Do you have a new cat in the family? Is this the first time you have ever had a cat? Are you excited but also a little nervous about the prospect?
Cats are loving and affectionate pet companions, but they can be intimidating to those who have never owned a cat before. If this is your first time as a cat owner, we’ve got six tips below that can help you better understand your new cat. Read through this information to find out more.
1. Catproof Your Home
Before bringing your cat home, be sure to cat proof his surroundings. Remove any houseplants that may be toxic to cats, put away any breakables you don’t want to risk him knocking over, and if possible, create a safe space for him apart from any other members of the household or other pets.
Look at the lower areas in your home, including low shelves, and think about how notoriously curious cats are. If you see any items that might intrigue a cat, remove them, or put them away.
2. Gather Cat Supplies
Purchase a litter box and enough litter for several changes, a food and water dish, and some cat-safe toys. You may also want to get a scratching post, a cat tower or cat condo, and a mat to place underneath the litter box as well.
Set up all these items before bringing your cat home. Do not leave toys out for your cat to play with unattended, as cats are prone to chewing off and swallowing portions of toys. Keep your cat’s food in a location where he can access it without being disturbed.
3. Brush Your Cat
All cats (except hairless ones) need to be brushed at least once a week. Medium-haired cats may need to be brushed three times a week, and longhaired cats should be brushed every day or as often as possible.
Invest in a good quality cat brush designed for the type of coat your cat has. Keep up with frequent brushing to prevent hairballs and to cut down on the amount of shedding you need to clean up around your home, too. Cats usually love to be brushed, so this is also a great time to bond with your new furry friend.
4. Play with Your Cat Daily
Just like dogs, cats need to be exercised for their mental and physical health. Although many cats will play by themselves, they also like to be mentally stimulated by playing with humans. Play with your cat for at least ten minutes per day.
Play with your cat using feather wand toys or by tossing other toys for him to chase and pounce on. You may also want to invest in crinkle tubes or other items your cat can dive into while he plays to simulate hunting and pouncing.
5. Expect Bites and Scratches
You should never encourage your cat to play rough or to bite and scratch while interacting with you. However, it’s important to understand that cats will do this regardless of whether or not they’re encouraged in some instances, and you should go into cat ownership knowing you may potentially be bitten or scratched at some point.
Some cats may be very docile and never bite or scratch, even in play. However, when it comes time to put your cat in the carrier to go to the veterinarian, for example, he may suddenly become hostile and could bite you easily. This is just one example to be on the lookout for.
6. Learn Your Cat’s Language
Finally, work on bonding with your cat as you learn his language. Cat body language and cat behaviors are different from those of dogs, and it’s important not to expect a cat to behave like a dog (or like a human, for that matter).
With time, you’ll recognize what your cat wants when he meows at you, how he prefers to be petted, and when he wants to be left alone. You and your cat will form a strong relationship when you take time to consider his needs and preferences as well as yours.
Your Vet Can Help with Your Cat’s Care in Miami, FL
With the help of a good quality vet who knows and understands cats, you can ensure your cat will live a long, healthy, happy life. Make sure, too, to read up as much as you can on cat body language and work on understanding your cat’s individual behaviors and personality. Every cat is unique, and your journey with your cat is sure to be an exciting one!