Tips and Advice for First-Time Cat Owners

Welcoming a feline pet into your household will surely add warmth and unconditional love to your home. Cats are also quite low-maintenance; they clean themselves, are easily litter trained, and are rarely ever loud companions. However, they may require special care and attention, especially because they’re known to be quite the aloof creatures that express their distress and affection in subtle ways that you may not be familiar with.

So without further ado, here’s what you need to know before you head to that shelter and pick up your new fur baby.

Limiting furniture damage

Kneading and clawing on furniture is a common habit among felines, not because they want to, but because they need to. Cat’s claw at objects to file their claws, seeing as they would otherwise grow long enough to curve inwards and injure their paws. However, to limit the damage that cats may inflict on your furniture, you need to do more than trim your cat’s claws every two weeks. Leave a scratching post in every room, placing each of them near spots that your cat likes to claw at. This will introduce your cat to the other alternative, and train it to use the scratching post instead. You can also make your own scratching post with recycled paper towel rolls and rope.

Feline diet

While it’s tempting to go for the most affordable cat food brand, the cheapest kinds are also usually the least healthy for your cat. Dry food, especially can be loaded with sodium, which can harm your cat in the long run causing complications such as bladder stones and liver damage. That said, you need to make sure that your cat only has access to its designated food bowl, and to tell the household members not to feed the cat any leftovers, seeing as our diet may not be nutritious to them. Also, kittens should always be fed a specialized diet. Browsing food for your new pet can be confusing, but as long as you go for medically-approved kitten food brands, you should be fine. If you’re unsure what to buy, consult your veterinarian.

Exercise and play

Cats may not need to be walked, but they still need to stay active seeing as domesticated felines are prone to becoming obese as they age. In order to avoid that, make sure to play with your cat on a daily basis to encourage physical activity. Luckily, cats are easily distracted, and a toy as simple as a rope or a bouncy ball can keep a cat entertained for hours. Alternatively, you may also use a laser pointer if you want to exercise your cat with minimal effort. With that said, some cats may enjoy being walked in parks. There are specialized leashes made for cats, but you’ll have to train your pet from a young age to be walked, else your pet will grow accustomed to the indoors and refuse to step outside.

Training

It’s tempting to train your cat to do tricks for you to show off; however, cat behaviorists like Jackson Galaxy advise against training your cat to do anything outside feline nature. For instance, you should never toilet train your cat, or teach it to play dead or fetch toys for you unless it decides to. Behaviorists believe that training your cat to do such tricks can be harmful to its nature, seeing as cats need to preserve their predatory instincts to survive.

Vet visits

Some pet owners may think that vets are only for emergencies, but this is farthest from the truth. Regardless of your cat’s health condition, monthly check-ups are essential in order to deworm, vaccinate, and perform a general check-up on your cat. Aside from keeping your cat groomed, your vet will diagnose any potential infection or diseases in its early stages and prevent it from harming your cat. You should also talk to your vet about any unusual behavior that your cat displays, seeing as this can indicate illness. That said, make sure to spay your neuter your cat to keep its behavior under control, and to prevent it from attempting to flee its home to mate.

Cats are known to be affectionate pets that are low-maintenance and require minimal care. But these self-cleaning fur balls will also need their owners to invest time to play with your cats and encourage them to exercise. That said, you need to keep an eye out on your cat’s diet and what it consumes, making sure it only has access to medical-grade food. If you’re worried about your furniture, investing in scratch posts will keep your cats distracted and your furniture good as new.

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