Getting a new cat is exciting and one of the great joys of life. They provide love and affection, make great companions, and are ideal pets. They require less maintenance as compared to dogs. They have a long life span and can live up to 15 years. Studies have proven that cats provide health benefits to their owners for example lower blood pressure and risk of a heart attack. However, it is important to be well-prepared before getting a new cat so that you can provide them the warmth and affection they deserve.
Things to consider before bringing a new cat
- Before getting a new cat make sure your home is spacious enough to accommodate a cat and allow her to provide an adequate territory.
- If you already have some pets, make sure they are not suffering from any chronic illness because getting a new feline family member would add stress and more health problems.
- Involve your family members and make sure that they are willing to take responsibility for having a feline family member.
- Cats have a long life span and having a cat can be a long-term commitment. Make sure you are prepared for such a type of commitment.
- Research about the financial cost of having a budget because the first year of adoption can be expensive as it involves spaying, vaccinations, deworming, and other routine checkups. If you are adopting an older cat, it will require more veterinary care. Make sure you can afford these expenses.
- You need to consider your lifestyle if it is suitable to adopt a cat because although they are quite independent creatures, they still require your time, companionship, and affection. If you have a full-time job or travel a lot you should re-consider before committing.
- If you are confused about whether to choose a kitten or a cat, you need to know that kittens are far more demanding than a cat in terms of time, energy, and affection. If you have a busy lifestyle, it is recommended to adopt kittens in pairs as they do not like to be left alone.
Only if you are prepared for the commitment, you can ensure a loving relationship with your cat.
Preparing your home ready for getting a cat
To make your cat feel comfortable and safe in your home, make sure your home is cat-ready. You can start by making a cat room that has all the cat essentials. Here’s is a list of several things you need to consider.
There are several types of foods available to choose from. Initially, you need to stick to the same kind of diet, your pet was having in the shelter home or pet store. Providing her the same diet gives comfort to the cat as she is adjusting to the new home. Depending on the age of the cat, the food may differ because kittens have specialized food that helps in growth while senior cats require a formulated diet that is specially made for older cats.
Cats love naps and sleep about 15 hrs. per day on average so providing them a cozy place would surely help them to stay happy. Warm and soft bedding helps your kitty fall asleep easily and enjoy naps. A cat bed should be placed at a place where your cat enjoys taking a nap. The size should be large enough that it has space for your cat to stretch out comfortably. It should be made of natural fabric which is breathable to minimize the risk of mold formation and odor. A minimalist bed with no ornaments and beads as they pose a risk of choking.
- Water and food bowls
Buying water and food bowls of the right size and material is important. Plastic bowls are common but your cat may be allergic to them and scratches in the plastics can become breeding ground for germs. Stainless steel bowls are considered safest because they are sturdy, unbreakable, and harmless to cats. Stainless-steel along with ceramics material bowls are recommended by veterinarians. Keeps them clean by washing them by running them through a dishwasher. The size of the bowl should be large enough to hold a meal portion of the diet for your cat. Choose a bowl that is shallow and has a minimum chance of tipping over. They should be placed away from litter trays.
- Scratching posts
Scratching is a cat’s instinct and to help with this urge, they need to have a scratching post. It provides them a vigorous activity and makes it easier to adjust to a new home. Scratching posts should have a sturdy base and be tall enough that your cat is able to stand on it with its hind limbs. This also keeps your furniture safe from scratches. Place the scratching post inside the home in a place that your cat visits frequently. Top spots may be near the litter trays or near furniture. You need to replace the stretching post with a new one when your cat has shredded its material.
- Litter boxes
There is a variety of litter boxes available from a self-cleaning litter box to a hooded litter box. The litter box should be spacious enough that your cat is able to fit inside it with some spare space. There should be more than one litter box even if you have only one cat. Place litter box far away from food and water bowls in a quiet and accessible location, preferably in your own bathroom but the door should be open if it is not being used. Clay litter should be replaced twice a week but if you clean the litter box regularly, you only need to replace clumping every 2-3 weeks. If you have more than one litter boxes, they should not be placed next to each other.
- Nail trimmers
Although scratching the surfaces keeps the cat’s nails in shape and they need nail trimming very occasionally but it is important to keep them healthy. However, it can be a stressful job to trim the nails because the cat can be uncooperative. If you feel you might hurt your cat in the process, a nail grinder can help. The nail grinder grinds down the nail with its head while rotating at high speed.
Play is a vital activity for cats as it provides them a stimulating environment and can be an outlet for their energy. It is important for you to provide them with toys that are safe for them to play with. Keeps things away that your cat can chew on and make your cat choke for example plastic bags. Provide them a variety of toys and change them after some time because cats get bored.
- Collar and ID tag
Even if your cat is indoor, you need to have a collar and ID tag in case your cat gets escaped. The collar should be loose enough so that it does not irritate your cat’s neck.
You need to have all the above-mentioned essentials before getting a cat to help your pet adjusting faster to a new home.
Here are some tips for new cat owners.
Make your cat feel secure
Provide your cat with a safe room in the start where she can feel safe and secure. It can help her to get adjusted to the new environment by getting familiar with the scent of the house. Place comfy bedding and some toys in the room.
Provide them healthy and well-balanced food
Providing your cat with healthy, well-balanced, and quality food is vital in maintaining a healthy weight. Do thorough research on ingredients of the food and if they meet the cat’s needs. Cat food can vary depending upon the age and health of the cat so it is advised to consult a vet before choosing a diet. Also, ask for the amount and frequency of feeding.
Have multiple and suitable water bowls and food dishes if you have more than one cats, this will minimize the risk of disease transmission if present.
Handling the Litter box
Fill the litter box about 2-3 inches and not more than that because too much litter will end up outside the tray. Also, it should not be too little to absorb the urine. It is important to clean the litter box at least once a day and deep clean once a day. Having one litter box per cat and an additional one is recommended.
Grooming your cat
Grooming is important because it increases blood circulation and promotes healthy coats and skin. Grooming your cat includes regular brushing, trimming, and bathing when required. Brushing is recommended once or twice per week while nail trimming should be done once a month.
Enjoy playtime with your cat
Cats love to play as it keeps their mind occupied and improves their socializing skills. Playing and interacting with them will help you to bond with your cat.
Cat treats help you to bond with your pet and can be given as a reward. However, they should be given occasionally because they are high in calories and can cause obesity.
Choose a good veterinarian
It is important to choose a vet before bringing your cat home. Look for a vet that seems friendly, warm, and disciplined. It is better to visit the clinic beforehand to notice if their office is clean and well-organized. Also. Inquire about the services they are providing.
Neutering is mandatory if you do not want your cat to breed. It is recommended to get them neutered when they are about six weeks.
Visit your vet to get your cat vaccinated to protect them from some serious diseases like cat flu and feline enteritis.
Things to avoid
Here are some common mistakes that are made by new owners but should be avoided.
- Do not buy a cat impulsively. Make sure you have done your homework and are ready for a long-term commitment.
- Do not give your food dry food because dry food usually contains unhealthy fillers that are not recommended. Moreover, cats do not need plenty of water to drink as they get it from the food they eat.
- Avoid giving your cat food that is toxic to their health.
- Cats do not use litter trays and can relieve themselves anywhere when the litter box is dirty and stinky so make sure you clean it daily.
- Although cats spend most of their time grooming themselves, they still need grooming by the owner. This includes brushing the coat once in a while and bathing when required. You need to take proper care of dental hygiene because they are susceptible to developing periodontal diseases.
- Not getting your cat neutered can turn out to be the biggest problem because it can result in spraying and an increase in population.
- Do not let your cat roam around outside without your supervision as this poses them to certain health risks such as exposure to viruses and pathogens. Moreover, they can get lost outside.
- Not training your cat to use a litter box can leave you in trouble because they can relieve themselves anywhere in the house. You need to train them about its location and how to use it.
- Sharp and long claws are not only painful to the cat but they also pose a serious threat to your family because they are quite sharp and can harm them so, it is important to get them trimmed regularly.
- If you find any unusual signs and symptoms for example change in behavior and diet pattern, do not ignore them as they can be a sign of any serious underlying health issue, and detecting them earlier can benefit the health of your cat.
- Even if your cat is indoors, it needs regular health checkups that include blood work and evaluation of its overall health.
- Do not be harsh while training your cat as felines are sensitive and raising a voice on them can make them turn away from you that will make you deprive you of their affection and companionship.