10 Important Things to Keep in Mind for New Cat Owners
Congratulations! You’ve decided to adopt a cat. However, owning a cat also brings with it a lot of parenting responsibilities, so here are the things first time cat owners should know.
Go through these tips for new cat owners before you bring your new companion home. Cats can make a great companion but there’s a lot to do other than purring and cuddling it.
If you are a new cat owner, you might have a lot of questions on how to care for your pet, how to feed it, play with it and so on. Once you are familiar with the feeding, litter boxes, healthcare and grooming, all you need to do is to love your cat and have fun with it.
So, let’s start with the basic tips every cat owner should know.
Read: Sick Cat Symptoms: How to Know When Your Cat is Sick
Are You a New Cat Owner? Follow These Important Tips for First Time Cat Owners
Choosing a Cat That’s Right for You: Cat Adoption
Of course, it’s a personal choice, but there are some lifestyle aspects you might want to factor in. Don’t rush into it.
- Consider your family lifestyle before bringing home your new pet. For instance, do you or family members have the time to groom a Persian or a Himalayan with long hair?
Can you take care of purebred cats or is mixed breed better for you? Purebreds cost more unless you go to a rescue organization. Consider long and short fur; male or female; and so on.
Tip: When considering cats for sale, there are over 70 breeds to select from!
- Cats and Kittens: Do you want a cat or a kitten? Are there very young children in your family? If so, kittens are not a good choice, as they are fragile and kids are rather rough. You can see the personality and traits of adult cats better, as it has already developed. Also, all basic vaccinations would have been completed. Do your homework. Visit websites and local shelters to find the perfect cat/kitten.
Cat Litter Box
- Getting a Cat? Select the right litter. You can opt for scoopable litter, which can have a soft and sandy texture. Opt for unscented litter.
- If you’re a first time cat owner, buy 1 litter box and keep a spare one. There are many types of litter boxes, such as self cleaning ones, hooded boxes or just plain plastic boxes.
- Clean the box at least twice in a day or whenever you notice Wash it with warm water and soap and fill it with clean litter at least once a month.
- When you have cats at home, place the litter box in the hallway, the bedroom or even in the living room.
Read: Aggression in Cats: How to Effectively Handle an Aggressive Cat
First Time Cat Owners’ Guide: Food for Your Cat
The food you select will have a great impact on your cat’s health, so make sure that the best cat food you select is nutritious and suitable for the cat breed; age; weight; activity level and so on.
- Find out the kind of food the breeder, cat home or cat shelter was feeding it and continue with it before transitioning into your new food plan. Make the transition slow.
- Kittens and cats need different types of diet. As for kittens, you can feed them with kitten formula.
Tip: If there are any health issues, consult your vet to select the right food.
- You can buy some canned food or wet food from pet food stores, either in the form of chunks; slices; minced; pate etc; but remember to refrigerate the leftovers. Read the ingredients and select one that primarily contains meat.
Tip: Never substitute dog food for your cat!
Cleaning and Other Supplies
Keep all supplies ready before you bring your new pet home. Pets are messy and it can be quite challenging to clean up.
- Buy a cat carrier/crate. Select a sturdy one with good ventilation. A cardboard one is not a good idea! Go in for a plastic one having a locking door. Cover the base with a towel or some soft material.
- Buy heavy bottomed bowls for food and water, so that it doesn’t tip. Opt for small, shallow bowls for a kitten. Place it away from the litter box and clean it every day.
- You can also prepare a soft, warm cat bed.
- Be prepared with paper towels; dish soap; pet odor neutralizers; towels; brushes; lint removers; stain removers and so on.
Make sure that your cat has proper licensing in your city, and wears it on its collar. You can order a license online for cat ownership.
- Licenses are useful for quickly finding your pet if it gets lost.
- In order to get a cat license, it must have a rabies vaccine certificate.
Also See: 8 Top Reasons Why Your Cat May Be Meowing Continually
Collars and Identification
ID tags and microchips are important identification marks for your cat and can be a life saver. If people find your cat without a collar tag, they might consider it abandoned and give it up at a cat rescue center. If your cat goes missing, your chances of finding it are slim unless you have an identification tag.
- Buy one that comes with a breakaway buckle, so test this buckle and see it functions properly.
- The collar should fit snugly, not too loose and not too tight either. Test it on your cat and watch him wearing it for an hour.
- Opt for collar tags that come clip on to the collar.
- You can also opt for a microchip, so that you can easily get reunited with your cat. Animal shelters and control officers will find it easier to find her and reunite it with the owner.
Cat Grooming Supplies
There are many cat grooming tools available in the market. Check out these important supplies.
- For proper cat care, buy nail clippers as cats have a natural tendency to scratch. Select guillotine or cat claw ones that prevent accidents.
- Select a grooming brush to suit your cat’s hair, whether long or short. There are different types, like hard, soft, wired and pin bristles.
- Grooming gloves for massaging the skin.
- Learn how to use a fine tooth comb on your cat’s coat.
- Get a toothbrush and paste, as your cat also needs proper dental care. Use it about 3 times a week.
- Disposable pet wipes, sprays to be used instead of a bath. They keep the coat shiny and are safe.
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Training, Exercise and Entertainment
Cats don’t exercise as readily as a dog, but you can use these strategies to keep your pet active and healthy.
- Try getting your cat to play with a partner, by introducing cats.
- Check out these online cat towers, which is useful for a good workout.
- Use toys to make them play. It could be ping pong balls or even some household objects, to make them run about and exercise.
Also Read: Understanding the Death Rattle in Cats: Symptoms and Causes
Veterinary Care/Health of Your Cat
Make sure your cat gets routine health check ups.
- Check out the health of your cat before you bring her home. Healthy cats have clear and bright eyes with no tearing. Runny eyes could mean a respiratory infection.
- Ears should be clean with no discharge.
- Mouth and gums must be pink without any sores.
- Coat must be glossy without dandruff, parasites, bare spots or dry skin.
- The belly must not be protruding, nor should it be too thin.
- It should be bright, active, friendly, not lethargic or sleepy all the time.
- Follow safety concerns when visiting the vet. Put your cat in a carrier when you take it to the vet.
- Take all basic information, such as medications, doses, the kind of food, toilet habits, medical records, vaccine history and so on.
- Be prepared to call your vet for emergencies like bleeding; limping; eating problems; coughing or other types of medical problems.
Things could go wrong and your cat could develop some unwanted cat behavior problems.
Tip: Take your car to the vet in order to rule out any medical causes.
- Your cat could be avoiding the litter box. Find the true cause and try to solve it.
- Indiscriminate urination or spraying. Maybe it finds the litter box unappealing or some other environmental stress factor.
- Scratching of the furniture. This is normal but your cat needs proper training to stop this behavior.
- Aggressive behavior. Understand your cat’s body language and look for warning signals.
- Stress or fear. It could be due to pain, illness, stressful living condition, noise, new cat rehoming environment and so on.
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Last Word for First Time Cat Owners
Now that you’ve gone through this first time cat owner checklist, you are ready for your new cat’s homecoming.
- Bring her home confidently in her new carrier.
- Take her directly to her room. Don’t expose her immediately to the family, but do it slowly naturally.
- Remind your family of the ground rules of behavior with the cat. Let her get acquainted with you slowly. She might be frightened and retreat and not come out all day. Give her time. Be patient.
- Take her to the vet for the first wellness check up. Get all immunizations done.
- Start enjoying your time with the new feline member of your family!!!