Cats make great animal friends, but they're not exactly maintenance-free. Veterinarian bills, cat food, cat toys and kitty litter all add up. Here are a few ways that you can still keep your cat and save money while caring for them.

Be cautious about using canine products on your feline friend. If you try to use products meant for dogs, it can make your cat sick, or even kill him. Flea products especially. Products used for flea prevention in dogs can be very harmful to your cat. If you own a dog, and they've been given a flea treatment, you should separate them from your cat for a few hours.

A tagged collar is essential if you let your cat outside regularly. Tags can save you a lot of trouble if your cat gets lost. You have to be sure you have your pet's name and number written on the tag.

Your furnishings and belongings can easily be ruined by a cat's claws. If your cat is ripping up and shredding your home, invest in a kitty tower or scratching post. They can scratch this instead. Sooner or later, they'll love to use it.

You may want to have a microchip put into your car. Even an indoor cat may find a way out of your home. A tagged collar might help get kitty home, but it can just as easily come off if snagged on a branch. Your name and the best way to contact you can be encoded on the chip, which is tiny. Nearly every vet and shelter owns a scanner which can read a microchip, and since they're implanted, there isn't a risk of the chip falling out or getting lost.

Create a tablecloth that your cats can use. Some cats like removing food from their bowl and eating it beside their bowl. This can result in a mess that needs to be cleaned up. An easy solution to this problem is a placemat underneath the food dish, or a piece of fabric you can easily wash.

Do you have a cat and a dog? Keep in mind that the two animals have separate dietary needs, and dogs will try cat food if given the chance. This is why it's important that the cat's feeding area is in a spot that's too high for a dog to get to. This also has the effect of stopping fights over the water before they start.

Never make the mistake of leaving a kitten in a room alone with small children. A child under five should not be left alone with a pet. Young children are not yet mature enough to realize what behaviors are dangerous to a cat. As they grow, you will be able to decide when it is the right time for them to handle a cat or kitten without supervision.

Avoid spending too much time trying to train your cat to utilize its litter box. Cats instinctively understand what to do and teaching is not required. Don't force your cat into the box or you will traumatize them.

Use a brush on your cat regularly. This will help stimulate blood flow. As an added bonus, it cuts down on loose fur. Doing so reduces the occurrence of hairballs, which are a choking risk. It also benefits the cat's stomach by reducing the animal's need to clean itself.

When your cat makes a mess somewhere other than their litter box, don't get mad. When this occurs, it tends to be because the box is not being maintained properly. The cat will be fearful of you if you punish it.

A cat's life isn't complete without play. All mammals love to play. Older cats might not be quite as energetic as they used to be, but light play can still be fun for them. Play with your cat, and you'll both have fun.

If you want a cat with long hair, be prepared to put in extra time and care. Although it may look nice, it will look much worse when it sheds all over your home. You should not get a cat with long-hair unless you are ready to do a lot of cleaning. Hairballs are something that you will often deal with if you own a fluffy cat.

Be mindful of where you place the litter box. It might be tempting to have it in a hidden area where you can't see it or smell it. It is important to locate the litter box where your cat can easily get to it. It has to be a quiet area with little traffic. If your litter box is on a cold surface, place a rug or mater underneath it.

Have your cat vaccinated as often as your vet prescribes. Your cat needs these periodic checks and particular immunizations in order to stay healthy. Your cat is wonderful addition to the family, and must be cared for in the same way that you would treat all members of your household.

If you have a pregnant cat ready to birth her babies, be sure she has enough space. Giving birth to all the kittens can take hours, so you shouldn't expect things to be over and done with quickly. You should take your cat to the vet if deliveries lasts for more than five or six hours.

Do not give cat medications intended for humans. The vet is the only one who should do the prescribing - not you. Refrain from giving cats any medication not intended for them.

Your cat needs to eat dry food most often. Kittens need the wet food, however, due to their small teeth. When they get older, their teeth benefit from harder dry foods. Try also mixing together dry and wet food if you've got a picky cat.

Pets can be pricy to care for and cats aren't an exception. There are so many things to do that it is akin to having a child. Now that you read this article, you know what it takes to properly care for your feline.