What To Know If You’re a First-Time Cat Owner

First of all, congratulations on inviting a new furry friend into your home! Having a cat is a great addition to any animal-lover’s life. They are full of personality, relatively low-maintenance, and always entertaining. If you’ve never had a cat before, there are a few things that you should know so that you can be prepared to give your kitty the best quality of life and make things easier for yourself as well. Once you’ve read this article, check out The Cost of a Cat, our article on how to budget for your new pet.

cat with shopping cart top view isolated on whiteBasic Needs: You’ll need to pick up your kitty starter-kit, complete with food, litter, a litter box, and a few other basic accessories. You can purchase all of this at a pet store, or online. You’ll need to pick out the right type of litter for you and your cat. A great addition to your cat’s potty-zone is a litter mat.

A litter mat is usually made of stringy plastic and is to be placed right outside the door to the litter box, similar to a welcome mat at your own home. When kitty hops out of the box, they’ll track the excess litter into the litter mat instead of all over your floor.

The next basic need to attend to is food. You may want to purchase a food bowl designated specifically for pets. There are pet bowls that provide a variety of benefits, making feeding time cleaner and easier. You will want to pick up a bowl with a no-slip base, and possibly a tray to put kitty’s water and food bowl on to help with mess. Some cats are clean eaters, and others seem to have a party each time they have a meal, complete with kibble confetti. You won’t know until your furbaby has arrived whether they’re a tidy Teddy or a messy Mimi. There are also timed feeders that you can have set to distribute food to your cat at home if you’ll be away for long hours during the day.

Woman grooming catUpkeep: Cats, just like any other living creature, require some upkeep. Whether your cat is long or short-haired, you’ll want to regularly brush with a cat-brush. Almost all breeds of cats shed and the best way to combat this is with regular brushing. Most cats actually enjoy being brushed, so this can be looked at as upkeep as well as a bonding experience for the two of you. Cats love to groom, and now you’ll be a part of that special routine of theirs.

You’ll also need to try to incorporate brushing your cat’s teeth into your routine. Veterinarians suggest brushing your cat’s teeth each day, but if your kitty isn’t having it, we’ve come up with some great alternatives to brushing. Oral hygiene is one of the most important things to keep up with regarding your cat, as oral hygiene issues can quickly escalate and become much bigger problems down the road.

Cost: When bringing a kitty into your home, it’s important to be prepared for the finances that come with a cat. You’ll need to be financially prepared to take your cat to veterinarian check-ups, provide food for them every day, and other expenses that are required when inviting a pet into your home. You’ll want to make sure that your cat is adequately protected against fleas, rabies, and other issues. For our definitive guide on the cost of a cat, click here.

Dangers: Cats are smart animals, but that doesn’t mean that accidents don’t happen. You’ll need to cat-proof your home for your new pet to safely roam freely when you’re at home and away from home. This requires making sure that there is nothing that could fall and hurt your cat, or that your cat could get into and hurt themselves or get sick. Certain plants and foods are toxic to cats, which you can read about extensively here. Cats are naturally curious, so if you have any surfaces that hold delicate objects, you’ll want to make some changes.

Cats can certainly be trained to stay off of the counters, but when you leave the house, you never know what will happen. Since cats don’t respond to negative reinforcement, it will save you time and energy to simply make your house cat-friendly as opposed to trying to train your cat to avoid dangers. Luckily, cats are less rambunctious when left alone as opposed to their canine counterparts, so you most likely won’t have a problem like coming home to the garbage spread all over. If your cat does seem to have destructive tendencies while you’re away, they may be exhibiting symptoms of loneliness. Check out our article here to figure out whether your cat is lonely, bored, or if there may be another issue.

Couple Taking Playing With Pet Cat At HomeKitten vs. Cat: When choosing to adopt your new pet, you’ll need to decide whether you want a cat or a kitten. There are benefits to both, but we highly suggest adopting an adult cat for a variety of reasons. Adult cats are calmer, more predictable, and in some cases, more affordable. Check out our article on why adopting an adult cat might be the right choice for you here.

Patience: Cats provide so many benefits to a pet-owners’ life, from their cuddles, to their companionship, to their aesthetically-pleasing looks that compliment any home. It is important to remember, however, that cats are still living creatures that have a curious and playful nature. If your cat has a habit that you aren’t happy with, you can’t expect them to change overnight. Changing a behavior takes time, patience, and creativity.

If you are meticulous about your home and couldn’t imagine how angry you’d be if your cat accidentally knocked over a lamp or plant, you might want to hold off on having a pet. However, the love that you have for your pet will surprise you and could help teach you patience. A cat is a great pet to start out with, especially if you think you want a dog down the road. Proving to yourself that you can take care of another living creature with love and compassion can help you learn more about yourself and companionship.