Tips for the First-Time Cat Owner

Congratulations on becoming a first-time cat owner. Cats are wonderful pets with unique identities and quirks. Although cats often can fend pretty well for themselves, and train quickly, proper cat ownership requires some work on your part.

Here are some tips on how to prepare your home and start connecting with your cat.

first time cat owner

A cat’s home is her vast jungle

When you introduce a cat to your home, the space will become her entire universe. Since you’re not likely going to be walking her on a leash, although some owners do, your house will be her source for exercise and play. Expect that she will climb furniture, cabinets, doors, and window-sills.

Unlike dogs, baby gates aren’t effective deterrence for cats. Cats can leap very high with ease. Therefore, if you have dangerous things around the house or fragile items that you don’t want to be knocked over, you should put them away.

Bonding with your new cat

If you adopted your cat from a shelter, she likely will be quite skittish at first. You and your house are entirely foreign to her. Take this time to develop a relationship between you and the cat.

Even though cats can be independent, if you give her attention every day it will strengthen your bond. Realize that cats like predictable environments, so avoid loud noises while you are getting to know each other.

If your new cat is slow to warm to you, do not fret. Not all cats are social, and it may be that she just likes to be alone. Sometimes, however, a cat is threatened by something as simple as our stare.

Where humans use eye contact as a method of positive interaction with other people, cats see it as aggression. Cats are shy by nature and take some time to become comfortable with owners, but when they do, you will have a friend for many years to come.

Cleaning up after your cat

Although cats figure out litter boxes reasonably quickly, for a variety of reasons, cats may urinate on a carpet or otherwise create stains and potential odors in your home. Cleaning up the occasional mess is part of the responsibility of pet ownership.

Watch this behavior to make sure there is no underlying behavioral or medical reason – as sometimes inappropriate litter box behavior can be a sign of an infection – but accidents will happen from time to time. When this happens, it’s best to treat the stain immediately to fend off lingering odors.

For a urine stain on carpeting or upholstery, it’s crucial to soak up as much liquid before introducing cleaning fluids. Paper towels will absorb most of the mess, although you will have to use a lot and apply pressure to ensure it’s all soaked up.

Once, all blotted, rinse the area with cold water and re-blot. Lastly, apply an odor neutralizer and let air dry. If the stain is set, consider renting a commercial steam cleaner to remove the stain.

Leaving your cat alone

Some owners mistakenly believe that, since cats don’t need to go out as dogs do, they can leave their cats unattended for long periods of time. For the most part, cats can be left alone for periods of time, but it’s vital for their safety that you carefully consider a pet-sitting service.

Pet sitting requires more than just checking in on your pet. Before hiring a service, inquire about their experience and how they would recognize and handle medical emergencies.

A cat can bring years of joy as a companion pet. Feline independence shouldn’t be mistaken for stubbornness, just give her a safe home, attention and some time to warm up to you.

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