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Getting a Pet Cat

Reviewed by Vanessa Farner, DVM on July 07, 2021

Cats are among the friendliest pets to own, but getting a cat for the first time can be scary. It’s almost like adopting a new baby into the family, and you want them to blend with everyone else smoothly. Here are some things you need to consider when getting a pet cat.

Preparing and Caring for Your Pet Cat

First, make sure your home is ready to accommodate a new feline. Whether you’re adopting a kitten or re-homing a cat, they will need plenty of attention, so make sure the setting is as welcoming as possible.

You also want to be sure that your new cat will blend in with any other house pets. Cats are very sensitive when it comes to mingling with other animals. The most important thing is to make sure the cat has a comfortable first experience.

Go shopping for your new cat. Being a new member of the family, your pet cat has needs that require some shopping. Here’s a list of things you should get before bringing in your feline friend:

  • A water bowl and a food bowl
  • Cat food
  • A strong scratching post
  • A litter box and litter, which should be kept away from the food and water spot
  • Cat toys
  • A cat carrier

The above list is suitable for one cat, so you may need to add extra items if you plan to have more than one cat. Buying these items before your cat’s homecoming will save you the last-minute rush.

Establish a "home" for your new cat. Your new cat needs a safe haven inside your house. You don’t necessarily need a separate room for your cat. Rather, you can set apart a corner of any bedroom or any room that is seldom used. The most important thing is to provide a "home" for your cat.

Though it may take time for your cat to adapt to a new place, they will eventually get used to it, and the results are always worth the wait. Also, the place provided should be safe, quiet, and free from interference from other pets. Cats are social, but they also need alone time to retreat and rest. On homecoming day, make sure you're not too jubilant to avoid scaring your new cat. 

Consider cat-proofing your house. Cats are playful cuties, and the sooner you realize that you need to prepare for possible wear and tear from your furry feline, the better. All you need to do is get down to your cat’s level, figure out where they’d likely be drawn to play, and take the necessary cat-proofing measures. These can include:

  • Wrapping or covering electrical cords
  • Gating stairways
  • Picking up things like rubber bands and plastic bags that your cat could choke on
  • Getting rid of plants that may be toxic to your pet
  • Putting child locks on cabinets

Take your cat for a health check. After spending some time getting acquainted with your new cat friend, a health check is important. A visit to the veterinary clinic will help you know whether your cat is healthy. 

Your vet may vaccinate your cat and run tests to check for conditions like feline leukemia virus if this was not done at the adoption agency. Other health procedures include neutering and spaying. 

Cat diet. Cats develop their eating habits at a very early age, and the diet you choose can affect their lifelong health. It’s important to know about cat nutrition to guarantee a long, healthy life for your pet. Clean and fresh water should accompany every meal. Although cats are descendants of desert animals, they need to stay hydrated. 

To stay ahead of the game, acquaint yourself with information about cat food ingredients by reading food labels. It helps you to know what you’re feeding your cat. 

Training Your Pet Cat

Housetraining is one of the best cat-parenting practices, but many cat owners fail terribly at litter training their pet. Cats can pick up using a litter box pretty quickly if they are well-trained. 

It is recommended that you have one more litter box than how many cats you have. For example, if you have three cats, you'd want four litter boxes. The litter boxes you choose should be big enough to allow the cat to do as much digging as they want and still have more space left. Litter boxes should be kept in a quiet but convenient place. 

Show Sources

SOURCES:

AnimalKind: “Bringing Home a Cat (or Two).”

Cats Protection: “Preparing for a cat.”

Merck Veterinary Manual: “Routine Health Care of Cats.”

PetMD: “Dehydration in Dogs and Cats: How Can You Tell If Your Pet is Getting Enough Water?” "15 Kitten-Proofing To-Do’s Before Bringing a Kitten Home."

Petplan: “Things to consider before getting a cat.”

The Humane Society of the United States: “10 tips to keep your cat happy indoors.”

The Spruce Pets: “Everything You Need to Know About Raising Your First Cat.”

VCA Hospitals: “Housetraining for Kittens and Cats.”

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