I much prefer a round basket filled with oat straw to anything else; some urge that a box is better; my cats have a basket. It is well to sprinkle the straw occasionally with Keating's Powder or flour of sulphur, which is a preventive of insect annoyances, and "Prevention is better than cure."
Never shut cats up in close cupboards for the night, there being little or no ventilation; it is most injurious, pure air being as essential to a cat as to a human being.
Always have a box with dry earth near the cat's sleeping place, unless there is an opening for egress near.
Do not, as a rule, put either collar or ribbon on your cat; though they may thereby be improved in appearance, they are too apt to get entangled or caught by the collar, and often strangulation ensues; besides which, in long-haired cats, it spoils their mane or frill. Of course at shows it is allowable.
All cats, as well as other animals, should have ready access to a pan of clear water, which should be changed every day, and the pan cleaned.
Fresh air, sunlight, and warm sunshine are good, both for cats and their owners.
It is related of Charles James Fox that, walking up St. James's Street from one of the club-houses with the Prince of Wales, he laid a wager that he would see more cats than the Prince in his walk, and that he might take which side of the street he liked. When they reached the top, it was found that Mr. Fox had seen thirteen cats, and the Prince not one. The Royal personage asked for an explanation of this apparent miracle. Mr. Fox said: "Your Royal Highness took, of course, the shady side of the way as most agreeable; I knew the sunny side would be left for me, and cats always prefer the sunshine"
A most essential requisite for the health of the cat is cleanliness. In itself the animal is particularly so, as may be observed by its constant habit of washing, or cleaning its fur many times a day; therefore, a clean basket, clean straw, or clean flannel, to lie on - in fact, everything clean is not only necessary, but is a necessity for its absolute comfort.
Mr. Timbs says: "It is equally erroneous that she is subject to fleas; the small insect, which infests the half-grown kitten, being a totally different animal, exceedingly swift in running, but not salient or leaping like a flea."
In this Mr. Timbs slightly errs. Cats do have fleas, but not often, and of a different kind to the ordinary flea; but I have certainly seen them jump.
In dressing the coat of the cat no comb should be used, more especially with the long-haired varieties; but if so, which I do not recommend, great care should be used not to drag the hair so that it comes out, or breaks, otherwise a rough, uneven coat will and must be the result.
Should the hair become clotted, matted, or felted, as is sometimes the case, it ought to be moistened, either with oil or soft-soap, a little water being added, and when the application has well soaked in, it will be found comparatively easy to separate the tangle with the ringers by gently pulling out from the mass a few hairs at a time, after which wash thoroughly, and use a soft, long-haired brush; but this must be done with discretion, so as not to spoil the natural wavi-ness of the hair, or to make it lie in breadths instead of the natural, easy, carelessly-parted flaky appearance, which shows the white or blue cat off to such advantage.