#SWAAYthenarrative

The Ultimate Fur Mom Guide: Cat Edition

Pets are the ultimate buddies. Especially now that we have been under house arrest for months, our fur babies are surely making it a little more tolerable. If you live alone, you know how good it feels to cuddle with your pet while lounging in front of the TV at night. No matter how bad of a day you're having, you can always count on the sweet purrs of your cat to turn your mood around. If you are a new fur parent, below, you will find everything there is to know about your pet. Continue reading this ultimate-cat edition fur mom guide.

Give Them Their Own Space

Like humans, cats like to have their own private space to feel safe and content. Even if your cat isn't going to be sleeping or hanging out in the place you prepare, knowing that it is there will give your cat comfort.

Feed Your Cat Good Food

Please, don't make it a habit to feed your cat whatever you're eating. Cats require special nutrition and need specific food to grow healthy and strong. To make your life easier from the beginning, consult with a vet to understand if your cat has any health conditions that might affect its recommended diet. If your cat has a sensitive stomach, Carmen Scott from The Cat Mom writes that you should avoid giving it fatty food entirely as it further increases stomach inflammation. Otherwise, if your cat is healthy, try to give it a balanced diet of wet and dry foods. Wet foods like canned turkey and fish are easy to digest and have enough water content for hydration, while dry foods are easy and keep their digestive system healthy.

You Need a Litter Box

Unlike dogs, cats are pretty independent when it comes to taking care of their business. All you have to do is to prepare a spacious litter box with good quality litter like clay or pine pellets, and your cat should be happy. Make sure you keep the litter box clean and odor-free; otherwise, some cats will refuse to use it. It might take your cat a little time before it gets used to the litter box. However, if it takes too long, then perhaps try changing the location of the box or the type of litter you are using.

Cats Love to Play

There is a common misconception that cats prefer to lounge around all day and don't know how to have fun. It is not true if you get some toys for your cat, or even a simple yarn ball, you will see its playful side for yourself. Make the time to play with your cat every day to earn its trust and strengthen your bond.

Brush Your Cat

Brushing keeps your cat's hair clean and tangle-free - most cats like being brushed. However, you should make sure that you are using the right brush and technique. If your cat has long hair, you will need to brush it two or three times a week, otherwise once a week should be fine. If your cat slips out from under your hands while brushing, don't force it and try some other time again.

Get Your Cat Special Scratching Surfaces

No matter what you do, your cat will scratch any surface in sight. It is a natural behavior that it can't control. If you want to protect your furniture and keep it scratch-free, get your cat special scratchy mats and balls that you can find at the pet store.

Once a Year Bath is Enough for Your Cat

Cats can take care of their hygiene without any help from you. Unless they get dirty or smell bad for some reason, you only need to bathe them once or twice a year. When you do, make sure you use special cat shampoo, then towel dry, and lastly, give it a good brush to look fresh and clean.

Cats Love to Have Access to Nature

Filling your house with plants and drawing the curtains open in the morning will soothe your cat and will help make it feel relaxed. If you want, you can check with the vet if your cat needs any vaccinations so you can take it for outdoor walks.

Always Have Treats

Reward your cat for good behavior with delicious treats to encourage it to keep up this behavior. You can find cat treats at any vet store, while you're there, see if you can find special cat grass, some cats like to nibble on greens like catnip. However, cats react differently to catnip, so make sure it doesn't make your cat go crazy before you decide to grow it at home.

Cats are usually low-maintenance pets; it doesn't take much to care for them. However, they do have their quirky behaviors that can test your patience in the beginning. Take the time to get to know your cat's traits so you can keep it happy and healthy. With the help of this guide, you will easily navigate your new life as a fur parent.

3 Min Read
Business

Five Essential Lessons to Keep in Mind When You're Starting Your Own Business

"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told at my dismissal, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Over the years, I've learned quite a few tough lessons about how to successfully run a business. Below are five essential elements to keep in mind, as well as my story on how I learned them.

Find A Need And Fill It

I gradually became successful at selling various products, which unfortunately weren't profitable enough to get me off the ground, so I asked people what they needed that they couldn't seem to get. One man said, "Honey, I need baler wire. Even the farmers can't get it." I saw happy dollar signs as he talked on and dedicated myself to figuring out the baler wire industry.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up.

Now forty-five years later, I'm proud to be the founder of Vulcan Wire, Inc., an industrial baler wire company with $10 million of annual sales.

Have Working Capital And Credit

There were many pitfalls along the way to my eventual success. My daughters and I were subsisting from my unemployment checks, erratic alimony and child-support payments, and food stamps. I had no money stashed up to start up a business.

I paid for the first wire with a check for which I had no funds, an illegal act, but I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I made a deposit to cover the deficit before the bank received the check. My expectation was that I'd receive payment immediately upon delivery, for which I used a rented truck.

Little did I know that this Fortune 500 company's modus operandi was to pay all bills thirty or more days after receipts. My customer initially refused to pay on the spot. I told him I would consequently have to return the wire, so he reluctantly decided to call corporate headquarters for this unusual request.

My stomach was in knots the whole time he was gone, because he said it was iffy that corporate would come through. Fifty minutes later, however, he emerged with a check in hand, resentful of the time away from his busy schedule. Stressed, he told me to never again expect another C.O.D. and that any future sale must be on credit. Luckily, I made it to the bank with a few minutes to spare.

Know Your Product Thoroughly

I received a disheartening phone call shortly thereafter: my wire was breaking. This horrible news fueled the fire of my fears. Would I have to reimburse my customer? Would my vendor refuse to reimburse me?

My customer told me to come over and take samples of his good wire to see if I might duplicate it. I did that and educated myself on the necessary qualities.

My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Voila! I found another wire supplier that had the right specifications. By then, I was savvy enough to act as though they would naturally give me thirty-day terms. They did!

More good news: My customer merely threw away all the bad wire I'd sold him, and the new wire worked perfectly; he then gave me leads and a good endorsement. I rapidly gained more wire customers.

Anticipate The Dangers Of Exponential Growth

I had made a depressing discovery. My working capital was inadequate. After I purchased the wire, I had to wait ten to thirty days for a fabricator to get it reconfigured, which became a looming problem. It meant that to maintain a good credit standing, I had to pay for the wire ten to thirty days before my customers paid me.

I was successful on paper but was incredibly cash deprived. In other words, my exponentially growing business was about to implode due to too many sales. Eventually, my increasing sales grew at a slower rate, solving my cash flow problem.

Delegate From The Bottom Up

I learned how to delegate and eventually delegated myself out of the top jobs of CEO, President, CFO, and Vice President of Finance. Now, at seventy-eight years old, I've sold all but a third of Vulcan's stock and am semi-retired with my only job currently serving as Vice President of Stock and Consultant.

In the interim, I survived many obstacles and learned many other lessons, but hopefully these five will get you started and help prevent some of you from having the same struggles that I did. And in the end, I figured it all out, just like you will.