Cat Care 101 – 7 Tips for New Cat Owners

You brought a new cat home from the shelter. You couldn’t resist its fuzzy, inquisitive little face – but now what? As a new cat owner, here’s a crash course in caring for your new pet.

1. Go to the vet before doing anything else.

The first thing you should do, even before you bring your new kitten or cat home with you, is to take it straight to the vet. This point is especially important if you have other animals or small children. Whatever the shelter may say, you have no idea what types of health issues the cat may have. Make sure your cat is up-to-date on all his or her vaccinations and that he has a clean bill of health before introducing him into your home.

2. Invest in cat toys.

Cats are inquisitive, playful creatures. Having cat toys for them isn’t just for entertainment value; cat toys reduce stress for cats, relieve separation anxiety symptoms and prevent bad cat behaviors. The first time the cat knocks over your Aunt Matilda’s prize paperweight and you come running, your cat has already learned that playing with things that aren’t his brings attention. To avoid these types of antics, buy an array of toys to keep your cat entertained.

3. Invest in a scratching post.

Scratching posts are another item on the list of things cat owners ought to have. On second thought, a scratching post isn’t truly necessary if you don’t want to spend the money; instead, you can just allow your cat to sharpen his claws on all of your furniture!

4. How to choose the right cat foods.

Read cat food labels carefully to find out which foods are the most nutritious for your furry little friend. You should be looking for something with real animal protein in it.

You should know that both dry food and canned cat food have their pros and their cons. Dry foods, for example, can be left out for cats who get hungry in the middle of the night. On the other hand, canned cat foods have more water in them, which most cats don’t drink enough of.

Finally, don’t choose cat food based on price alone. Although you may have an urge to save money on your pet care costs, which is understandable, the cheapest food is not usually the healthiest.

5. Protect your cat from bad human foods.

Speaking of cat food, you should be aware that some human foods are toxic for cats. Keep your new cat away from:

  • Chocolate
  • Onions, garlic and root vegetables
  • Raw potatoes
  • Unripened tomatoes
  • Grapes – both fresh grapes and raisins

6. Consider buying pet insurance.

When pet health insurance first hit the marketplace a few years ago, many pet owners scoffed at it as the most indulgent, ridiculous thing they had ever heard of. Now that pet insurance has been around for several years, however, more and more pet owners are seeing the wisdom in it.

The truth is that the cost of veterinary care, like any other type of healthcare, is on the rise. You never know when a vet will give you the difficult choice between a life-saving surgery that you really can’t afford and euthanizing your cat. Having health insurance means you won’t have to think twice when an expensive surgery is proposed. Furthermore, most pet insurance plans are very reasonably priced.

7. Train kittens to tolerate a grooming routine from the very beginning.

If you’ve adopted a kitten, you can train them from the start to tolerate or even enjoy the process of being brushed, bathed and having their claws trimmed.

We think these seven points listed above are some of the most important rules that new cat owners should follow. Are you a long-time cat owner? What would you tell to someone who’s about to buy a cat for the first time? Share your thoughts below.

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