Tips For New Cat Parents
The arrival of a new cat (or sweet little kitten) can be exciting! It can also leave you feeling a bit confused and anxious. Although we think of a cat as a low-manintenance pet (no leashes, poop bags, daily walks, etc.) that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to think about before bringing your new loved one home. By following these tips you can be the best parent to your new feline friend.
Cats jump, climb, and fit into small spaces so make sure you look high and low for hazards – cleaning supplies, cords, and other toxins. Don’t forget to look at your houseplants, many of them – like peace lilies, begonias, and lucky bamboo are all toxic to cats if eaten. Be sure to secure all power cords so your new kitty doesn’t electrocute themselves. Check for any openings that would let them crawl into the ductwork, attics, or anywhere else dangerous.
Stock up on Food and Supplies
Although there is no starter kit for getting a new cat, there are some basics that you will need before bringing little one home. Food and water dishes, a littler box and cat litter, a variety of toys, and at least one cat bed. Outfit your cat’s new home with items that will make them feel comfortable and relaxed. Cats sleep a lot, up to 15 hours a day on average. Kittens are used to snuggling up to their moms and siblings for comfort and warmth, so they prefer to curl up in snug areas. Beds lined with soft, warm blankets or towels work best. If possible, try to get a week’s worth of whatever the shelter or previous home was feeding them. It’s best to switch food slowly.
Cats require time to evaluate an unfamiliar situation and to become acquainted with a new family. The best way to make your new cat feel at home is to restrict them to a limited area for the first few days, let them get comfortable, then slowly introduce them to other areas of the house. Slowly add each room, or section, and let them get completely comfortable before moving on. Let them get used to people and other pets as well.
Take them to the Vet
Basic cat care begins early, so as soon as you can schedule a wellness check. Make sure they are up to date on any shots, if this is an older cat, or start vaccinations if this is a kitten. You will also want to talk about and schedule a spay or neuter procedure as well. Plan to budget for these things early as well any other regular check-ups and cat care. For more information about vets and visits, read our blog post: Tips for Keeping Your Cat Calm During a Vet Visit.
Make sure you provide a private potty space that’s not too close to their food or water bowls. Cats do not like that smell near the food – would you? If you have another cat, make sure your new little one has their own littler box as well. There’s no need to train your kitten, just show them where the box is and instinct will kick in. If, for some odd reason, your kitty doesn’t seem to catch on, reach out to your vet for help.
The biggest thing with a new cat is love! Most cats will seek out physical affection – especially if you give them time to acclimate to you and the house – and a good cuddle is healthy for both you and the cat. Simply petting a cat can lower your blood pressure and release the feel good brain chemcals to immediately boost your mood. With these tips in mind, your new cat should live a healthy and happy life with you!