So you decided to get a pet cat (a great decision by the way!) and you’re nervous because you never had one before. Well look further, here are some tips for first-time cat owners need to remember before bringing their cat home:
Consider Your Situation
Assess your situation first before getting a cat. For instance, are you currently living alone or are you living with family? Are you staying in a house or are you currently renting an apartment? Are you away from your home a lot? Do you have young children around? The list goes on. While cats are fairly independent creatures, they still require attention and affection which is why we need to consider how they would fit in our daily lifestyle.
Cat-Proof Your Home
Once you are certain that you are bringing a cat home, make sure to cat-proof your home. This includes keeping counters and other surfaces clean and free from sharp objects that could potentially harm your cat. Make sure you’re not keeping any dangerous plants around and put away your valuable items or at least at a place where your cat can’t reach them.
Invest In Essential Items
Some essential items include cat food, food bowls, collars, a cat carrier, name tags, a personal litter box, kitty litter, a scratching post, a cat bed, shampoo, a brush, and toys. For future cat owners who are on a budget, you can make your very own DIY cat toys to entertain your feline friends.
Get Them Vaccinated
If you’re adopting a cat from a shelter, remember to ask the stuff whether your cat is vaccinated and whether they give out regular vaccinations. For kittens who are not from shelters (i.e. bought from pet shops or if you have taken in a stray), consider putting aside a budget so you can get them vaccinated at a clinic. Some essential kitten vaccinations include prevention from feline rhinotracheitis, feline panleukopenia (FVRCP), and feline calicivirus. For adult cats, make sure to consult with your veterinarian on the proper vaccination schedule for your pet.
Once your house is ready for your feline friend, make sure to watch them over with patience and understanding. For cats, living in a new environment can be a stressful situation which is why it is important to provide a safe haven for them.
Upon arriving home, try to set up a small room that will serve as their “first” territory. This can be any small, quiet room like a small bedroom, a small corner at the living room, or a walk-in closet. Keep your cat in the carrier while you set up their safe space and allow them to get used to their surroundings. Remember to put everything the cat needs within their space like their litter box, food, and water, toys, scratching post, bed, and other essentials. Once you are done preparing their room/spot, open the carrier and let your cat decide whether they should explore or not. Remember not to force them to do something they aren’t prepared to do since cats usually have an adjustment period of a few days or more. Once they are used to their room or “spot”, open some doors to let them explore other places in your home.
Taking care of a cat is a big responsibility although the rewards are great! Once you are able to introduce your pet into your new home, you’ll find that it’s relatively easy to become a cat parent. Always remember to search for additional cat care tips and take time a veterinarian or a cat behaviour expert for additional tips.