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Guide to Caring for Your Cats at Home

Leave it to Martha—a devoted pet mom and animal enthusiast—to care for her furry companions as if they were friends or family members. In an on-air segment of Ask Martha from years ago, several viewers asked Martha for insight about feeding, grooming, and cleaning up after her six Himalayan cats, and she had lots of tips to share. “I treat my animals as if they were my cherished children,” she says in the clip. “I just want them to be healthy, happy, and be my friends.”

Integrate cat grooming practices into your weekly and monthly routines.

If you aren’t grooming your cat on a consistent basis, Martha notes that it is time to start. Whether you’re on the phone or watching TV, use every free second you have as an opportunity to brush or comb your feline companion, she says. For long-haired cats with thicker coats, like Himalayans and Persians, she recommends using a metal comb without sharp prongs, such as the Untangler 5″ Cat Comb ($13.25, amazon.com), to keep their fur free of tangles and matting.

Martha also recommends giving your cat a bath at home—not through a professional groomer so they’re more comfortable—at least once a month (ideally on the same day every month for consistency). In the segment, she explains that she has a washing station set up in her basement, where her cats have the space to be comfortably bathed and then blow-dried, before being allowed to sit outside to fully sun dry.

Have properly stored, quality food readily available.

Since cats can self-regulate their food intake, Martha recommends feeding your felines high-quality wet food in the morning, and having a variety of premium dry food available for them at all times. When selecting food and water dishes for your cat, she says the more stylish, the better. “Beautiful, colorful bowls will look great on the floor,” she explains. To ensure her pet’s dry food stays fresh and easily accessible, Martha says she keeps kibble stored inside an antique copper laundry boiler with a scoop—but any sealed container with a secure, airtight lid will do the trick.

Carefully clean and refill litter boxes.

For Martha, caring for six Himalayan cats means having six separate litter boxes kept in a row in her basement, where odors are less likely to waft their way into high traffic areas of her home. She recommends washing and sanitizing your cat’s litter box every five days, by emptying out the litter and allowing it to soak in hot water for at least five minutes. Once a litter box has been cleaned and sanitized, Martha likes to line it with dry newspaper before adding fresh litter to make cleanup easier.

Provide regular care to improve all aspects of your cat’s health.

Along with administering Frontline Plus Flea and Tick treatments ($36.99, petco.com), which even indoor cats should receive, Martha regularly clips her cat’s nails with trimmers, such as the easy-to-grip Well & Good Cat Nail Clippers ($6.99, petco.com) and cleans wax buildup out of their ears, which you can do at home with a pet-friendly ear cleaning solution or wipes. She also recommends checking your feline’s teeth whenever you can to look for any chipped or missing incisors, which can affect their ability to chew.

Don’t forget to treat them to some catnip.

Of course, Martha also makes a habit of treating her beloved felines to the organic catnip that she grows in her backyard garden; she dries and stores the herbs in labeled mason jars. “The cats love rolling around in it,” she explains.

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Written by Jessica Cheng

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