So, you’ve just taken a big step and add a new member to your family – a cat! Well, let us be the first to say, congratulations on your decision! Despite what you’ve probably heard, cats are actually super warm and loving pets.
Sure, we may think of cats as low-maintenance pets, but while they might not need you to take them out on a walk or clean out their cage, that doesn’t mean that they don’t need your attention. From grooming and vaccinations to getting a pet insurance, it might seem like your new feline friend requires a lot of care.
But, if you’re new to this whole cat parenting thing, we understand if you’re feeling a little bit overwhelmed right now. In case you’re wondering how to prepare for a cat at home, here are 10 important things to know for first time cat parents:
Cat-proof your home
Cats may seem enigmatic and mysterious; but in reality, they’re really playful and love nothing better than to jump around, fit into small spaces, and chew up your wires! So, it’s very important that you cat proof your home to make it safe for your new furry friend.
This might include closing up any spaces (like attics or dust bins) where your kitty might get stuck, hiding away any wires and cords, or taking out any house plants that are toxic to cats. These small steps can help to ensure your cat’s safety.
Stock up on any supplies you might need
As a new cat parent, you will of course want your fur-baby to be comfortable in your home. To ensure this, you will need some cat supplies. Things like a cat bed, food and water bowl, a litter box, grooming supplies like a brush, nail clippers, shampoo, and some cat toys will all help make your new cat really feel like a part of the family.
You might also consider getting a scratching post, as cats love to scrape against anything in sight to sharpen their claws! So, a dedicated post might save your furniture from being destroyed! 😆
Talk to your vet
Before you bring your new cat home, it’s probably a good idea to identify a good veterinarian. After you bring your cat home you can pay them a visit and get a full checkup to become up-to-date on any vaccinations that need to be administered.
Remember, after you (and your family), the most important human who is essential to your kitty’s well-being is your vet! They can even help you learn more about your cat and everything that they need.
Buy the right cat food for them
Just like you, your new furry BFF is probably pretty picky about their food. While cats are carnivorous creatures, each breed might have specific food requirements, so just remember to check what sorts of cat food to buy with your vet.
Generally, a diet high in protein with things like chicken, fish, and vegetables is good. Also, don’t forget to keep your cat hydrated! You will probably need to refill the water bowl every few hours. And, contrary to what you’ve probably seen in literally every movie or TV show, milk is actually bad for adult cats (because many of them are lactose intolerant)!
Learn the basics of kitty grooming
You’ve probably heard that cats are experts at keeping themselves clean and well groomed. And yes, that’s very true. However, all cats will still need you to jump in and help out a little. Regular brushings can prevent matting of the fur, and reduce how much hair your cat will shed in your home (but be warned, you’ll still be seeing cat hair everywhere!).
If your furry friend spends a lot of time outdoors, you can also think about giving them the occasional bath to help remove dirt and get rid of any fleas or ticks.
Start any lessons asap
A big part of acclimating your cat (especially a kitten!) to their new home is training. Kittens and younger cats will probably have to be taught how to use a litter box to do their business, while you'll have to teach any cats your house rules (for example, to stay out of certain areas).
You will need to take the time now to learn about how to train a cat so you can be sure to avoid any problems in the future. The main thing to remember about training your furry friend, is to reward them when they do the right thing (with praise and treats) and to discourage any unwanted behavior by interrupting or distracting them.
Make sure you have enough cat-approved entertainment
Since cats are so intelligent it’s probably not surprising that they can become bored easily. And a bored cat is often an annoyed cat! So, to stop this from happening, stock up on all kinds of cat toys that will keep your kitty entertained and engage their mind (a great plus is if the toy also helps them stay fit!).
Look out for things like felt mice, balls with tiny bells, or even laser pointers for your cat to chase! Inexplicably, cats also love empty boxes. You can even help your cat hone their hunting instincts by hiding treats around the house for them to find. 😊
Help your cat socialize
Another thing people say about cats are that they are solitary creatures who like to be left alone. While it is true that cats are quite independent, they might still have to interact with people and other pets. So, it’s up to you to make sure that these interactions will go as smoothly as possible.
Cats can take some time to warm up to company, so you can slowly introduce them to new people (like friends or family who visit regularly) or any other pets you have at home. You can even let your kitty sit by the window to watch birds, squirrels, and people outside.
Make time to play!
So, we’ve established that cats are a bit antisocial, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need to play.
Like dogs, they too need some kind of activity every day to keep them entertained and engaged. Interactive fun, like letting your cat chase a string or a laser pointer, is perfect as it gives your kitty mental stimulation while helping you build a bond with them.
Cats are natural hunters, so if you don’t give them something to hunt, they’ll find something, and it might be your shoes!
Protect them with a pet insurance plan
Your cat's health is probably one of your top priorities. So, it’s important that you take all the necessary steps to be ready in case the worst happens and you encounter any health problems or medical emergencies. This might mean setting aside some funds, or even investing in a pet insurance policy.
With a pet insurance, you can ensure the best car for your furry baby while without having to worry too much about medical expenses. You can learn about how a pet insurance works, with our pet insurance guide here. (link what is a pet insurance and how does it work guide here)
Becoming a cat parent for the first time, can be both thrilling and a big responsibility. Cats need to be taken care of too, because at the end of the day, all your new feline roommate wants is to feel secure.
So, it’ll be a great help to both of you if you (as a first time cat parent) make sure you know exactly what is required before bringing home your new cat. This way, you can ensure that they will become a part of your family in no time. After all, kitties can live for about 20 years, so you’re going to have a long time to enjoy that relationship! 😊