Caring for Kitty: 5 Top Tips For New Cat Owners
Whether you are adopting a middle-aged kitty from a shelter or bringing home a brand new pedigreed kitten, adding a cat or kitten to your family for the first time is exciting. However, it can also feel a bit stressful, when everything about pet ownership is new to you.
Keep these tips in mind to help you be prepared for all that comes along with owning a cat!
Tip No. 1: Kitty Toilet Setup is Key
Have a litter box set up in an area that is not too far removed from the main household traffic, but is also fairly private before you bring kitty home. This can be in a main floor bathroom, as long as the door is left open when not in use, or a utility room.
Ask ahead of time what type and brand of litter the cat has been using successfully before you pick them up. Cats can be very particular when it comes to the type of litter they will use, and matching the litter they are used to may help them transition to their new home go smoother.
Tip No. 2:The Right (Food) Stuff
When you ask about what type of litter your future kitty is accustomed to, also make a point of asking about food. If you have a preference for a different brand or type of food, make the transition slowly.
Buy a smaller bag of the food they have been eating, and transition over the course of a week to three weeks to the new type by mixing them, and upping the ratio of new food to old food by small increments each day.
Steer clear of continuous-feeding or auto-feeding bowls; it isn’t healthy for cats to have unrestricted access to food, as many cats do not self-regulate and will eat and eat.
Tip No. 3: Things To Do, Places To Go
Cats love to play and climb. Giving them plenty to do will help keep them from making toys of your favorite shoes or climbing the curtains. Cats naturally love to climb and scratch their claws, so investing in a good scratching post or cat climber with places to perch up high is a great choice.
Toys like balls, feather teasers, and little stuffed critters are great for helping engage their hunting instincts and redirect that hunting energy toward something appropriate, as opposed to something like, say, your pants leg, or your toes as you pass through the hallway.
Tip No. 4: Keeping Kitty Pretty
Grooming your cat is essential to not only keeping them smelling and looking great, but also keeping them healthy. Brushing them regularly keeps their fur looking fabulous, reduces shed hair from floating around your home, and can reduce the chances of issues with hairballs.
Bathing your cat and clipping their nails is also important, but may also require some training, especially if your new furry love is a kitten.
Tip No. 5: Neuter or Spay Right Away
Most cat rescues and shelters will have a spay/neuter policy that will probably mean the cat you adopt will already be spayed or neutered. In some circumstances, if the cat is especially young, they will have you sign a statement that you will have the cat spayed or neutered when they are old enough.
If you are purchasing a kitten from a breeder or are taking on a free animal from a friend/Facebook/Craigslist, it is always best to have your cat spayed or neutered as soon as they are old enough. Spaying and neutering not only prevents unwanted additional kittens, but also should eliminate spraying from male cats and having to deal with a female cat “in heat.”
Your new cat will most likely have their vaccinations up to date and should be healthy, but you should plan on establishing a relationship with a trusted veterinary practice sooner than later. Set up an appointment to meet the veterinarian, ask any questions you may have, and give the new kitty an easy, shot-free first visit. Connect with us at Academy Animal Hospital for more information and to set up an appointment.