At some point in the majority of the lives of people all across the world, we all long for a pet, a furry friend to help pacify the time and make life all the more sweeter. Some people prefer dogs, while some prefer fish, or birds, but then there are the vast majority who prefer cats and kittens to occupy their homes. Cats can appear to be quite docile animals, felines that just want to lounge around all day and that don’t seem to require the amount of exercise and play that other animals do, such as dogs. However, just as with any pet that you bring into the home, cats can require a good deal of responsibility on the part of the owner or the family that welcomes them. Cats are very particular creatures, animals that want their independence and don’t want to mess around unnecessarily in most cases. In this article, we are going to talk about twenty things that you need to know before investing your time and energy into a cat, and why it might end up being one of the best decisions you have ever made. So, with all of that said, let’s get started with our countdown.
Get Them Fixed Immediately
This is an important issue to tackle regardless of what type of pet you have in your home. Unfortunately, it is extremely crucial to spay and neuter your cats as there is an increasing overpopulation of kittens and cats all throughout the country and the world. This overpopulation comes about when our cats don’t get fixed by various pervious owners, as cats can typically have up to three litters within a year’s time. Getting your pet fixed can help to keep them healthy and safe, as well as prevent prominently harmful diseases such as infections and cancer that can develop as they age and carry several litters. Even if it seems like a waste of time and money, always get your cat or kitten fixed to keep them healthy, strong, and ready for a long life ahead!
Take Your Time Adjusting
Bringing home a cat can be a huge adjustment, not just for you, but for your furry feline friend as well. Often times, it can take a cat up to seven to fourteen days to get adjusted and acquainted to their new environment they have been brought to, so it may take a bit of time to get them feeling comfortable in their new surroundings. There are many things that you can do to ease the time along, which can include things such as introducing your cat to different family members one at a time, and letting them have their own space for a bit. Just remember that this can be an overwhelming time and experience for your cat, so letting them get used to it on their own terms is the best way to go. Just remember to be patient with them, and everything will go along just fine.
Cats Can Live A Long Time
The majority of cat breeds that you will see often have a life span that covers about 13 to 17 years; However, there have been many cats that have been known to exceed this average life span, and have lived to see 20 years or even a bit more. Many don’t realize the commitment and the responsibility that a cat can really take, which is why we tend to see so many animals, especially kittens, end up in shelters all over. With that said, remember that bringing home and owning a cat will be a long commitment, so make sure that it is the right option for you and your family at the time.
Take Time With Introduction To Other Pets
Just as we said with introducing your cat to other members of the family in your home, you will also want to give them time when it comes to meeting other pets in the home as well. This can, once again, be an overwhelming scenario for your new kitty, and can create issues for the long haul if it does not go well. One tip for introducing with other pets is to allow your kitten some time in their own private space for a couple of days, and then bring your other pets in one at a time. This will allow for them to meet on your cat’s territory, and will make it less of an overwhelming issue for each of the animals at hand.
Always Have Water Out
Yes, most cats steer clear of being in water. But, did you know that cats need to drink more water than most animals? That’s right. We often find that cats aren’t getting enough water in their diets, especially not just from drinking out of their water dish. This is why it is so important to give them foods that are high in moisture content, and that will give them the nutrients that they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle during their day. This also means not skimping out on the high quality brands of food when it comes to shopping and providing for your cat.
Find A Routine
This is one of the most crucial things on our list. Developing a routine will allow your cat to be able to follow demands day by day, and will help to keep your pet healthy as well. The routine you establish should not only dictate the times of day that your cat eats and has play time with the family, but should also stretch to the types of products that you use. Always purchase the same type of food and even the same type of litter in order to keep your cat on the tight schedule that you have laid out. If you are needing to change one of these products, do it gradually over time, as to not jeopardize the routine that you have already established with your feline. Just remember to always keep up with your routine every single day, and to let your cat get used to the same routine to develop those healthy habits that it needs.
Let Your Cat Have Their Own, Quiet Space
I’m sure we can all attest to those times when all we want to do is just be along in the peace and quiet of our own sanctuary, which in many cases is the privacy of our own bedroom. This same concept can be applied to your kitty as well. Cats like to be independent and have their own space the majority of the time. That said, one of the best things you can do for your cat to help them get adjusted to their new home is to dedicated a quiet space for them, such as a spare room, or even a closet. You will want to choose a space, of course, that is often free of children and other pets running around, where your cat can retreat and spend time on its own. Also, make sure to dedicate this space to their items, like their bed, scratching post, or even a toy or two.
Keep Your Cat Vaccinated
This is, of course, super important for any animal in order to keep their health in check throughout their lifetime. You can contact your local vet in regard to the vaccinations that your cat may need and at what ages you will want to get them vaccinated as well. You will also want to talk to your vet about medications that your cat may need to keep any fleas and ticks at bay and out of their fur. This will also require that you continually check their fur at least once a week for these pests, especially if your cat likes to take some time outside during their day as well. Keeping your cat vaccinated and on schedule with their medication will keep them healthier and happier for longer.
Keep The Claws!
Many cat owners opt to have their cats claws removed early on to prevent any injury or issues as the cat lives in the home, especially when there are young children involved who would more than likely get a scratch or two, or to protect precious furniture that may be out. However, this procedure is very invasive and painful for your cat, as it involves taking off the tips of their toes in order to remove the entire nail itself. Instead of going through with declawing your feline, try finding other remedies for preventing scratching, such as grooming their nails frequently, either professionally or at home, and providing toys and surfaces for them to scratch regularly.
Scratching Is Necessary For Their Health
This might sound a little strange, but it is actually healthy and natural for your cat to want to scratch things in your home. When your cat is continually scratching their nails on various surfaces, they are actually in the process of shedding their outer coating that covers their physical nail. This shedding allows for healthy and new nails to grow underneath the old coating, and keeps them in good health. That said, don’t scold your cat for scratching, as they are just being instinctual. The best thing you can do is find a scratching surface that they know is theirs to use that is located in your home.
Brush Your Cat Regularly
Obviously, most people are aware that cats tend to groom themselves by licking their fur. However, this can cause a bevvy of hairballs throughout the course of their time in your house, which are not the most pleasant of messes to clean up day to day. So, if you want to keep the hairball messes at bay when you bring your kitty home, make sure to brush and groom your cat yourself on a regular basis. If you prefer, you can also bring your cat to the local groomers or to a professional on a weekly or bi weekly basis to keep their fur under control and well managed.
They Don’t Need Many Baths
This is a pretty typical fact that most people are aware of, and honestly, cats really don’t need that many baths. They come with their own unique way for grooming themselves and keeping their fur maintained throughout the day, thus eliminating the need for a bath every couple of weeks. The only times you will want to make sure to stick you kitty in the bath is when they become dirtier than usual, or at least every couple of months. Before sticking them in the lukewarm water, however, make sure to trim their nails up a bit to avoid unnecessary scratches, and make sure to use a shampoo that is designed specifically for pets. Using any other type of shampoo will dry out their skin and their fur, making both parties miserable in the end.
Try To Brush Their Teeth More Regularly
This is, once again, something that should be done frequently for the majority of pets, but especially for cats and dogs. Because it seems like a not so nice place to be cleaning on the regular, most owners don’t take the time to care for their cats teeth; However, not caring for them regularly can lead to many health related problems, such as gingivitis and other diseases that occur in the mouth. Make sure that when you are brushing their teeth, you are using pet friendly products that are recommended by your vet, and refrain from using any toothpaste or other products that are meant for human consumption.
Keep Nails Groomed In A Timely Manner
Even with all the scratching that your cat will do throughout the day once you bring them home, it is also a great idea to keep your kitty’s claws trimmed and groomed every two or three weeks. Keeping them trimmed will help them to stay a little more blunted, which will essentially protect your family members and your furniture in your home from sustaining any damage or harm. If you don’t feel prepared or able to cut your cat’s claws yourself, then you can find a professional or even your local vet to help you get the job taken care of.
Be Prepared Before Kitty Comes Home
This is, again, good advice to take into consideration before bringing home any type of pet, especially if it is the first one you have ever cared for. It is necessary to have all the proper supplies and items that are needed to take care of your kitten or cat from the get go, and to make sure that they feel welcomed into their new forever home. This would include things such as food, bedding, grooming supplies, litter box, and anything else that may come in handy. On a side note, the best thing that you can do, especially if you are adopting your cat, is to stick with the type of food that was being given to them originally before you brought them home. It can be a difficult process to switch your cat’s food, and it can make them lose their appetite as well. If you want to switch the products or food that you are using, do it at a slow and gradual pace, as to not interfere with the routine that you are working to establish with your new pet.
Cat Paws Are Sensitive
Have you ever heard the expression that if you wouldn’t walk outside with bear feet in certain conditions, then your pet shouldn’t either? This is, of course, a very true statement, as the pads of their paws, especially when it comes to cats, are highly sensitive to sensation and touch. Even if it seems silly or looks ridiculous, it may be a good idea to invest in covering for your cats feet with some type of pet sock or shoe, especially if they sometimes venture outside to the yard time and again. This will protect their feet from the harsh climate changes that we see all throughout the year, and will keep them safe all the while. On a side note, it is also good to remember not to let your cat out in the yard independently without having them hooked up to a harness and a leash. Cats are particularly clever and curious, and can always find a way to get out to explore.
Invest In A Scratching Post
This falls under the same category as keeping your cats claws healthy and strong, as they need to scratch things in order to keep their nails under control. To keep your furniture safe in the process, the best thing that you can do is invest in a scratching post that they can claim as their own territory to play with and scratch on. Make sure to get one that is at least three feet tall, which will allow your cat to stretch and play throughout the day as they please. Also keep in mind the material that it is made out of — You will want something that is sturdy so that it will last for a good amount of time with your feline.
Keep An Eye On Food Scraps
This is something to keep in mind with all pets, of course, but there are several different types of human foods that can cause harmful health problems for your cat if they are eaten. This can include things such as grapes, raw meat, some raw dough, and many other foods as well. In fact, milk can also cause problems for your cat, as the majority of cat breeds are actually lactose intolerant. If you would like a more extensive list of the food items that could be harmful to your cat, you can find them online, or from your local vet and animal shelters as well.
Watch Out For House Plant
This is a tricky one that not many cat owners take into consideration at the forefront. There are actually a few house plants that you could have in your home that could be quite dangerous and toxic for the health of your cat. Many of these plants, when ingested, can cause gastrointestinal problems that could prove fatal for your feline. You can find a full list of plants that could be detrimental to your cat on various websites or via your local vet as well.
Adoption Is The Best Option
In case you weren’t already aware, there are animal shelters and groups with rescue animals all across the nation, and they are filled with poor and helpless cats and dogs waiting to find a forever home. In fact, many of these shelters that we see are suffering from overpopulation as the rate of animals being brought there is steadily increasing. Rather than spending your hard earned money on a cat from a breeder, look into your local shelters and vet clinics around your community to see what animals are in need of a new home and a new family to love. You may just find the best and newest member to your family right under your nose.
Honestly, having a pet is a huge responsibility, regardless of the type of animal that you decide to look into bringing into your home. Cats are an even bigger responsibility than what many people assume at the get go, as they require much love and attention, while also wanting to have their own, independent freedom all the same. In any case, there at so many ways to show the love and care that you have for your newest addition to your family, no matter the age of the cat that you bring home. We hope that our article has helped you to get a head start on preparing you for a brand new pet, and a brand new feline to love for a long time. Just remember to have the patience and love to keep up and put up with your new cat, as it may take a bit of time to get everyone adjusted to the new routine. We hope that you have enjoyed our list of the top twenty things to know before getting a cat, and we hope that you enjoy your new furry feline friend!