What First-Time Cat Owners Should Know Before Adopting

Caring for a cat differs from caring for other types of pets. So, you’ll want to make sure you keep reading! Everything you need to know to be an outstanding cat owner is below!

Photo by hang niu on Unsplash

Adopting a cat is an enriching experience. They’re a low-maintenance pet, help you manage stress, and are fun. However, there’s a lot that you’ll want to know before you jump into completing your first adoption. 

Caring for a cat differs from caring for other types of pets. So, you’ll want to make sure you keep reading! Everything you need to know to be an outstanding cat owner is below!

1. View Adopting a Cat as a Lifelong Commitment

You must consider adopting a cat a lifelong commitment since they can live longer than 15 years. Some can even live into their 20s. No matter what, you’ll have a cat for a long time once you adopt one.

That means it’s essential that you can commit to caring for the cat for that long.

You’ll need to consider whether you’re moving at that time and if you can take the cat with you. Too many cats are removed from their families because they can’t come during moves.

It’s also essential to consider your financial situation and whether you can commit to caring for a pet for that long. You’ll need to buy them food and toys and have enough to cover their vet bills.

Every state has a different cost of owning a cat. Generally, it’s more expensive the first year you adopt a cat because they need more vet visits and supplies upfront. After the first year of cat ownership, you’ll pay slightly less.

2. Adopting the Right Cat

Next, you must adopt the cat. All felines have different personalities, so you’ll want to choose one that fits your lifestyle the best. Some cats are more laid-back and snuggly, while others want to run and play all the time.

You’ll need to consider your personality and what types of cats you’d get along with the best. Plus, think about how much energy you have each day. Do you want a more energetic or relaxed cat to match?

Then, make sure you talk with staff about the personalities of the cats they have available. They should know more about their characters since they’ve worked with the cats first-hand. 

You can also interact with cats at cat cafes to see which ones you get along with the most. These cafes usually have many cats that are up for adoption, allowing you to meet them in person while enjoying a shrink or snack.

You’ll likely find yourself drawn to one particular cat after spending time with them. 

3. Vet Requirements

You must take your cat to the vet for regular check-ups. They’ll provide vaccinations that keep your pet happy and healthy. If your cat isn’t already spayed or neutered when you adopt them, the vet will do that for you, too.

Spaying or neutering your cat is essential. In female cats, it can prevent infections and cancers. In males, it also helps prevent cancer and reduces the chances that they spray to mark their territory. Fixing your cat will keep down stray cat populations as well.

Vets can be costly, especially if your pet has specific health concerns or is injured. You’ll need to consider whether or not you can realistically afford to bring your pet to their vet appointments. If you can’t, waiting a bit before adopting a cat would be best.

That said, you’re much more likely to spend more money on vet bills for a dog than you are a cat.

4. Cats Need Enrichment

While most cats can keep themselves entertained, they will get bored if you never play with them. You’ll need to ensure you can buy your cat toys and have play sessions with them during the day and even provide them with Cat probiotics for their health. Understimulated cats will get into trouble frequently for entertainment.

You should offer your cat climbing trees, balls, mice, and feather toys. Every cat will have a different preference for what toys they like the most, so you may need to experiment until you find the perfect toy for your cat.

Your cat doesn’t need the most expensive toys as long as the ones you get are safe and fun. 

Lastly, playing with your cat will help them bond with you, so it’s essential, especially when you’re working on welcoming the cat into your family.

5. Learn More About Cat Behaviors

Caring for a cat differs from caring for other types of pets. So, you’ll want to make sure you keep reading! Everything you need to know to be an outstanding cat owner is below!

Photo by Michael Sum on Unsplash

Next, you’ll want to spend some time researching house cats online. You must know enough about their behavior to understand why they do certain things once you adopt them. Cats communicate primarily through body language and a few vocalizations.

Knowing what your cat’s trying to tell you will help the two of you bond. Your cat’s social needs will also be met, making them happier and more comfortable in your home.

Here’s some of the most common cat body language to look out for:

  • Standing with an upright tail, sometimes curled at the tip: The cat is confident and happy. If they’re approaching you, it’s likely as a greeting.
  • Arched back, standing sideways, ears back: The cat is angry or fearful and is trying to make itself look bigger to frighten off a threat. They may become aggressive if not left alone immediately.
  • Slow blinking, turning head away: The cat wants to communicate that they’re not a threat. They’re feeling relaxed and friendly. You can blink back to them to tell them you feel the same.
  • Rolling on their back: Cats also do this when they feel relaxed and happy. You shouldn’t touch their belly as it can break their trust, and they might scratch or bite you. Instead, give them loving head rubs.
  • Tail jerking back and forth: Your cat is agitated or thinking hard. Something might have their attention.
  • Head rubbing or bunting: Cats hit their heads onto things they want to mark as theirs. They’ll do this to furniture and even you! It means that they’re claiming you as their family.

You’re Ready To Adopt Your First Cat!

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Now that you’ve read our handy guide, you’re ready to adopt your first cat. It’s crucial to realize that they’re a lifelong commitment, so take some time to think about your obligations first. Afterward, you’ll know if you’re ready to bring a cat home.

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