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7 Easy Tips for First-Time Cat Owners

Cat Owners
Cat Owners

A first-time cat owner has much to consider as they welcome their first feline into the house. As exciting as it is, you may have many questions about everything, from diet and lifestyle to general care. Preparing in advance is critical, but it's no big deal if you have already brought your cat home. 


A newly acquired cat will be shy at first. They will want to hide and introduce themselves slowly. Let them have that time. If your new cat is nervous and hiding, that's typical. They need time to learn the smells and sounds around them. This is how they learn to feel safe and secure.


Here are some essential first-time cat owner tips you can use. 


Start the cat on a healthy diet


Ideally, have food and water filled as soon as your cat arrives. There are many types of cat food brands. Ensure you buy food that is appropriate for their age and highly rated. 


Keep cats away from toxic foods. Some human foods are harmful to cats, including chocolate, grapes and raisins, raw meat, raw dough, onions and garlic, alcohol, coffee or caffeine, and xylitol foods. Ensure that these ingredients aren't somewhere your cat can reach.


Multiple water bowls are a good idea. Cats drink less water than they need. Consider setting up two water bowls or a water fountain bowl where your cat can drink running water to combat this. Access matters.


Give your cat a private room


Provide your cat with their own room to retreat to. Ensure they have a bed, some blankets, and maybe even a few toys. Chances are the cat will hide under the bed or in a closet. This is very normal and, again, nothing to worry about.


Provide cats with a fun indoor environment, making it a safe place to call home. Create an enticing environment with a cat condo or cat tree. Open the window shades, set up some perches, and throw in some toys, including some with catnip, if you're comfortable. This gives your new kitten or cat lots to play with.


Please remove toxic houseplants from the cat's room. Many houseplants are unsafe for cats, including asparagus ferns, corn plants, dieffenbachias, elephant ears, lilies, cyclamens, heartleafs, philodendrons, jade plants, aloe plants, and satin pothos.


Make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible


You may have adopted or acquired your cat through a private breeder, so there may or may not be paperwork included. Regardless, take them to your vet to check their health. If needed, a complete check-up and vaccination can be scheduled.


Introduce your cat to other pets slowly


If you have other animals, introduce your new cat to them. Start by keeping your cat in a separate room but feeding your pets on either side of a closed door. Next, put each pet's blanket in the other pet's room. Consider swapping rooms to get used to each other's smells. Move gradually. Watch body language. 


Place your litter box in a quiet area


A litter box should be somewhere without foot traffic or loud noises. You may want to try a few different types of cat litter or boxes. Ensure the cat litter is not sticking to their fur or causing discomfort. 


Spot-clean your cat's litter once a day. This is to remove big clumps of litter and keep it clean. Deeper cleaning should be done once a week. A clean litter will keep your kitten comfortable and avoid issues, such as pooping outside the box or a cat who doesn't want to bury their poop.


Cat training should begin at a young age


A new cat will need training on where the cat litter is, what's expected of them in interactions, what they're not allowed to play with, and where they are permitted in the house. Always start early. Ensure they aren't chewing on wires or cables. Keep them off the counters. Be patient and reward positive behaviour when possible.


Pet owners should also learn about the cat's breed. If you have a specialty cat breed, research and read about your breed. You can learn about their temperament, health concerns, what to expect when shedding, and get other questions answered.


Consider microchipping your cat


Microchips include your contact information. If they run away and someone finds them, the microchip can be scanned by an organization. Your information will be available for them to contact you. Though not mandatory, more and more cat owners opt for microchips if their cat escapes.

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