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.
As you may or may not know, there is a special haven for cats and cat lovers in Japan that lets you enjoy both felines and serenity. It almost sounds like heaven – blue skies, the lapping shores, a kazillion cats, and a peaceful life. This special place is called Aoshima, also best known as Cat Island for those who heard of it. If you dream to be surrounded by cats, then this place exists for you.
If you want to know why it’s called Cat Island, it has more cat residents than humans in the entire vicinity of the island. This fishing village only has a hundred residents and almost six times more cats lazing around the harbour and even on the rooftops. Expect them to welcome you as soon as you arrive by lazing on the wooden boards of the pier.
Before, this small fishing village rarely gets visitors, but as time passed and technology progressed, the word spreads like wildfire and eventually grabs attention worldwide and gets the love it deserves. This island now open its doors to cat lovers around the world and let them play with the healthy strays around them. While it may only be allowed for just a day trip, it is still a place you need to visit if you ever dreamed of petting an entire army of cats.
Before you get concerned about their living conditions, you should know that they are well taken care of by the residents, specifically the kind village nurse Atsuko Ogata. She makes sure that the cats are fed and taken care of. These cats may look like they dislike the affection and cuddles, but they demand your pats and kisses as well. If you happen to carry snacks with you, expect a pounce from them in a playful manner.
With just 15 people as permanent residents, these cats make streets feel less lonely and living there feel more like a bliss. There are no really strict rules during your visit, provided you be on your best behaviour and never harm any of the residents – cats and humans alike. Like your average cats, they love playing and getting affection from people.
While there is no clear declaration in terms of adopting a cat from the island, you can spend a day with them by playing, cuddling, or feeding them. They are used to people despite the small population of people they are used to. They can be extremely friendly and might even leap on your lap while you relax in parks and such. So if you ever find yourself in Japan, make sure you drop by this place and enjoy the company of these friendly felines!
Identifying whether a cat is in pain can be very tricky. After all, thousands of years of evolution have made them experts at masking pain. This is to protect them for would-be predators who would like to take advantage of their weakened state, and to attract (or fend off) potential mates.
The only time pain becomes noticeable in cats is when it’s become too excruciating. People usually notice it when it’s already too late, and you wouldn’t want that. To help you spot that your cat is in pain, we’ve prepared some tell-tale signs that could mean they’re in pain.
Difficulty in Moving
Cats that suddenly stop moving around, or hasn’t been playful that much, is to be considered a red flag. If they’re displaying trouble jumping, or lameness, then you should definitely have a vet check on them. Although it could simply be a minor injury, there’s also a possibility that the feline could be suffering from more than just that. Make sure they’re safe by consulting a vet, so they could be examined and diagnosed properly.
Declining Appetite and Activity
Is your cat spending more time hiding than playing and eating? Then this could mean that they are probably experiencing some kind of pain. Just like how humans lose appetite and tend to stay in bed when they’re sick, or experiencing discomfort, cats eat and play less too. You might notice that they tend to stay in places where they can remain hidden, or they tend to sleep more than usual.
No Longer Cleans Themselves
Our feline companions love to clean themselves, and most of them even do so after every meal. They like to lick their paws, clean their furs a bit, and lie down after. However, a total absence of grooming, or focused grooming of a specific area, is considered as a sign of pain. Observe your cat’s behavioural pattern, and if you see a change in this, then it’s best to consult a vet.
A Switch in Litter-Box Habits
Most of the time, cats are pretty consistent when it comes to their litter-box habits. A change in their routine about this can either mean two things: The litter-box needs to be changed, or they’re experiencing some kind of discomfort that forces them to change habits. For example, cats that are straining to urinate could possibly have an inflamed bladder, or a urinary tract obstruction.
Unusual Change in Mood or Behaviour Towards People
Anything out of the ordinary, in terms of mood or behaviour (especially towards people), should be discussed with a vet. Your cat could be experiencing something they can’t tell you, and their change in temperament is the only way for them to cry for help.
Don’t ignore these simple signs and shrug them off as nothing. Keep in mind that some of the most serious illnesses start out as minor ones that dangerously escalate to a life-threatening level. Notice these early signs of pain, and help your cat find a cure for it.
We constantly want to show everyone how much we love them. This is why we choose to buy gifts like chocolates, flowers, and other items. Sometimes, we send them a quick text message, or send them a chat, telling them to take care and that we love them. These are just some of the ways that we show our love for them, and that they are important to us.
However, our beloved feline companions do not speak our language. They are unable to make sense of the words that our voices utter. So, how do we show them that we love them? How do we express our deep appreciation and affection for them? Here’s how we can show love to our cats in a way that they’ll understand, and feel.
Train Your Cat
Although most people would say that cats are nearly impossible to train, this isn’t actually true. Many owners have trained their cats, teaching them how to perform simple commands and cool tricks. Spending some time and training your cat will help strengthen the bond that you have.
You should always provide your cat with a tasty cat treat, as a reward for a job done well. The rewards you give will help your cat rely on you, and see you as a provider. Someone who is always there to answer their needs, effectively turning the relationship to a mutual understanding full of love and care.
Head Bumps and Slow Blinks
Have you ever noticed how your cat bumps their unto your leg? Or how they slowly “blink,” or close their eyes while maintaining eye contact with you? If you didn’t already know, these gestures are actually their way of showing love.
Cats do head bumps in the wild to leave their scent and to mark territories, and family members, as theirs. If they do this to you, then that means you are considered a part of the ones they trust, and own. Slow blinking is a sign that they are totally comfortable being around you. So comfortable in fact, that they’re willing to close their eyes and allow themselves to be open for potential attacks.
Having a Cat Nap Together
The best way to show someone that you love them is by fully trusting them, despite the possibility of them hurting you. One of the highest forms of trust is by sleeping together, and leaving your most vulnerable state to their mercy. They could physically hurt you while you sleep, or break your trust by leaving you defenseless, yet you trust them not to do these things.
This is especially true for cats, who prefer to sleep in high places, away from would-be predators and attacks. But if they choose to snuggle up and sleep beside you, or on your lap, then this means they trust you in the highest sense of the word. Pay them back by reciprocating their trust, and allow yourself to drift off as well. Your cat will appreciate the fact that both of you trust each other, and are willing to be vulnerable together.
Despite the obstacles, we can still effectively show how much we love our cats. All you have to do is perform certain acts of service, change your body language, and share being vulnerable together. All of these factors will then help you build a better relationship with your cat, and finally be able to tell them “I love you,” in a way they’ll understand.
Like humans, cats and dogs have feelings too. They honestly feel betrayed when abandoned in the streets or simply left alone when their original owners move out. There are times wherein a cat refuses to leave the house because they honestly believe that their original owners will come back for them. They will patiently wait by the door that will never open, excited to hear a voice that will never be heard.
Cats are endearing animals, they will mark you and show you affection as much as how you show them. They will eventually show you their love and loyalty if they feel like their feelings are reciprocated. There are also reasons why you should consider adopting instead of getting a new cat from the pet store. Check these out to know:
There are dozens of homeless cats out there. If you look hard enough, you will notice tiny critters shielding themselves from the cold in the middle of a storm or winter. They are all homeless and are struggling to survive day to day just looking for food.
Even obtaining warmth is a luxury for them, and those cats who end up in shelters gets queued up for euthanasia if they are deemed undesirable. By adopting kittens and cats in a shelter, you are giving them a second chance in life and another go for love they deserve.
Most of these cats are old and sick. Isn’t it a bit brutal to leave a cat because it’s old or has defects? They are living in such poor conditions in the center and they usually die from it or get weak.Since the allure of adopting an old cat is not as high as the kitten, they usually get scared alone in cages and stressed out mingling with other cats.
By adopting an old or a sickly cat, you might even make their lifespan stretch a bit more and even make them feel happiness and belongingness in a short while before they expire. They deserve proper care before they go somewhere they can finally rest.
Someone to come home to. Since most cats in the shelter are adults, they are actually more tame and smart than kittens. Imagine them as humans – kittens are babies that needs playing and lots of attention while an adult cat like an adult human would simply be satisfied with your cuddles and subtle pats.
They also don’t chew and scratch in random places like how kittens are as they are past that stage and are smarter with their actions. They can even curl up on your lap and somewhat hear what you have to say.
Better for kids. Since they are wiser and more mellow, they are actually better for your kiddies as they won’t get too rough during playtime. They are also have low energy levels so don’t expect them to pounce whenever the opportunity presents itself. They are also very quiet and more timid – no swinging from the chandelier and slashing curtains with their claws.
They don’t really take too much supervision and they rarely make messes as they have been taught in the past. They also cuddle with your babies and purr with contentment as well, how nice is that?
Mostly, these cats don’t choose to be abandoned – they don’t usually cause trouble and are often left confused and scared. There are even harsher instances when mama cats are separated from their kittens because they are cuter and fluffier, which is a disappointment. They deserve more love they get until they move on to the good place.
Our definition of a cat’s ideal life may include chasing around mouses, exploring the nooks and crannies of the area they live in, and lazing under the sun as they lie down atop crisp grasses. Well, that does sound like a feline living in paradise. A paradise made of fun, freedom and the outdoors. Being collared, cats might forget how they should be or how they should act upon natural instincts.
But should our beloved feline companions truly live that way? Are we really doing what is best for them when we allow them to roam outside freely? Is it absolutely in our cat’s best interest to venture outside despite the dangers they are likely to encounter?
If you are renting, or living near a street where motor vehicles frequently pass through, then letting your furry buddy out might not be the best idea. Cats are generally jumpy and cautious creatures, making them react on reflex and impulse. This rushed reaction often works with other animals, but could spell disaster when it comes to automobiles.
Unfortunately, cats getting run over happens quite a lot in urban areas and results are rarely pleasant. A cat getting hit by a car will almost surely perish. Their size also makes it very difficult for drivers to see them and when they do notice the cat, it is often already too late.
Extreme Weather Conditions and Parasites
Cats that are used to being outdoors aren’t safe from extreme weather conditions. Rain and snow are perilous climates and without shelter, they would either succumb to the elements, or be in great danger. This is especially fatal for kittens, whose bodies still haven’t fully developed yet.
Parasites are also going to take advantage of the fact that your cat is outside and making itself vulnerable. Ticks and fleas are the number one freeloaders that would latch themselves on to your adorable bundle of fur. Not only would they cause discomfort, and most likely pain, for your cat, they would also be invading your house after being brought in by your feline friend.
Other Cats and Animals
As if automobiles, parasites and weather conditions aren’t trouble enough, your fluffy pal has to deal with their own species too. It’s not uncommon for other cats to fight each other, an encounter that could possibly lead to injuries. If you have a female cat who is not spayed, there’s a high chance that she’ll get pregnant too.
A male cat who isn’t neutered will keep on spraying urine inside and outside your home, to mark its territory and possibly attract females. There’s also the possibility of encountering different types of animals, like raccoons, who could be carrying with them deadly diseases. Your cat could contract feline distemper, feline leukemia virus, and the dreaded rabies virus.
Giving our cats the freedom to explore and satisfy their curiosity isn’t wrong. We just have to be careful on how we let them do it, so they would be put in harm’s way. It’s best to keep them inside where it is safer for them. You can help them have more fun by installing cat perches, making catios and making your house more interesting.