Owning a cat for the first time is amazing ! Though it is a very exciting adventure for your household, it is important to be prepared and understand what is required to welcome this new member in your family.
Are you ready to get a cat?
Are you ready to have a cat ? When you decide to adopt a little ball of fur, it is essential to realize that you are welcoming a new friend in your house. Actually, it becomes much more than a friend, it becomes a family member 🙂 A family member who is very independent but that also has very specific needs that you need to take into account. Here are a few simple questions that are good to consider before you jump into the catoshpere.
Is everyone in your household OK with the idea of having a cat ? If the answer is no, you might want to postpone the adoption of the little beast as he/she could become the center of arguments. Expose the pros and cons and decide accordingly.
Does anyone in your household have allergies to cat ? If this is the case, it’s still possible to live with the cat under a very specific “regime”. For example, forbidding the access to the person’s room. Then in other cases, it’s really impossible as the allergy might be too aggressive. Don’t risk the health of others!
Do you already have other animals ? If you do, you will need to make a proper introduction between the two (or three, four…). It’s not always easy as the first animal(s) may become jealous over the new visitor.
Is your house “Cat-friendly”? In general, cats adapt easily to most types of households. Apartment or house, it does not really matter but you need to make sure that there is no big danger for your cat. For example, if you want your cat to be an outdoor cat and your house is nearby a busy road, you may want to reconsider. Also after a while, you may be surprised to find the beast on top of the upper kitchen cabinets: just make sure there’s nothing that can be damaged or knocked off or that could potentially hurt him.
Do you have enough time to take care of your cat ? Sure, sure, a cat is a (very) independent animal. I was gladly surprised, as I only had the chance to grow up with a dog, to notice that our Yoda was so clever and independent and that even on the first day we got him he knew how to use his litter. However, why get a cat if you do not have any time to spend with him? A cat is a friendly companion (most of the time 😉 ) and it’s just normal to spend some time playing with him. Not to mention the fact that you still need to feed him, change his litter and maybe brush him from time to time…
Do you have enough money? When you get a cat, a few costs are associated with it. Veterinary cost, accessories, and of course, food. Also if you are like Brittany and want to travel the world, it has a cost to transport your cat wherever you go. Just make sure you know what you are getting into 😉 And if you like to go on holidays and don’t plan on bringing the beast, make sure you have someone that can watch over him/her.
Before you get your cat : stock up on essential supplies
We made an infographic just for you guys (you are welcome to share it!)! It gathers all essential supplies for your new friend so that you are ready when he arrives. We separated it into three parts:
Essentials : basically this category is for items that your cat cannot really live without. Food and litter are the most basic things you can get for your furry friend. If you want a cat but cannot invest in anything else, those are the items you need to get (but seriously, who gets a cat and doesn’t treat them a bit; they are made for spoiling). 😉
Useful : This category gathers extremely useful supplies for your cat. Getting those items will enable your cat to feel more comfortable and will love his new home. Whether it’s a scratching post and/or fun little toys, it will give your cat the entertainment that he needs in order to channel all this energy. Other accessories like nail clippers / food mat / carrier will make it easier for you to take care of your cat; whether you need to keep a clean house or bring your little one to the vet.
Optional/Extra : This category includes complementary items for your cat. They are not as essential as the other items listed, but they can definitely have a use for your cat.
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Owning a cat for the first time can be quite stressful as you are not sure what he/she really needs. We wanted to break it down for you as we had to deal with the same problem when we first got Yoda (although Brittany already had quite some experience). It’s pretty simple, just follow the list.
- Food: try to select premium food for your cat (no meat byproducts, prefer all natural). You all know the saying: “you are what you eat.” Well who knew, it works for cats too!
- Food bowl and water bowl: Well, well. Pretty obvious isn’t it? For Yoda we selected a stainless steel set. Super easy to clean and very hygienic.
- Litter: Always a tricky one! There are so many brands and not all are as efficient. You want to choose one that cover odors and that clumps well for easy cleaning.
- Litter Box: Many different types (and prices) but when we first got Yoda, we chose a simple option that was very suitable for our needs. We then built a box (out of wooden crates) to go around it to cover this ugly piece of plastic. ^^
- Scooper: Without it you will waste so much litter and it will be tricky to clean out the litter box properly. This is an easy pick, you don’t have to over think this so just take something simple.
- Food mat: You’ll see when your cat eats / drinks he might make a mess out of things. To avoid this, and also because it’s cute, you can get a mat that will prevent from spreading water and food everywhere.
- Scratching post: It’s a must for your cat’s health. We almost put this one in the essential as it is so important for your cat in order to work on his claws, mark his territory, and stretch. It has many advantages which you can check in our detailed article about the best scratching posts.
- Toys: This little animal is full of energy and needs to exercise and have fun in order to be happy. Let’s not mention that he will be more relaxed after playing, which will leave you some quite time when you need to sleep 🙂
- Nail Clippers: Not so much for the cat than for you! It will prevent your cat from hurting you involuntarily, especially when they are little and playful and they don’t know that those spiky things hurt us real bad. Only use if you have an indoor cat as those claws will be useful for your cat to defend himself in nature.
- Carrier: Going to the Vet? Going on holidays? Anywhere you go, this is a must to have to carry your cat around. Yoda loves it and gets in it as soon as we open it! Hard or soft case, you can find the one you need.
- Cat tree: An item your cat will love. It’s optional because your cat will always find a high place to climb onto in your house but if you give him his own tree, it will definitely make a difference.
- Harness & Leash: We actually got this pretty early in order for Yoda to adapt to it. It’s not essential, but it’s pretty convenient when you want to take your cat outside for walks (if 24/7 indoor cat) to get some fresh air. The Harness & Leash is amazing if you want to be sure he does not escape and put himself in danger, or kill helpless birds and squirrels for fun. This also allows your kitty to have the best of both worlds.
- Treats: Trying to teach your cat a new trick? He went to the vet and was a nice kitty? It’s always convenient to have a little treat to show him that you appreciate his efforts. It turned out to be super convenient when we had to bathe Yoda for his flea problem. It helped to calm him down and made it a more enjoyable experience.
- Brush: Yoda’s got pretty fluffy, long hair which is why we named our website Fluffy Kitty 🙂 However we rarely used the brush except when he was loosing his hair. It’s not mandatory to have this but it is a great item to have.
When you get your cat: Recommandations
In this paragraph I want to tell you about the very moment you get your cat. It’a just a few recommendations Brittany and I have so that you know everything in advance before you actually go get your cat.
#ADOPTDONTSHOP: Millions of cats are waiting for you at your local animal shelter. That’s where we got our beast. He was heading west from the Cumberland Gap to a local shelter in Johnson City, Tennessee! 😉
Watch me snip, watch me spay spay: Plan for the day you get your cat that s/he gets spayed or neutered. It’s one of the most important health decisions you can take for your little friend. This procedure will vastly improve your cat’s behavior, keep him close to home and will guarantee lifelong health benefits.
Owning a cat for the first time: Essential rules
Now you are almost ready for your cat’s homecoming! Congrats! Just a few more recommendations we think are basic stuff to know about owning a cat for the first time.
Provide him with some personal space: Cats are territorial and by providing some personal space for him, you will make him feel more comfortable faster.
Fill the litter box and clean it regularly: Don’t put too much but a few inches will do in order for your cat to feel at ease when pottying. Keep it as clean as possible otherwise your cat may try to find another place in the house. You don’t want that nice carpet ruined, do you?
Feeding time should be regular: It’s important to feed your cat the right amount. Depending on his/her weight, you can adjust. Just try to set a regular time to feed him. For Yoda it’s when we wake up and during the evening, so twice a day. Around 7:00 p.m. he gets our attention, “Hey hooman, meow meoowwww! It’s dinner time!”
Visit the Vet regularly: Just to make sure everything is alright, it’s important to visit the Vet once in a while.
Conclusion: Owning a cat for the first time
If you follow all these steps, your cat should become, in no time, a “well adjusted feline family member.” So if you are owning a cat for the first time we hope this article was useful for you! If so please share with your friends, on social media, share our awesome infographic! Let’s share the love! Thanks again for following us on Fluffy Kitty and stay tuned for new articles. Hugs and Kisses from Yoda!
PS: If you need a quick sum up of what your life is going to look like after getting a cat, check this out 🙂