Lifehack: Crash course in cat care in 5 easy steps

Saturday 16 October 2010, 3.30pm HKT


How to care for your cat in 5 easy steps

A cat is considered an adult by 1 year old (or 17 years in human terms). Cats usually live for 15 to 20 years (or 105 human years ). A cat provides companionship but won’t ever be your friend as a dog could be. If you mistreat a cat, you will be reborn as a mouse. You have been warned.


Below are poisons to cats (in alphabetical order of substance):

Mr Popcorn, who should really be called Fish and Chips instead

– no alcohol (intoxication, coma, death)

– no chocolate (death)

– no citrus oil extracts (vomiting)

– no coffee or tea or caffeine-containing substances (death)

– no eggs (raw) (skin and hair coat problems, salmonella poisoning)

– no garlic (same as onion: coma and death)

– no grapes, raisins or currants (kidney failure)

– no marijuana, cannabis, hash, weed, shit (see ‘no smoking’)

– no mushrooms (shock and death)

– no nuts (damages digestive tract, nerves and muscle)

– no onions (coma, death)

– no persimmons 柿子 (digestive obstruction, enteritis)

– no Prednisone to treat respiratory problems (leads to diabetes)

– no rhubarb leaves 大黃 (multi-system failures)

– no smoking (cats easily develop respiratory problems)

– no yeast dough (dangerous gas buildup, extreme pain)


Otherwise known as Stupid Human Tricks That Can Kill Your Cat. Below are not nice feeding habits for your cat:

The paw pad of a cat

bones on fish and meat (choking, internal obstruction, death)

carbohydrates for cats (usually too much in tinned cat food)

–  fat trimmings (pancreatitis)

–  long-term feeding of fish (raw, tinned, cooked) (malnutrition)

free-feeding (feed only twice daily by adult age: 1 year or older)

grain in feed (present in commercial dryfeed)

mouldy or spoiled food (honestly, would you eat that?)

people food (multiple problems)

strings (e.g. yarn) (internal obstruction)

sugary foods (obesity, diabetes)

table scraps (if more than 10%) (malnutrition)

tinned tuna meant for human consumption (malnutrition)


Good feeding habits for your cat (“make it thrive, not survive”):

lots of water with food or meals (a cat’s natural prey is 70% water)

– only good-quality, grain-free wet cat food with grain-free dry food

wet or raw diet species-appropriate and totally free of grain

– less commercial kibble or tinned food (only as supplements)

dry food basically left for ‘grazing’

– cats need ANIMAL-based protein in food (so meat and organs)

– plant-based protein eventually leads to blindness and diabetes

at 6 weeks, feed 4 times daily spaced evenly throughout the day

at 12 weeks, increase meal size and space out to 3 meals daily

around 6 months, gradually space out to two meals daily

at 1 year (adult), two meals daily (early morning, late night)

dog food once or twice won’t harm, but malnutrition if repeatedly


You’re not the only one with a lifestyle. Your cat has one too. Be kind, be gentle, be reasonable. Don’t mistreat it like a goddamn pet. Your cat is a member of your family. In old tradition, all pets are your grandchildren.

Doesn’t belong to yours truly, but loved all the same

– cats don’t actually have nine lives; they have only one life, dimwit.

– cats don’t like being cooped up in a bedroom or restricted space like a carrier or cage

– “curiosity killed the cat”: cats are highly curious animals, so keep windows shut and hard-to-reach crevices blocked

on walkies outside, harness and 25-foot (7.6-metre) leash if needed

– attend to your cat every few hours: give it a cuddle now and then

wet bath roughly every 10 days in summer, less in winter

scratch post for cat to sharpen claws

litterbox for shitting in

feed dishes to eat from

sleeping bed for resting and sleeping (cats can sleep for 14 hours a day)

grooming kit to make cat look nice and feel comfortable

toy mouse or ‘thing’ for cat to play around with (trains hunting skills, or it’s your arms and legs that suffer)

flea collar if your home is like a pig sty or battlefield

one fixed person, place and time for feeding

one fixed person, place and time for baths

one fixed place for shitting: cats are not like dogs

– long-haired cats may need to be clipped (haircut!) to make shampooing more effective

– give some quiet time for cat to recover from your bad behaviour

– know how to properly handle and carry the cat (e.g. not pulling on its tail if you want to live to old age!)

childproofing or kittyproofing your home if you have kids (or adults who behave like kids or retards): store toiletries, chemicals, medicines, etc, out of reach (from kids as well as the cat)


All felines purr. Big cats like tigers and lions purr. Small cats like the puma, cheetah and your household cat purr. Animal behaviourists have come up with many theories to explain the reason for the purring, but nothing is conclusive or proven to date.

But who cares about the inner technology of the pussycat. The bottom line is that purring means two things. It means the cat is healthy and happy. Or it means sick and unhappy, or dying. Figure it out yourself. No one can teach you how.

Watch your cat, care for it, love it, greet it when you’re home, pet it and interact socially with it. Petting and interacting with your cat lowers its stress level and makes for a strong, healthy immune system. It does the same for you too. If you don’t believe this, then you’re an idiot and shouldn’t be let near any animal.


One, 2, 3 and 4 above are enough to keep your cat alive, with drive and to thrive. One, 2, 3 and 4 will be better if you do these cool things for your cat:

read up about cat care and man up to care

train your cat: cats are trainable but not in a dog’s way

– train by persuasion and showing how, not by force and coercion as for dogs

– don’t be a bore: entertain your cat (play time to unleash the tiger within you and your cat!)

– check that cat keeps normal body weight and body functions

– check cat’s normal water and food intake

– check the litterbox daily

– check the cat by petting it

– you grow old, cats grow old: both of you have ‘senior moments’ (loss of mental sharpness, physical weakness, etc) so don’t blame it

* * *

Five steps.

Easy as pie, simple as cake.

Cats are animals. They have a brain.

They can think (even if scientists say they don’t think in ways we usually define as thinking, which is hogwash anyway).

They are living, breathing, thinking animals, so they don’t need constant fussing over.

They can fend for themselves.

Cats are not bitchy divas like you and me who need constant care and adulation. They only need some, but the right ‘some’ is important.

“If you mistreat a cat, you will come back a mouse.”

* * *

Photos: Mr Popcorn and yours truly taken by Doug with a Casio Exilim EX-Z55 digital camera.

© 2010 The Naked Listener’s Weblog

Updated 10 July 2016 (subhead reformatting only)

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