertainment; just make sure there’s enough to keep your cat active and mentally occupied.

Cats allowed free access to the outdoors can come into contact with dangers they wouldn’t face indoors, including negative encounters with wildlife and cars. They are also more likely to get diseases and parasites. We recommend “catios” (special fenced outdoor enclosures for cats) and supervised time outdoors.

Cats are required to be licensed in the City of Toronto. There are benefits to licensing your cat. Even if your cat stays indoors, the occasional open window or door offers a tempting opportunity for your cat. Your cat also may become frightened and make their way outside if strangers come to your house, or if they are scared for any reason. The pet licence and microchip helps bring your cat home faster. By licensing your pet, you automatically become a member of the BluePaw Pet Licensing Rewards Program, and receive exclusive offers and discounts on pet-related products and services.

Cats should see their veterinarian at least once a year for an examination, which can include updating shots (especially rabies vaccine), and immediately if they are sick or injured.

Spaying and neutering pets prevents a number of serious and expensive health problems and reduces unwanted behaviour related to mating.

Cats need to scratch! To save your furniture, provide your cat with a sturdy scratching post. The post should be stable enough that it won’t wobble during use, and should be covered with rough material such as sisal, burlap or tree bark. It should also be tall enough for the cat to stretch all the way up. Many cats also like scratching pads.