As a first time cat owner, there’s a lot to think about and prepare for when you first get a cat.
First of all, we outline some general considerations to think about in preparation for your new cat and then we get down to what you need to do and get from the pet supply store or online.
5 Things To Consider As A New Cat Owner
Cats need daily attention and care, including feeding, litter box maintenance, and playtime. Do you have the time and energy to devote to a new cat?
Owning a cat doesn’t have to be, but can be expensive. You will need to provide for their basic needs such as food, litter, veterinary care and pet insurance. Be prepared to budget for these costs.
Often it is not until a cat becomes elderly that the costs can really mount up. Despite this, there are always the basics that need to be bought.
Cats need a safe and comfortable environment to live in. If you live in a small apartment, you will need to consider if you have enough space for a cat to move around and explore.Don’t discount the walls and windows as possible places for your cat to rest. See below (in this article) about living in an apartment and owning a cat.
If anyone in your household is allergic to cats, it may not be a good idea to get one. However, there are hypoallergenic cat breeds that may be suitable for people with mild allergies.
It’s important to consider the personality and needs of the specific cat you are considering adopting. Some cats are more social and active, while others are more independent and low-maintenance.
As first time cat owners, make sure to choose a cat that fits your lifestyle and personality.
Cats are generally good at grooming themselves, but some breeds may require more grooming than others. Consider if you are willing and able to commit to regular grooming sessions with your cat.
If you are okay with all of the above, now it’s time to think about what you will need. This is the fun part.
How To Get Your Home Ready For A Cat
Bringing a new cat into your home is an exciting and rewarding experience, but it’s important to make sure your home is safe and welcoming for your new furry friend.
Here are some tips to help you get your home ready for a cat. One thing you definitely need before even bringing your new cat home is a cat carrier.
A hard sided carrier may last for years but a soft sided carrier will be easier to carry.
Some carriers have a seatbelt fitting and some carriers are backpacks.
There are plenty of options. Here are some of the more popular choices.
Before bringing your cat home, make sure to remove any potential hazards that could harm your cat.
This includes toxic plants, small items that could be swallowed, and electrical cords that could be chewed on.
Your cat will need a designated area where it can feel safe and comfortable. This can be a cozy cat bed, a crate, a cat tree, or a cat condo.
Make sure their space is located in a quiet, low-traffic area of your home. The low traffic area is particularly important if you also have a dog. The cat needs to be able to access his bed and the litter box without having to pass any scary places.
The condo below is a good size and it has two places for the cat, on the top as pictured or tucked away out of sight down below. Whatever you may choose to buy in the future, this will always be a useful piece of cat furniture.
The bonus with this combo is that the cat scratcher is included. The Amazon link shows the condo without the scratcher and in different colors.
Have all of the following necessary supplies on hand, including:
A litter box is an essential item for any cat owner. It’s important to choose a litter box that is the right size for your cat and that is easy to clean. There are many different types of litter boxes available, including covered and uncovered options.
You will also need to clean their litter box regularly, so make sure you have the appropriate supplies on hand for that as well. A cat litter scoop is a must have.
Firstly, find out if your new cat or kitten has already had any flea treatments. Some treatments can last a month so you will need to find out as much specific information as you can about the type of treatment and when it was given.
As a first time cat owner, you want a flea treatment that will work without having to think about it too much. You will be too busy playing with your cat or kitten.
I would recommend the flea drops that are applied between the shoulder blades of the cat. These drops are applied monthly. The age of the cat is a factor here so make sure to look at all labels carefully. Specifically check the age suitability.
Fortunately this article gives a brief summary of the different types of flea treatments. Then there are clickable links to read about each treatment type and the pros and cons.
If in doubt ask your vet. You will soon be on first name terms with the vet.
Choose a high-quality cat litter that is safe for your cat and easy to clean. There are many different types of litter available, including clay, clumping, natural options. Plus there is unscented and scented litter. Gradually, you will develop a preference for what suits your household and the cat.
Choose a high-quality cat food that is appropriate for your cat’s age and health needs. You can choose from a variety of types, including dry, wet, and raw food options.
Water Bowl And Food Bowl
Choose food and water bowls that are easy to clean and that are the right size for your cat. You can choose from a variety of materials, including stainless steel, ceramic, and plastic
Cats need plenty of toys to keep them entertained and stimulated. Choose a variety of toys, including balls, catnip toys, and interactive toys.
Choose a bed that is easy for the cat to get into and out of. Ensure that there is enough padding for comfort. Ideally the cover will be able to be removed for washing. Some little beds can be popped into the washing machine. Choose what will work best for your situation.
Cats need to scratch to keep their claws healthy and to mark their territory. Provide your cat with a cat scratcher, for example, a scratching post or corrugated cardboard scratching pad to satisfy their scratching needs.
Remember, it is early days. There is no need to splash out on expensive products. Get the essential supplies and add more or change items as you become accustomed to the needs of your cat and what will work best at your place.
Choose high-quality products that are specifically designed for cats.
Decide on the areas of your home where your cat is allowed and where they are not. For example, you may want to keep them out of certain rooms or off certain pieces of furniture.
There are some amazingly useful pieces of cat furniture that you may want to consider once your new cat is settled.
Where Are You Getting Your Cat From?
Your local shelter is a good place to start looking. If you are looking for a specific breed, then you will need to seek out breeders in your local area.
Our local vet did sometimes enticingly have a cat in the waiting room that was looking for a new home. One of these kitties almost made its way to our place, but when we went back to get him, he already had a new home. That was a bit of a sad day.
Any cat we have ever owned has come from the same local shelter. The cats are neutered and microchipped before going to a new owner.
If you are looking for a specific breed ask at your local veterinarian. If looking online try The Cat Fanciers Association
Cat Care On A Daily Basis
Most cats are fed twice a day, the amount will depend on their age, size, and activity level. You will need to measure out the appropriate amount of cat food and provide fresh water daily.
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that their main source of food is always protein.
Always get food that is specifically made for cats.
Cats need a clean litter box. You will need to scoop the litter box daily to remove any solid waste and refill it with fresh cat litter as needed.
Cats need mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Plan to spend some time each day playing with your cat, whether it be with toys or just interacting with them.
Basic Grooming Supplies
Brush, Comb Or Glove
Choose a brush or comb that is appropriate for your cat’s coat type. For example, long-haired cats may need a slicker brush or a wide-toothed comb, while short-haired cats may do well with a rubber brush or a fine-toothed comb.
A glove that doubles as a light massage glove and also a cat hair remover is an inexpensive but super useful addition to your list of must-have items. This was all we ever used on our short haired cat. Be aware that even though the cat has short hair, he can still shed a lot of hair.
Cats need to have their nails trimmed regularly to prevent them from becoming too long and sharp. You can use a pair of nail clippers specifically designed for cats. Note: Some cat owners prefer to have the veterinarian or groomer take care of this task.
Toothbrush And Toothpaste
You may think this is going too far, but it is a good habit to get into, if not right from day one, at least early in the cat’s life.
Cats need to have their teeth brushed regularly to maintain good oral health. Choose a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for cats, as human toothpaste can be toxic to cats.
Shampoo And Conditioner
Most cats do not need to be bathed; if yours does, you will need a shampoo and conditioner that are appropriate for their skin and coat type. Choose a product that is specifically designed for use on cats and follow the instructions carefully.
Grooming wipes can be useful for spot cleaning after your cat has been outside or rolled around in something they shouldn’t have.
Choose a wipe that is specifically designed for use on cats and that is gentle on their skin.
Flea combs are designed to remove fleas and flea eggs from your cat’s coat. They can also be used to remove any loose hair or debris from their coat. Choose a flea comb that has fine teeth and is gentle on your cat’s skin.
I Live In An Apartment – What Can I Do To Prepare For A New Cat
Cats love to climb and explore. Consider providing them with vertical spaces to climb on, such as cat trees or shelves. This will help them feel more at home and give them a place to exercise and play.
Cat wall shelves and cat window perches are both ideal for apartment living. It also keeps floor areas free from becoming too cluttered.
If possible, choose a small area in your apartment where you can set up toys and scratching posts for your cat to play with.
Create hiding spots. Cats like to have private places to retreat to, so consider providing them with hiding spots such as cardboard boxes or enclosed beds. This will give your cat a safe space.
A litter box with a lid can help contain odors and keep litter from getting scattered around your apartment. Choose a litter box that is the appropriate size for your cat, and make sure to clean it regularly.
Some litter boxes can be disguised as pieces of furniture. If space is very limited, this may be a very good option for you.
Even if you have limited space, you can still provide your cat with plenty of mental and physical stimulation through play and interactive toys. Consider rotating their toys regularly to keep things interesting.
The First Night Together With The New Family Member
Set up a room in your home as your cat’s safe and quiet place. This should be a quiet room with a bed, water, food, and a litter box. Make sure the room is free of any potential hazards that could harm your cat.
Your new cat or kitten may be scared or overwhelmed by their new surroundings, so give them time to adjust. You can visit them, to check on them and play or cuddle, but let him come out of their hiding spot on their own terms.
If this is an option, consider using the same food and water dishes the cat was using before he came to your place, to provide a sense of familiarity.
Place a litter box in your cat’s safe space and show them where it is located.
Have a few toys and the scratching post or corrugated cardboard scratcher in place to help him adjust to their new surroundings.
To avoid overwhelming your cat or kitten on the first night, you may want to consider keeping them in their safe space overnight. This will give them a chance to get used to their new environment without feeling overwhelmed.
It is exciting to bring home a new pet. Sometimes, in all of the excitement, first time cat owners can overlook or just unintentionally make some basic mistakes.
This article outlines those mistakes. Arm yourself with this information to make sure that you are ready for your new cat.
A first time cat owner has plenty to think about and consider. You also have years ahead of kitty time, so don’t stress about having everything perfect from the start.
Be as prepared as you can.
You’ll be thinking about getting a second cat to keep the first one company before you know it.