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Monday, May 27, 2019

PERSIAN CAT CARE TIPS

Before my cat, I was never much of an animal person. That all changed in December 2017 when my family decided to adopt our cat, Bala! I love her more than anything in the world and have learned a whole lot about cat care since she's come into our home. Persian cats are VERY high maintenance, so I figure I'd write this post to share my most helpful tips on how to care for them!


Bala (or as I call her Bala Baby) is the sweetest seven year old in the world. Her name is Taiwanese for "Guava," and I was the one who gave it to her! She's my little fuzzball and loves being snuggled and pet. We've had quiet a few health scares since she's been here (but also I have a lot of medical anxiety, and anytime I think something is wrong with her I freak out), and one of those times was actually involving me! I'll try to break this post into different broad topics so it's easier to read, but needless to say being a pet owner means that most things are a learning process and usually I'm figuring it out as I go.


Above is a picture from her birthday, which was also her one year adoption anniversary! I'll talk about the homemade cat birthday cake I baked her below, but if you want to see more of her daily life make sure you follow her on Instagram, @kibblekween!


CARE

From the moment Bala stepped her first timid steps out of the carrier and onto our den room rug, her hair was ALL OVER THE PLACE! This is inevitable with long-hair cats lol. I have a lint roller in my room for cleaning off my black clothes from all her hair, but now I'ms so used to her hair being everywhere I only really use it if I'm going somewhere important. Bala's fur knots very easily, so I try to brush her daily. She doesn't always love her brush, which is one with a bunch of short metal bristles I picked up from Target, but it does the job in removing loose/gently tangled hair. If there are really bad matted areas, I have to use a little scissor to cut it out. Knotted/matted fur can irritate their skin and be uncomfortable, so make sure you remove when you can!

I don't cut my cat's nails because she doesn't like her paws touched and can be temperamental when it comes to that. There's no way she'd ever let me do that, so we bring her to the groomer's to get that done! Typically, we bring her to the groomers about three to four times per year to give her a big cleanup, including hair cut, wash, nails, etc. There are not many places that do cat grooming, so we take her to a Petco that has someone who does it. In the summer when it gets really hot, we get her totally shaved down to prevent overheating.

We had a big scare beginning of March this year, where one morning my family and I noticed that she was twitching her left eye and keeping it kind of squinted. Nervous, we took her to the vet. This was her first vet visit and we took her to a place where the first visit is free. This was all of our first vet experience and I was worried what the cost would be since I've heard those bills can add up fast. Luckily, we only paid for the medication this time around, but that was still like $60! The vet told us she had pink eye and we'd have to give her eye drops in both eyes for the next ten days, three times a day. It was just as difficult as you think it'd be giving a cat eye drops! Bala HATED them and only let me get a couple in the first three days, then the attempts were mostly futile. Eventually she fully healed, thankfully, because I was so scared for her! Persian cats I think are a little more prone to eye problems, so if you see an issue you definitely don't want to wait on getting it checked out.

Once upon a time, I bought Burt's Bees waterless shampoo for pets thinking it'd be a good way to help keep Bala clean. That was a total bust because she hates anything wet on her, so as far as grooming goes she just does it herself. Sometimes If I see she has some little chunks stuck on the fur on the back of her legs I of course use a washcloth and remove it myself. She always looks very clean and has never had any strong smells to her, so I think it's all good. Her litter box is cleaned almost every time she uses it because if there's anything inside the next time she needs to use it she won't go! We give the box a big clean outside when needed (wash out totally with soap and water, replace sand completely).

Lastly, a little care tip for you! Here's a horror story: In April 2018, Bala accidentally scratched me on the arm after I tried to pick her up and she started wiggling to get down. I didn't think much of it... until it started to swell up the next few days. One CityMD visit and a trip to the hospital later, my arm was swelling and spreading redness all over my left arm. I ended up admitted in the hospital for about 5 days because it turns out the scratch had let bacteria from my skin in and given me an infection. I was simultaneously having an allergic reaction to the scratch too! Since then, if she scratches me I immediately wash the area off, cover it with a band-aid, and pop a Benadryl. Moral of the story- always wash and treat scratches from your pet to prevent infection!


FEEDING

Bala has a sensitive stomach and we were told that by the couple that owned her previously. She LOVES her kibble, which is Rachel Ray's Nutrish brand Real Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe. As for wet food, this is where it's very tricky. Bala is extremely picky with flavors and textures, and she gets flavor fatigued very quickly. We're still trying to figure out what she likes best, but we buy Blue Buffalo Grain-Free Indoor cat food in various flavors. As for treats, she loves her Wellness Pet Grain-Free Chicken and Cranberry Kittle. 

Although we don't give her that much table food, she LOVES American Cheese and Salmon. It's so cute, and every time I'm making a cold cut sandwich and she comes running over my heart goes soft and I have to give her some cheese. She also likes chicken and turkey, but whenever we give her meat it's plain parts with no seasoning. Cats aren't supposed to eat seasoning and also make sure you check online from a reputable source if cats can properly digest a food before you feed it to them.

There have been times where Bala's thrown up, if it happens I keep an eye on her for a day and make sure she's not sick sick. It's a thing that happens from time to time, my theory is it's from either eating something on the ground or something didn't agree with her. If you see your cat throw up, keep your eye on them and if something really seems off, bring them to a vet!

We feed Bala wet food twice a day, in the morning and night. She only eats about an eighth of a large can each time. Her bowl of kibble is kept out all day so she can snack as much as she needs and refill it as needed. Every morning we change and clean her water bowl so it's always fresh. We always wash her wet food bowl too, and I wash her kibble bowl about every two times I refill it.

On her Bala's adoption day/birthday, I wanted to do something special for her (because I'm crazy lol), so I was looking EVERYWHERE for specialty birthday cat treats. I couldn't find any... (whole in the market?) but I did find this recipe from Buzzfeed and baked her a homemade cat birthday cake! She loved it, and it made me so happy!


ACCESSORIES

 I love to spoil this girl! Usually I buy her toys from Petco or Target, and always the ones with catnip on the inside. She loves throwing her toys around and chasing them all over the house. It's really cute to walk around and find random mouses all over the place! For when the toys need a refreshment, I have catnip spray that I'll spray on them and she goes crazy! We also have toys that are attached to a string on a stick that we can swing around and she can jump to grab.

Bala always wears a collar that has a tag with her name and our address on it. Even though she's an indoor cat, if anything ever happened and she got out of the house we want the assurance that if someone finds her they can contact us! We also bought her a leash that straps around her neck and body, but the one time we brought her outside she really didn't enjoy it haha. She also hates outfits, so we don't buy her any more cute cat clothing (the only thing she has is a Chinese New Year outfit, which I have to drape over her while she's sleeping for photos).


SLEEP

Initially, we bought Bala a cute pink cat bed for her to sleep in, but she was never into it! Instead, she sleeps in one of our beds at night. She loves snuggling up right next to people and she has a cute little snore too. Usually, she sleeps next to my pillow by my head, but sometimes she like to come under the covers and snuggle right next to me. I'm ALWAYS very careful about lowering the blankets and sheets enough so there's no possibility of suffocation. Safety first!