When we decided to adopt our first cat, I had no idea how to take care of one. I’d always had a dog growing up, as well as several smaller species of pet, but I had no experience with felines. So I decided to browse the cat-care books and catch up on some basics.*
Here are a few books that I found particularly useful as a cat-novice:
- Kittens for Dummies by Dusty Rainbolt
This book covers the entire kitten experience, from birth to maturity. You can skip ahead to the section that’s age-appropriate to your kitten, and find out what it needs in order to grow up happy and healthy. But if you read from the beginning, you’ll also know how to tell if the kitten you’re adopting got the best possible care.
- The Humane Society of the United States Complete Guide to Cat Care by Wendy Christensen and the staff of the Humane Society of the United States
Nobody knows more about adopting cats than the Humane Society. This guide explains how cats came to be domesticated, and what role they play in society today. It also explains how to pick a healthy pet that’s suited for your living situation, basic feline first aid, and how to care for an elderly cat.
- Good Catkeeping by Diane Morgan
Morgan does an excellent job with the expected cat-care topics like body language, behavior problems, nutrition, and general health. She also discusses more unusual issues like raw and alternative diets, and how to travel with your cat.
- Think like a cat : how to raise a well-adjusted cat–not a sour puss by Pam Johnson-Bennett
Johnson-Bennett is a cat behaviorist and former veterinary technician. She believes most feline behavior problems are caused by an owner not meeting or even understanding their cat’s needs. For example, she explains why a cat needs to scratch, and how you can spare your furniture (not to mention his paws) by training him to use a post.
- Cat vs. cat : keeping peace when you have more than one cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett.
Admit it – if you have the resources, and your first cat is able (if not willing) to tolerate a roommate, you are eventually going to want a second cat. Johnson-Bennett describes how to manage the introductions in the least stressful way for all involved. She also describes common problems that may arise in established multi-cat households, and how to address them.
*Please remember that cats can become critically ill in a short amount of time, and that no book is a substitute for an actual vet visit. When in doubt, don’t risk your pet’s health; call your vet immediately.