You always knew you were a cat person. You religiously follow cats like Sam Has Eyebrows on Instagram, you’re a proud introvert, and you totally get Catwoman.
Whatever your reason may be, the time has finally come for you to adopt your first cat. Here are ten important tips for new cat parents that will enhance the fluffy and wonderful journey ahead!
1. Choose a good veterinarian and cat sitter.
One of the first things you’ll have to do is find a great veterinarian for your cat, preferably nearby. Ask your cat-owning friends for their local vet recommendations or check vet directory sites like BringFido. During your cat’s first check-up, be sure to ask if your vet notices anything about your cat’s health that you should be aware of.
Line up a local, loving pet sitter to watch your kitty while you’re away. You can also find an experienced cat sitter to do quick drop-in visits with your new pet, which is especially helpful when you work long hours. Pro tip: many of the sitters on Rover also sit cats.
2. Get your cat’s room ready.
The best way to help your new cat adjust nicely to your home is for him to get settled into a designated spot. This room or enclosed area should contain his litterbox, bed, food, and toys.
Cats typically need time to warm up to new people and environments so having a space set aside for your new feline family member is important, especially if you have other pets or children in your household.
3. Remember: it’s okay if your cat hides from you.
It’s normal for a cat to hide under the bed and disappear for long periods of time. If this is the case, sit by your cat and wait for him to approach you. If he doesn’t, try again later.
Make sure to leave food and water out for your cat, and if it seems like he’s not eating for a few days, contact your veterinarian for advice.
4. Be prepared to groom your cat constantly.
You’re going to start seeing cat hair everywhere. All cats need grooming to some extent, so invest in reliable grooming tools because you’ll find yourself using them on your kitty every week.
5. Socialize with your cat often.
A lot of people think that cats are antisocial, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need playtime. Hang out with your cat everyday, and let him get used to different social situations and environments.
If you bring home a kitten, this is especially important since 2-12 weeks of age is considered the prime socialization period.
6. Clean out their litter box everyday.
Litter boxes are convenient, but they can get messy if you don’t clean them out. A simple daily spot cleaning will do the trick and many litter formulas make it easy to scoop and flush any waste down the toilet.
Your cat will love you for give him a nice clean place he relieve himself and you’ll appreciate not having to smell the clutter he leaves behind.
7. Invest in a scratching post.
Your furniture, drapery, and carpet will thank you for it. Cats need an outlet for their scratching urges, so it’s smart to provide a scratching post. It’s also a great way for cats to exercise and get their daily stretches in.
8. Know the ingredients in your cat’s food.
Before being enticed to buy the cat food featured in adorable commercials, take a moment to read the ingredients list. Many of these massive consumer branded cat foods include preservatives, like BHT, BHA, and ethoxyquin, and filler ingredients, like meat by-products, meat meal, and cornmeal.
Keep an eye out for food approved by the American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and talk to your veterinarian about what brands of food are best for your cat’s nutritional needs.
9. Remember, you can train your cat.
Positive reinforcement is the ideal way to train your cat, and you’d be surprised to find how much they can learn! Don’t punish them for bad behavior, instead, reward them for behavior that you want to encourage.
If your cat seems stressed and he’s acting out for no reason, visit your veterinarian to make sure nothing is wrong medically.
10. Get your cat some fun toys.
Cats love playing with toys! From little felt mice to balls with tiny bells on them, there are plenty of toys out there that are great excuses for you to hang out with your cat. They’ll enjoy it just as much you will.