8 First Time Cat Owner Tips All Prospective Cat Parents Should Know

Excited about your new cat and can’t wait for all the great times you’re going to have together? You might not be sure about what kinds of things your cat will need and how to take care of her so she has a long and healthy life. That’s when you should read up on first-time cat owner tips.

Along with determining what kind of cat food she needs, discovering which litter box is the best, and deciding whether or not you’re going to invest in a scratching post, you have a lot to figure out right now.

Here are some tips for first-time cat owners that will help you out and guarantee that your new cat is happy.

Set up the Litter Box

first time cat owner tips cat in litter box

When you bring your new cat home, she’ll need a litter box where she feels comfortable using the bathroom. When you buy a litter box, place it in a quiet area where there isn’t a lot of foot traffic. If the litter box is in a noisy, crowded spot, your cat may go to the bathroom on the floor somewhere that is calmer. 

Use unscented cat litter and choose whether or not you want the clumping or non-clumping kind. If it’s clumping, you can easily take the urine and feces out of the litter box so that you don’t have to empty the whole thing. It’s important to clean out the urine and feces daily, change out the entire litter box, and wash it with soap and water once a week.

Pick the Right Cat Food

You can feed your cat a mix of wet food and dry food. The first thing to look for in cat food is to make sure it’s for the right age. Then, make sure it has the right ingredients that will keep your cat healthy. It should name the protein source like chicken, lamb, beef, or turkey instead of just saying “meat,” and the protein needs to be the first ingredient. You should avoid ingredients that say “animal digest,” “by-products,” “meat and bone meal,” as well as added sugars, and fillers like cornmeal and other carbohydrates. 

Essentially, cats need protein, taurine, which is an essential amino acid, water, and other minerals, enzymes, fatty acids, and vitamins in their cat food. Don’t just go with something that’s cheap; find high-quality wet or dry food that is compliant with the requirements from the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

Get Stainless Steel Food and Water Bowls

cat puzzle first time cat owner tips

When picking out food and water bowls, go for ones that are made of stainless steel because they are durable, unbreakable, and dishwasher-safe.

Plastic bowls can get small scratches in them. Bacteria could become trapped in these scratches and cause your feline friend to get sick. Ceramic bowls are also a fine choice, but you’ll need to discard them if they become cracked or chipped.

Alternatively, you could feed your cat and exercise their curious minds at the same time! Consider an interactive cat puzzle that holds enough cat food to keep your kitty occupied and mentally stimulated.

Get a Good Scratching Post

cat scratching post

Your new cat needs to scratch for a number of different reasons. It ensures that their claws stay sharp, and it’s a form of exercise. It also helps them mark their territory and stretch their muscles. 

If you don’t give your new cat something to scratch, then she could end up looking around her new surroundings for things to scratch and end up ruining your walls, furniture, and floors. That’s why you should pick up a scratching post at the pet store. With a designated scratching post, they can tear it up all day long without causing any damage around your home.

One quick note: You may have thought about declawing your cat, but this is not a good option. It is very painful for a cat because it’s like cutting off your fingers at the knuckle. Declawed cats are also more likely to become aggressive and go to the bathroom outside of their litter box.

Or a Cat Tree

Cats love to climb! You may have already noticed that your new cat has climbed on your dining room table or kitchen countertops. To prevent this from happening in her new environment, as well as keep her occupied, you can purchase a cat tree for her. She will enjoy climbing up it and she’ll get a workout, which will keep her healthy.

Don’t Forget Cat Toys!

kittens on a scratcher

The best cat toys are the ones that will ensure your cat has more than just a few minutes of playtime. You could get your new kitty family member a tower of tracks, which will encourage your cat to paw at balls to try to get them. 

Another good cat toy is a calming Purr Pillow, which your cat can snuggle with. This is a great product if your feline friend is experiencing anxiety in her new environment. If you get her other toys, you could spray liquid catnip on them to drive her wild during playtime.

Schedule a Vet Visit

If your new cat is a kitten, it’s important to take her in for a vet visit once every three to four weeks in her first 16 weeks of life. She will get her vaccinations at these appointments, which will protect her from various diseases. 

You may also want to consider spaying or neutering your cat at one of these vet visits; the optimal age is before your cat reaches five months of age. Spaying and neutering are good for your cat’s health

Once your cat is older than 16 weeks, you should take her in for a wellness visit every six months to one year just to make sure everything is OK and she isn’t experiencing any health problems. During her checkups, tell the doctor about any funny behavior or changes in her health you’ve noticed. If you adopt an older cat, be aware that you might have to take her to the vet more often because senior cats tend to have additional health problems

While You’re There …

Consider getting a microchip put in. Your new kitty family member may go outdoors or escape one day. When she leaves, she may not have her collar on, or it could fall off. This is why it’s critical to get a microchip put in. If someone finds her, they can take your cat to any veterinarian or shelter to have it scanned and find your information so she can return home safely.

Having Fun With Your Feline Friend

Congratulations on your new pet! Remember to make sure she gets lots of playtime, snuggles, and love from everyone in your house, and she should happily acclimate to her new home. Then, you’ll have many beautiful years together.

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