Do you have a new cat, or are you thinking of adopting a cat soon? Bringing home a new cat can be a little overwhelming for you and the cat both. It’s important to read up on what to expect before you adopt a cat so you can prepare the best environment for your new feline friend.
Read through the information below to find out more tips about being a first-time cat owner. If you have any questions, call the Veterinary Medical Center of St. Lucie at (772) 337-8570.
Slowly introduce your cat to the home
Don’t rush your cat when you bring them home for the first time. Give them plenty of time to get used to the new environment by creating a cat-safe space in one or two rooms to start. When they have gotten used to these two rooms, they can then explore the rest of the home on their own time.
If you have other pets in the home, start by introducing the new cat for just a few minutes at a time, making sure to supervise all pets during these interactions.
Don’t expect your cat to act like a dog
If you’ve never had a cat before but you have had dogs, you may expect your cat to behave like a dog, too. Cats are loving and loyal pets, but they show this in a very different way than dogs do. If you’re looking for a pet that will interact with you like a dog, then you need a dog, not a cat!
Cats show their love by sleeping on or near their human family members, letting humans pet them now and then, and playing with humans. Cats may greet you at the door, but they may be extremely uninterested in your comings and goings instead. They are individuals and can behave very differently from one another.
Cats need lots of enrichment
Many new cat owners think cats do nothing but sleep all day and all night. This is not true, and cats need to be exercised at least 15 minutes per day or more if possible. They also need plenty of enrichment to keep them from misbehaving or getting into mischief throughout the home.
Enrichment for cats may include cat trees for climbing and laying on, scratching posts, catnip, and various cat toys. Your cat will likely have a preference for some types of toys over others, so try a few styles to find which one they like the best.
Daily litter box scooping is a must
Nobody enjoys scooping the cat litter, but this is an important daily activity when you have a cat in your home. If you have multiple cats, you will need to scoop the litter more than once per day. No matter how many cats share a litter box, you should plan to fully change the litter and clean out the entire litter box weekly.
Cats may become sick if their litter is left uncleaned for too long. Additionally, they will likely start looking for other places to go to the bathroom, which may include your furniture or your laundry pile!
Don’t forget to brush your cat
Brushing your cat can be a nice bonding experience for both of you, and it can also help keep your cat healthy and well. By brushing, you can cut down on the number of hairballs your cat has per year and also improve his overall coat health and appearance.
Be sure to use the right brush for your cat’s coat type. Longhair and shorthair cats have different brushing needs. And of course, if your cat is hairless, you can skip the brush—but talk to your veterinarian about a skin care routine instead.
Keep up with regular vet visits
By working with a trusted vet and keeping up with regular vet visits, you can ensure your cat lives a long, healthy, and happy life. Always bring up any questions or concerns with your vet as soon as they arise.
When you bring home a cat for the first time, it’s normal to be a little nervous and not quite know what to expect. Just remember to give yourself and your cat plenty of time to get used to each other and the change in your own environments. With enough time and patience, you and your cat are sure to become friends for life!