Advice for a First Time Cat Owner
Looking for tips on caring for your very first feline? Read below for tips on successful cat ownership!Published October 18, 2010
My dad definitely blessed me with his cat-loving gene. On the other hand, my mom barely even tolerated being in the same room with a kitty. So it was only after I got married that I was finally able to share my heart and home with two adorable kittens as a first time cat owner.
However, I didn't have a clue about proper care or what behaviors to expect.
I won't reveal my age, but suffice it to say that the Internet was probably still someone's dream. So my first destination was my local bookstore to grab the information I would ever need to become a knowledgeable kitty servant. While being owned by a cat or two for the first time can be challenging, at the same time it is totally delightful.
Here are the rules I've been caring for my kitties by, ever since:
- While getting a pure bred kitty may be your first instinct, your local shelter is a great choice too. There is an abundance of homeless cats languishing in cages, waiting to be adopted. Additionally, many shelters will provide necessary vaccinations, microchipping and offer discount arrangements for neutering and spaying their adoptees.
- Since indoor cats statistically live longer than cats permitted to roam unsupervised, to ensure their safety, I say keep kitty indoors. Cats thrive indoors. Window seats give kitty an excellent view of the local fauna and neighborhood. With ample scratching posts, cat trees, an abundance of interesting toys and a few cardboard boxes in several corners, your kitty's environment will be purrfect. Since their claws are essential to their wellbeing, please do not declaw them. Instead, learn to trim them.
- Cats require meat protein for optimal health. While serving dry food is more convenient, cats don't need a lot of carbohydrates. And since cats don't generally drink sufficient water, serving the highest quality grainless moist food will help keep them hydrated. Free feeding often leads to feline obesity so it is much simpler to monitor your cat's intake by providing regularly scheduled meals. For food not consumed within 20-30 minutes, refrigerate the leftover portion in a plastic container, warming it to room temperature for the next feeding.
- Always provide clean, fresh water and avoid giving table scraps. Since cats are lactose intolerant, to avoid digestive upsets, milk is not appropriate.
- Cats are fastidious about their litter boxes so always keep them clean. Scoop them several times a day, adding fresh clean litter when necessary. Wash, sanitize and fill the box with fresh litter at least every few weeks. Use a scentless, clumpable dust-free litter. One box per cat is preferable.
- Since regular veterinary care is essential, visit animal clinics in your area. Spend some time talking with staff. Make sure you feel comfortable with the facility. Is it clean and odor-free? If the clinic is not a feline-only practice, do they provide a separate waiting room for cats?
With excellent information about cat care available on the Internet, the answer to many of your questions is only a mouse-click away. Giving your cat the best of care will ensure many happy and healthy years of blissful feline companionship.
What inspired you to get a cat? Share your experiences as a first time cat owner in a comment.