6 Valuable Tips for New Cat Owners
Once you get to know a cat, it becomes clear why these animals are one of the most popular pets on the planet. With fun personalities, loving attitudes, and a willingness to snuggle up with you to nap, cats make wonderful, loyal companions.
If you’re ready to welcome a kitty into your home but you’ve never had a pet cat before and you’re a little nervous or unsure about how to properly care for a feline, we’ve got a few tips that will make the adjustment and experience a smooth one. Once you get the hang of things, you’ll realize that cats are surprisingly easy to care for.
Make Time for Your Cat
A lot of people think that because cats can be pretty independent, they can just get a cat and basically ignore him for the most part, but the truth is that cats crave companionship and attention.
Before bringing a kitty home, be certain that you have the time to dedicate to playing with your cat, properly cleaning his litter box daily, grooming him, and spending some quality time petting him. A little bit of playtime every day, for example, can go a long way in preventing behavioral problems that result from pent-up energy and boredom.
Set Up a Litter Box
Purchase a litter box that’s large enough for your cat to comfortably stand in and move around in. And be prepared to test out different types of litter if your kitty doesn’t like your first choice. Place the box in a quiet area that’s easy for your cat to access.
By ensuring your cat has the right type of litter box and litter, and by scooping wastes out daily and replacing the litter regularly, your cat will be less likely to avoid using the litter box.
Provide the Right Nutrition
Cats are obligate carnivores, so choose a high quality cat food that will provide your kitty with plenty of animal protein, the right amount of healthy fats, and loads of nutrients that are properly balanced for feline wellness.
Many experts recommend avoiding potentially allergenic ingredients, such as grains that include soy, corn, and wheat, and they also recommend opting for foods that contain whole ingredients, as opposed to mystery meat by-products.
It’s also a good idea to provide plenty of wet food so your cat gets enough moisture right from his food, as this is natural for felines. You can certainly feed a mix of wet and dry food throughout the day, while also providing a bowl of fresh water daily as well.
There should be an emphasis upon good nutrition because it can lay the foundation for good health, regardless of your cat’s age. Work with your vet if you have any questions about what to feed your new kitty.
Scratching Posts and Trimming Claws
Your cat has a natural instinct to scratch things in his environment in order to mark territory, stretch, and get rid of the dead outer layer of the claws as they grow. You’ll need to provide your pet with plenty of scratching posts to prevent him from scratching your furniture. And simply trimming your cat’s claws regularly will also prevent scratches to your belongings and your skin.
Have Your Cat Examined by a Vet
Your cat should be evaluated by a vet prior to or shortly after you bring him home. Have him tested for diseases like Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), as well as for a variety of parasites. And have your kitty neutered or spayed at the appropriate age as well.
Consider Getting Your Cat a Buddy
If you spend a lot of time at work or away from home, consider getting your cat a buddy that he can spend time with. Take time to gradually introduce a new cat (after he’s been to the vet and gotten a clean bill of health) to your current feline companion so they can get to know each other slowly and become great friends that can keep each other company when you aren’t around.
Adopt, Don’t Shop
With so many cats and kittens of all breeds and personality types patiently waiting for their forever homes in shelters across the country, please consider adopting one (or two) of them, rather than shopping for a kitten, so that you can save a life.
Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.
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