Deciding to become a cat owner is an exciting time. You’ll bring an animal into your home for companionship and entertainment, and you’ll finally understand what cat memes mean. There are a few things you should know about becoming a first-time cat to make your experience enjoyable.
1. Choose the Right Cat
Choosing your cat is a big decision. Remember, cats live longer than dogs so that you will commit for the next decade or two. First, you’ll need to decide whether you want a kitten or a cat. Kittens are adorable, but they require a great deal of supervision and patience. You also won’t know which type of personality you are getting when you choose a kitten. If you are a patient person who handles the unexpected well, a kitten would be a good match for you.
On the other hand, if you want to know more about your pet, you should consider getting an adult cat. They typically are calmer and less mischievous, according to the Humane Society. Cats that are at least a year old will show you what they are like when you first meet them. For example, if you visit a shelter to adopt a cat, spend some time seeing which cats come to you and which are unimpressed by your presence. If you want a mellow cat, look for one that will allow you to pick it up and pet it; it’s even better if it purrs when you do.
If you opt for a purebred cat, do some research into their dispositions. Some breeds, like Persians, are known for being laid-back and lazy. Other breeds, such as Bengals, are very active, and Siamese cats are very talkative. For more information about the most popular cat breeds, check out this article from The Spruce. You also should know whether you want a cat with short or long fur. Keep in mind that you will need to spend more time grooming long-haired cats and that yours may need to visit a groomer for proper care.
2. Prepare Your Home for Your New Cat
It’s common for cats to become stressed when they transition to a new home. To make the transition easier for him, consider confining him to one room. Provide food, water, and a litter box and spend lots of time with him. It’s also helpful to provide him with several hiding places, such as cardboard boxes with holes cut in both sides with a blanket in the bottom.
Don’t disturb him when he’s in his hiding places. To help him adjust to living throughout your home, place his scent on his scratching post and bed by rubbing his cheeks with a towel and then rubbing the towel on the items. Coax your cat to play with you by using an interactive toy or sitting near his food bowl while he eats. It may take a few days or weeks for your cat to feel comfortable in your entire home.
One thing you need to be prepared for is clawing. Cats typically claw furniture and drapes, so it’s better to discourage this behavior by purchasing a carpet-covered scratching post. You also can deter scratching and clawing by using tape or sprays that emit unpleasant scents. It’s also important to trim your cat’s nails regularly, so he does not cause as much damage when he does scratch your furniture.
3. Don’t Let Your Cat Get Lonely
Stay home with your new cat while he transitions. Limit visitors to avoid overwhelming him and then gradually introduce him to new people. As time passes, you can leave your cat alone for longer periods. However, when you are away for an extended time, hire a cat sitter to keep him company. The sitter can stay at your home or visit your cat throughout the day. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your cat is well cared for in your absence.
When choosing a cat, do your homework to make the right choice. Then, prepare your home to make him comfortable and make the transition easier. When you do spend time away from your cat, hire a cat sitter to ensure his health and safety.
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