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new cat owner tips

New Cat Owner Tips: A Cat Lover's Guide

Congratulations on being a new cat owner! Taking care of your first cat will be both enjoyable and meaningful. For those of you who are still contemplating cat ownership, we have some important steps to help you prepare for your possible new arrival.

While you’re imagining a wonderful life with your new companion, keep in mind that most cats can be independent creatures. Yes they need love and attention, however, they also enjoy having their own space. So be prepared to give your kitty room to roam.

In this post, you will find tips on how to make the transition from first time cat owners to happy cat mom or cat dad as smooth as possible. So, let’s get started!

potential new cat owner

1. Most Important: Are You Ready to be a New Cat Owner?

Potential new cat owners need to consider the cost of having a cat above all else. Of course you will love your new cat but, you need to be able to give your kitty a comfortable life and least of all, provide the necessary essentials. This includes cat food, toys, supplies, vet care, etc. After purchasing the basic supplies, it’s up to you and your monthly finances. Ready for the new cat owner quiz?

Can you handle litter box duty? Cats typically use the litter box three to four times a day on average. Scooping the cat box is a daily chore which needs to be done so your cat can have a clean place to do their business. Beware of the spiteful kitty who deposits their poop outside the box when it’s not cleaned on a regular basis.

Are you ready for cat hair on your clothes and yes, even in your food once in a while? Cat hair is pretty much a given if you have a feline friend in your life. Be prepared to vacuum your home regularly and have lint rollers on standby for your clothes. And if you’re a bit of a neat freak, owning a cat may not be for you.

Can you handle the emotional roller coaster of being a cat parent? Owning a cat can be both rewarding and challenging. From the moment you bring your new kitty home, they’ll be counting on you to provide everything they need. This type of obligation can be tough to handle if you’re not prepared, but, it’s also very fulfilling to see your cat thrive and grow into a happy, healthy adult.

Will you have enough time to devote to your kitty? Cats are very social animals. They need interaction with their human companions on a daily basis. This means you need plenty of time for playing, grooming, and even cuddles. If you’re a workaholic, you may want to reconsider owning a cat.

Another important aspect to remember is that cats can live 10-20 years, so this is definitely a long-term commitment.

Finally, are you positive you don’t have cat allergies? If you know someone who has a cat, you may want spend some time with them to be certain you’re not allergic.

Okay, are you prepared for the new level of responsibility? If you feel confident with your answers and intentions, then you should be ready to become a first time cat owner.

Now, moving on to the next important decision.

new cat kitten tips

2. Do You Want a Little Kitten or a Full-Grown Cat?

Kittens are adorable and full of energy, but they also require a lot more work. They need to be potty trained, socialized, and taught how to play appropriately. Expect to spend time every day training your new kitten and playing with them. They’re a lot of fun, but definitely keep you on your toes.

Adult cats are typically litter box trained and may have already been spayed or neutered. They’re also more independent, so they may be a better choice for someone who doesn’t have as much time to dedicate to a new pet.

Whichever you choose, make sure to get your new cat from a reputable breeder or established no-kill rescue shelter. That way you can be sure the cat has been screened for health problems and is up to date on their vaccinations. This leads us to the following relevant question so, let’s keep moving.

cat adoption breeder guide

3. Your Next Choice... Adoption or a Breeder?

When potential new cat owners are ready, there are two main options: adoption from a local shelter or buying a kitten from a breeder. Both have their own sets of pros and cons. I’m sure you have your own personal preferences and reasons to choose one over the other but, let’s take a closer look at each.

Adopting From a Rescue Shelter

There are many benefits to adoption as you will soon see.

The number one reason, you’re saving a life. There are millions of cats and dogs euthanized in shelters every year, so by adopting an animal, you’re helping to reduce that number.

Adopting a cat from a shelter is much cheaper than buying a kitten from a breeder. Adoption fees usually range from $50 to $200, while kittens from breeders can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

This option gives you the chance to meet a variety of cats and choose the one you form a bond with or if you’re lucky enough, you’ll find a kitty who picks you.

Cats from shelters have typically been around other cats and dogs and are more likely to be socialized. This means they’re less likely to hide under the bed when you first bring them home.

Most shelters do a great job of screening cats for health problems and temperament, so you don’t have to worry about bringing home a sick or high-maintenance pet.

Many shelters also provide the supplies you need for your new cat, such as a carrier, litter box, food, and sometimes even toys.

The only con of adopting from a shelter is that you may not find the specific breed of cat you’re looking for. However, there are so many cats in need of homes, that this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Finally, when you adopt a cat, you’re also making a caring choice rather than just a selective decision based on the breed. So when you’re looking for a new feline friend, adoption should be your first choice!

Purchasing From a Reputable Breeder

On the other hand, there are also several benefits to buying a kitten from a breeder.

Well-known breeders typically screen their cats for genetic health problems and other potential diseases, so you can be assured you’re getting a healthy animal.

Since their are so many breeds available, you can choose the one that’s best suited for your personality and lifestyle.

A cat from breeders often come “vetted” which means they’ve been spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and treated for parasites.

Unfortunately, one of the cons when buying from an established and respected breeder are the common waiting periods before a kitten becomes available.

Finally, when you buy a kitten from a breeder, you’re supporting responsible breeding practices. Those of you looking for a specific breed of cat to fit your lifestyle would benefit the most when buying from a breeder.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide which route to take when getting a new cat. But, whichever path you choose, be sure to do your research and ask lots of questions!

prepare home guide

4. New Cat Owners Need Time to Prepare Their Home

Now that you’ve decided to join the world of cat owners, the first step is to make sure you “kitty-proof” their new cat home. This means removing anything a curious cat could potentially chew on or swallow such as certain medicines, human food, toxic plants, and other tiny objects which could cause problems internally

Most cats will need a secluded room set up to live in while they’re getting used to the new surroundings.

A first time cat owner should have the following basic essentials from a local pet store ready for their new family member:

  • food and water bowls

  • high quality food

  • soft blanket or comfy bed

  • cat carrier for traveling and vet visits

You should have at least one litter box for every cat in the home. A good rule of thumb is to have litter boxes on every floor of your home. If you happen to adopt a senior cat, having multiple litter boxes will be especially important as they may have trouble making it up and down stairs.

It’s also important to have some cat toys for your new kitty to play with. A cat likes to play! A good toy can help keep them entertained and out of trouble. First time cat owners will find a lot of different kinds of cat toys available, so you can easily find one or two that your cat will love.

A scratching post is a must-have for new cat owners. Not only will it help keep your furniture safer, but it’ll also give your kitty a place to scratch and stretch their muscles. The scratching post should be tall enough that your cat can stand on their hind legs and reach the top.

Another option would be a cat tree or cat trees for climbing, resting, and sleeping. Be sure to place these in areas where the cat can see people and other animals moving around.

During the first few days, spend time in this room with your new cat so it can get used to your smell and voice. Once they seem comfortable, you can slowly start to introduce them to the rest of your “cat home”. It may take a little time, but eventually your new cat will be a furry part of the family!

cat children pets tips

5. Introducing Your Kitty to Children and Other Pets

Many cats may be intimidated by loud noises and chaotic environments, so it’s best to gradually introduce them to children and other animals.

Start by having your children sit on the floor near the cat’s room and offer a few treats to lure the cat out. Once the kitty is comfortable with your kids, have them move a little bit closer and continue rewarding them with treats. If all goes well, have your children pet the cat slowly and give it a few more treats. Eventually, the kitty will become more relaxed with your young cat lovers as time passes.

It’s important to remember that not all cats will be comfortable around children and other animals, so please take things slow and don’t force them to interact if they’re clearly not enjoying it.

If you have other pets in your home, be sure to introduce them slowly as well. Some cats may get along great with other animals, while others may be more cautious. Allow new cats to explore at their own pace but never leave them unsupervised in the first few weeks.

It may take a while, but with careful introduction, your new cat can learn to live harmoniously with the rest of your family!

cat owner vet

6. A Local Vet Visit is Recommended for New Cat Owners

One of the most important things you can do as a first time cat owner is to take your pet to the vet for a check-up. This is especially crucial in the first few months of ownership, as this is when stress and any unknown health issues usually arise.

A good veterinarian can help make sure that your new kitty doesn’t have any health issues and give you helpful advice so you will always have a healthy cat.

Routine medical exams you should expect during your vet visit include:

  • Ensuring the overall health of your cat

  • Examining the eyes, ears, and mouth

  • Checking the teeth and gums

  • Listening to the heart and lungs

  • Taking a blood sample

  • Checking the weight and temperature

  • Vaccinations for common feline diseases

In addition to regular vet visits, be sure to keep an eye on your cat’s health at home as well. Look for changes in eating habits, litter box use, and sleeping patterns. If you see anything that seems out of the ordinary, don’t hesitate to call your vet.

Pet insurance is another valuable thing to have for new cat owners in case of emergencies. Health problems can happen and unexpected vet bills can be very costly. Pet insurance can help you cover the cost of those bills, so you don’t have to worry about your cat’s health.

cat behavior tips

7. The Mystery of Feline Behavior Explained

When you get a new cat, there’s a lot to learn! Not only do you have to figure out how to care for your new pet, but you also need to understand their habits and behaviors.

Cats are unique creatures with distinctive personalities. While some rationality can explain certain things, others may seem downright baffling! Here are some of the more common behaviors with explanations of their body language and various mannerisms.

Tail Movements and Different Positions Have Meaning

When a cat’s tail is held high and its fur is standing on end, it is feeling confident and happy. This position usually happens when a cat is around people or other animals it knows.

A low tail generally expresses a defensive or scared kitty.

When a cat’s tail is moving quickly from side to side, it means the feline is agitated or excited.

If the tail is swishing back and forth slowly, the cat is most likely very relaxed and content.

Late Night Zoomies

If your cat is up and running around your home late at night, it may be restless and in need of more stimulation. This could be a sign that your cat is bored and needs more toys or playtime.

Alternatively, the nighttime crazy session could also be a sign that your cat is trying to tell you something. If your cat is unusually active and vocal at night, it may simply need more food, water, or attention.

Following You Everywhere

When your cat constantly follows you around, it’s letting you know that it trusts and loves you. This behavior is often seen in cats who have been adopted, as they are trying to form a close bond with their new owner.

The bathroom is one of the favorite spots for a cat to follow you. This is because they know you’re most likely going to be giving them attention while you take care of business.

Rubbing Against You

When a cat rubs its body against you, it’s marking you with its scent. This is a way of showing dominance and claiming you as their human. Cats will also do this when they’re happy and content. So, if your cat is rubbing against you a lot, it’s probably a good sign!

Staring at You Intently

When a cat stares at you for an extended period of time, it’s usually because the feline is trying to figure you out. Cats are instinctively curious creatures. They like to know everything about the people and animals around them. If your cat is staring at you for an abnormal amount of time, it may be trying to say that there’s something wrong or that it needs help.

Licking and Grooming Their Owners or Other Cats

This is a sign of affection and trust. When a cat licks or grooms you, it’s saying that it trusts and cares about you. It’s basically their way of expressing love for you.

If your cat doesn’t normally groom or lick you, it may be trying to tell you that it needs more attention. Cats usually only groom people when they’re feeling happy and content.

Cats will also groom other cats or even dogs as a way of bonding and strengthening the relationship between them.

Raised Hair and Dilated Eyes

This typically designates excitement or being overstimulated. When a cat sees something it’s interested in or is possibly feeling threatened, the hair will stand up on its back and the eyes will dilate. You may even see the tail get very puffy too.

If you notice your cat exhibiting these behaviors, it’s best to slowly back away and give the cat some space. Consider yourself warned! If you continue to agitate or tease a cat in this condition, it could end up in blood loss.

Purring

This is one of the most common signs of happiness in cats. A cat will purr as a way of showing its contentment. Purring is also a way for cats to communicate with their human owners. If your cat is purring, it’s probably trying to say that it loves you!

On the other hand, cats often purr when they’re in pain or feeling stressed. If your cat is purring more than usual, it may be a good idea to take it to the vet to get it checked out.

Cats Sleep a LOT!

Cats frequently sleep for around 16 hours per day, so don’t worry if your kitty is taking lots of naps. This is just their way of conserving energy and restoring themselves.

Cats will sleep in a variety of positions, but the most common one is when they curl up into a ball. This helps them to feel safe and secure as well as retaining their body warmth.

If for some reason, your cat is sleeping more than usual, it may be a sign that something is wrong. Cats ordinarily sleep extended amounts of time only when they’re feeling sick or stressed.

These are some of the more familiar behaviors that cats exhibit to communicate with their owners. By being aware of them, you’ll be better equipped to understand your cat’s needs!

new cat playing

8. Playing With Your Cat is Extremely Important

Cats love playtime and it benefits their overall well-being. Playing with your cat helps to strengthen the bond between you both, while also providing physical stimulation for them.

There are a variety of ways to play with your cat, including feather wands and laser pointers. Catnip toys are another form of entertainment for your furry family members.

Want a cheap alternative? Get a ball of string or yarn and you’ll have endless fun. Simply cut off a 10 foot section for each play session and drag it around the house behind you. The kitties really enjoy attacking the end of the string or yarn.

You may also want to include puzzles and interactive toys in your cat’s playtime routine. These toys help to keep your cat mentally stimulated along with being the perfect diversion when you’re busy with other activities.

Plan on spending at least 15 to 20 minutes twice daily playing with your cat to keep them healthy and happy.

No matter how you choose to amuse your cat, be sure to make it a fun experience for both of you! You might try to change up the games as well, just so your cat doesn’t get bored.

cat owner affection

9. Don't Forget About Affection and Cuddling!

Cats love to be pet and will often nuzzle up against their owners in order to get more attention. This is a sign that your cat loves you and wants to be close to you. Cats also rest their head on their owner’s lap or chest. This is a way for them to feel secure and loved.

In addition to petting, cats enjoy cuddling. If your cat comes up to you and rubs its head against you, it’s asking for a hug! Go ahead and give your kitty a cuddle, you’ll both feel better for it.

It’s important to give your cat plenty of cuddles. Cats require physical contact to feel safe and appreciated. Cuddling with your cat is a great way to show how much you care for them as well.

Just be sure not to overdo it. Cats can only take so much affection before they start to get overwhelmed. Try to space out your cuddle sessions throughout the day to make sure your cat always enjoys them.

cat grooming tips

10. Grooming Tips for Beginners

It’s important to keep your cat well-groomed, especially if he or she is a new addition to the family. Not only will it make them look and feel better, but it will also help keep them healthy. Here are a few tips for grooming your new cat:

1. Start by brushing their fur at least once a week. This helps remove any loose hair or debris, and will keep their coat looking healthy and shiny.

2. Be sure to trim their nails on a regular basis. Overgrown nails can be painful and could lead to an infection. Not only that, when their nails are sharp enough to rip through fabric with ease, it’s definitely time for a trim.

3. Gently wipe your cat’s ears regularly with a soft cloth or cotton swab to help keep them clean and free of debris. Check the ears for signs of infection or wax build-up too.

4. Check their eyes if you notice any signs of infection or discharge.

5. Brush their teeth using a vet-approved toothpaste as cats are prone to dental problems.

6. Give them a bath once or twice a month, using a mild shampoo designed for cats. Never use human shampoo on your cat, as it can be harmful.

7. Last but not least, keep an eye out for parasites such as fleas and ticks. If you find any, be sure to treat your cat with an appropriate flea and tick medication.

In conclusion, by following these simple grooming tips, you can keep your cat looking and feeling their best. Grooming is an essential part of a cat’s health and should be done on a regular basis. Not only that, but it’s also a great way to bond with your new furry friend.

11. Finding a Competent Groomer If Needed

If you’re not comfortable grooming a cat yourself, or if he or she needs more intensive care, such as matting or nail issues, then it’s best to find a qualified professional groomer. Be sure to do your research first and ask around for recommendations. Not all groomers are created equal, so it’s important to find one that has a good reputation and who knows how to properly groom a cat.

Final Thoughts

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful in getting your new cat off to a good start. Caring for a cat can be a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it when you see how happy and content they are. Be sure to pamper your cat with plenty of love and attention. They will definitely return the favor with affectionate purrs, cuddles, and head bumps!

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Our Siamese Rescue
Our Happy Girl Today

Hello and welcome! I’m a genuine cat lover and devoted parent of two adorable kitties. As you can see, cat adoption is meaningful for me. I believe it’s a humane and loving option. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the people who operate rescue shelters. To show my gratitude for their selfless dedication, I’ve designed this website to help enlighten potential feline owners and raise awareness for cat adoption. Please join me and other cat lovers in our efforts to ensure every kitty has a happy, healthy life!

Please consider adoption. So many cats need loving homes. You can be their hero! Visit No-Kill Rescue Shelters

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