So, you have decided to bring a feline friend home, right? Congratulations on that wise decision. You will find it interesting to live with a cat. However, to reap the full benefits of being a cat parent you need to be well-prepared for the task. Living with cats is easy but you will need to bear some considerations in mind. What do you need to know as a first-time cat owner?
Your Home Needs to be Made Cat-friendly Intentionally
A cat-friendly home is safe for cats to live in, play, and eat. Naturally, the human home is not ideal for cats. It will take some effort if you want to make your cat feel at home. Understand that some of the commonly used household items may be poisonous to cats. Keep detergents, chemicals, and medication away in locked cabinets. Your cat will easily get on countertops and while here they can knock over items causing them to spill. Licking these spilled items may cause harm to a cat.
There are many cat poisons that may be found in the home. Keep everything that may harm a cat away. Make sure to read up on common cat poisons such as foods and flowers. Many common flowers can be life-threatening to cats.
Electric cords need to be secured in place and windows need to be locked. This will prevent the cat from causing damage or getting injured.
Never let your cat outside without a harness and leash! Some cat owners make the mistake of letting their cats outside. This is an irresponsible practice that could threaten your cat’s life.
Cats are Carnivores
Cats are not like human beings in that they do not need a balanced diet to survive. In fact, they are obligate carnivores. This means that all they need for survival are meat products. Anything else in their diet is just unnecessary filler.
When shopping for cat food, look for foods that are rich in meat proteins. There is no shortage of commercially available cat food. Just choose a good brand and your cat will be happy. You may also give occasional treats but these should not be given too often. Choose healthy treats like dried liver, apple slices, and chicken.
Cats should be served in designated food and water bowls. Keep these clean to avoid any health issues.
What Kind of Cat Should You Get?
When choosing a cat to join your family for the first time, checking their behavior is an important part of the decision process. While you will be able to assess the behavior of a cat in person it is also suggested to ask the shelter employee about their behavior and history. Look for breeds that make good family pets, are affectionate, and relatively lower maintenance such as Maine coons, British shorthairs, American shorthair, and Sphinx.
Getting one or two cats is best. Do not overdo it. Having too many cats can be overwhelming to an owner, and the cats. Like all animals, cats need ample space and adequate care. Make sure to consider other pets in the household before getting a cat. If you own dogs, it is best to get a cat who has been socialized with other dogs before.
A Cat’s Home Essentials
Just like you need a comfy bed to lay at night, your cat will need a nice place to lay when they are tired. Get a nice cat bed that is made of a comfortable and warm material. The bed may be open or closed depending on what the cat prefers. You can tell by asking the previous owner or shelter from which you are getting the cat.
In the home, cats will need to play. Make sure to get them plenty of toys to play with. They can play with all sorts of things from an old shoebox to catnip toys to squeaky toys. Cats love to play and you need to ensure they get plenty of it. A cat’s favorite game is scratching. Get them scratching posts. If you do not do this they will probably scratch your furniture and carpet. Place the scratchers in the parts of the home where cats will spend most of their time.
The litter box is another important part of a cat’s home. Get a box that is big enough and allows the cat to easily get inside. If you have several cats or one big cat, you should consider getting an extra-large litter box. This has both a top and sideways entrance so any cat will feel comfortable no matter what their preferred entrance is. The lid easily slides off to allow easy cleaning while the leak-proof base ensures no leakages occur.
Get a Vets Phone Number
Surely you must be having your physician’s phone number on your contact list. Similarly, you need to get a vet’s number now. Actually, you need to book an initial appointment for your new cat. Get them checked as soon as possible so you know how they are from the word go. There are many times when you will need a vet from now onwards, from emergencies that involve the cat eating things they shouldn’t to days when the cat just does not feel okay.
How can you find a good vet near you? Talk to friends and family about their recommendations. A cat specialist is a good choice but not necessary. Any qualified veterinarian will help your cat feel better when the need arises.
Veterinarian To-Do List
After getting your new friend, and setting up their first veterinarian appointment there are some things you will need to consider. Make sure to have your cat’s collar on, and have your travel carrier handy. You will want to choose a carrier that is appropriate for your cat’s size and gives them enough room. A collar is important to display their identification tags and proof of rabies vaccination.
If your cat has not yet been vaccinated for rabies (the shelter will provide you their medical records) you will want to get this situated right away. You will also want to get set up with parasite control such as Heartguard and flea and tick prevention. Most cats from a shelter are often already neutered, but if yours is not it is recommended to do so.
Never declaw your cat! Most places refuse to do this, but unfortunately, some still practice it. Declawing for cats is equivalent to cutting off the fingers by the first knuckle for humans. It is a cruel and painful experience for cats. Instead, speak to your veterinarian about having your cat’s claws trimmed and talk about how to train your cat to be comfortable with regular claw trimming at home.
You must be worried about many things as a new or prospective cat owner. You need to relax and be intentional about taking care of your new companion. With the above tips, you will do just great. Enjoy this amazing journey!
Please leave your tips in the comments. We look forward to them!