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Before Kitty comes home, she’ll want to get ready. Here’s what new cat owners need to be ready to add to their furry family.
Once you get to know the cat, it becomes clear why these animals are one of the most popular pets on the planet. With playful personalities, loving attitudes, and a willingness to snuggle up to you for a nap, cats make wonderful, loyal companions.
If you’re ready to welcome a kitty into your home, but you’ve never been a pet cat before, and you’re a little nervous or unsure how to properly care for a cat, we have a few tips that will make adjustment and your experience a smooth one. Once you get the hang of things, you’ll realize that cats are surprisingly easy to care for.
Related: How to prepare your home for a new kitten
Make time for your cat
Many people think that because cats can be so independent, they can have a cat and basically ignore it for the most part, but the truth is that cats crave companionship and attention.
Before you bring your kitty home, be sure you have time to dedicate to playing with your cat, cleaning the litter box on a daily basis, grooming it, and having fun. For example, a little playtime each day can go a long way in preventing behavioral problems caused by pent-up energy and boredom.
Related: Why Playtime Is So Important to Your Cat
Create a litter box
Buy a litter box large enough that your cat can stand up and move around with ease. And be prepared to test different types of litter if the cat doesn’t like your first choice. Place the box in a quiet area that is easily accessible to your cat.
By ensuring that your cat has the right type of litter box and litter, and by removing waste daily and replacing litter regularly, your cat will be less likely to avoid using the litter box.
Providing the right to food
Cats are obligate carnivores, so choose a high-quality cat food that will provide you with plenty of animal protein, the right amount of healthy fats, and loads of nutrients that are properly balanced for feline wellness.
Many experts recommend avoiding potentially allergenic ingredients, such as grains that include soy, corn, and wheat, and also recommend choosing foods with whole ingredients, as opposed to mystery meat by-products.
It is also a good idea to provide plenty of wet food so that your cat gets enough moisture from his food, as this is normal for a feline. You can certainly feed a mixture of wet and dry food throughout the day, providing a bowl of fresh water daily as well.
There should be an emphasis on good nutrition as it can lay the foundation for good health, no matter the age of the cat. Work with your vet if you have any questions about what to feed your new kitty.
scratching posts and trimming claws
The cat has a natural instinct to scratch at things in its environment in order to mark the territory, stretch, and shed the dead outer layer of claws as they grow. You will need to provide your pet with plenty of scratching posts to prevent him from scratching your furniture. Simply put, regularly trimming your cat’s claws will also prevent scratches on your belongings and your skin.
Have your cat checked by a vet
A cat should be evaluated by a veterinarian before or shortly after being brought home. Ask him to test for diseases such as Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), as well as for a variety of parasites. Have your kitty or neuter complex at the appropriate age, too.
Consider getting your own cat buddy
If you spend a lot of time at work or away from home, consider getting your cat a friend who he can spend time with. Take the time to gradually introduce your new cat (after he’s been to the vet and gotten a bill of health) to your existing companion so they can slowly get to know each other and become great friends who can keep each other company when you’re not around.
Adopt, don’t shop
With so many cats and kittens of all breeds and personality types patiently waiting for their forever homes in shelters across the country, please consider adopting one (or two) of them, rather than shopping for a kitten, so that you can save a life.