Being a new cat owner you are probably over the moon and nervous all at the same time – how the heck do you look after a cat properly? How independent are they really? Help!
Needless to say you probably have lots of questions about caring for your new furry companion, but worry no more – all you need is right here in this article to get you going. It’s really not that difficult, trust us.
Cats are awesome, simply put. They are fun, playful, independent, loving, curious, smart and often entertaining. Thankfully, cats are also fairly low maintenance compared to other pets and you just need to master the basics of feeding, litter trays, grooming and overall health. Once you have these down, the rest is plain sailing.
First up – and the most important one of all (obviously), feeding!
1.) Feeding Your Cat a Healthy Diet
It goes without saying that feeding your cat the right diet is essential to their happiness and overall wellbeing, just as it is for us humans.
If you have adopted your cat – then knowing what brand/type of food they are used to eating prior to adoption is a great place to start (as long as it’s healthy of course). If you want/need to transition your cats diet to something else – then doing so slowly and gradually to ween them off what they are used to eating is key. Otherwise you will just have bowls of food left going stale on your kitchen floor….
Kittens under 1 year old should ideally eat a special kitten formula as they are still growing (rapidly) and need a highly nutritious diet to support their development into adulthood.
Please note – if your cat is overweight or too thin, it is advisable to consult your local vet to help you choose the right food to get them back on track!
It can also be hard to choose between wet and dry food. Cats are notorious for not keeping themselves hydrated enough by drinking, so wet food is a good choice to help with that – however it goes off quickly. Dry food is a good choice if you are not around much in the day and it can be left out for long periods and still be as edible as when it was put out.
How often to feed cats? This depends on the cat. They will let you know when they are hungry but be careful not to overfeed them. If you notice them gaining weight then this is a sign you may need to cut back on frequency and/or portion sizes!
2.) Type of Food Dishes and Bowls Is Important!
Yep, believe it or not – choosing the right type of bowl/dish for your cat’s food is important.
Because the cheaper ones like plastic can retain odors and not as easy to clean. Stainless steel and ceramic dishes are much better.
Always buy a few so that you have a clean one to hand when washing the others. Cats are very clean creatures after all.
As mentioned before, cats need to keep hydrated so keep a water bowl available and change the water twice per day if you can.
2.) Litter Tray/Box
Have at least one per cat that you own (they don’t like sharing, for obvious reasons..).
Also consider the type of box if you get one of those – they do help keep odors contained but some cats can feel confined in them and don’t like them, then you just end up with a little surprise outside of it somewhere. Keep an eye out and let your cat tell you what he/she is liking or disliking.
If in doubt, always err on the side of extra large trays and boxes as this gives your cat a larger area to choose from and they feel less restricted.
Types of litter are varied also – clumping, non-clumping, wood pellets etc. Your cat will let you know what they prefer so try the cheaper one first and then go from there until you find one that your cat gets on with. Where possible – go for ‘low dust’ or ‘no dust’ options as a dusty atmosphere is neither pleasant for you or your cat!
Always try and scoop the tray twice per day to keep it clean and prevent bad odors lingering. Wash once per week also.
3.) Brush Your Cat Regularly
Buy a cat brush and make sure you brush your cat often. This not only relaxes your cat but helps to remove dead hair, dirt and skin keeping your cat healthy. Plus, it’s quite relaxing for you as well.
Playing with your cat is important as not only does it keep them entertained and happy, but also helps keep them mobile and exercised at the same time.
Plus, it helps build the bond between you and your pet.
You really don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive cat toys either – most cats will go nuts for a piece of string dragged around the place. They love it!
5.) Claw Maintenance
Most trusted sources will tell you about the importance of keeping your cats claws trimmed, but cats are perfectly able to do this themselves if you give them the tools to do it.
Buying a decent scratching post is a good idea, preferably one that is tall enough they can reach up and stretch out their back on as well. Cats love to claw on things and this is a great way to keep their claws in check.
Besides, if you don’t – they can always find a sofa corner instead
6.) Find a Good Vet
Last but not least – always, always register your cat with a vet as soon as you can and take them in for an initial checkup. Your vet can make sure your cat is in good health and also administer any medications he/she might need (such as worming, fleas etc).
So there we go!
That is a quick-start guide to owning your first cat, see – it isn’t that hard!
Just keep an eye on them, look after them and they will bring you joy for many years to come.