Cats are generally quite self-sufficient pets, but they still require some planning and care from their owners. We’ve put together a list of top tips for first time cat owners so you can be prepared for your feline friend.
Prepare for the worst
OK, so we don’t want to be too alarmist and panic you, but if the worst does happen and your cat is sick or injured, then you need to be prepared for that. So, with that in mind you should:
- Choose a vet and take your cat for a check up. For your own peace of mind is great to know where your closest vet is and how you will get your cat there if you need to.
- Buy a cat carrier. Getting a cat from point A to point B can be a tricky task (particularly if it’s injured or a nervous cat). Cat carriers are low cost, good quality and can be stored away until you need them – and it’s better to have one and not need it, than need one and not have it.
- Sort out pet insurance. Again, better to have it and not need it…
- Get your cat microchipped. It’s cheap and quick to do (any vet can do it for you) and if your cat gets lost and is handed in to an animal shelter they’ll be able to reunite it with you.
Getting your home ready for your new cat
While cats are pretty robust explorers, it’s important to ensure their home environment is safe and comfortable for them.
- Cat proof your home. There are numerous dangerous in the average home for cats, and your furniture and belongings are at risk of scratching, chewing and swallowing too, so best to make sure your home is cat-friendly.
- Consider getting a cat flap installed. Some cats are content to be in the house most of the day, but others might prefer to go outdoors. Cat flaps (particularly microchip activated cat flaps) are a great way of your cat some freedom.
- Get a litter tray. And keep it clean! Cats will get anxious if their pooping environment becomes unpleasant, and I’m sure it won’t be great for you either.
- Cat scratching posts can help protect your furniture. Cats love to scratch, so give them a safe place to do it and keep them away from your furniture. Which they’ll almost certainly scratch too.
- Automatic cat feeders can be a good way to establish a routine with your cat.
- Cat water fountains are good for cats who tend to drink from taps, puddles or streams – they’re much healthier for the cat.
Cats can be a bit nervous when exposed to new surroundings, so give them a chance to explore on their own and they’ll settle in pretty quickly.
And some tips for looking after your cat…
Cats are great companions but you do need to work at getting the most out of your relationship with them. We’ve written another article on bonding with your new cat, but here are some simple tips:
- Keep their diet consistent. Cats will happily eat and eat, so it’s up to you to be sensible about their diet.
- Play with your cat! Some cats will get bored easily and may act up if they’ve not been getting enough attention. If you find your cat is biting you or scratching furniture, it may be out of boredom.
- They love playing with toys. But they’ll destroy them pretty quickly!
- They also love boxes! They like small spaces and boxes are nice and warm! Any cardboard box will do, but if you’re feeling fancy then consider a cat bed or cat house.
- They also might bring you dead animals. Yeh, so that’s a thing. Completely normal. Try not to freak out.
It’s a lot of responsibility looking after any pet, but you shouldn’t let that put you off. It can often be a rewarding relationship for both of you.
Also, check out our cat toy reviews: