Tips and Tricks for First Time Cat Owners

Adopting a cat is a wonderful way to enrich your life. Some studies reflect that cat  owners are healthier, enjoy better sleep, and are less likely to suffer from loneliness. Cats make loving, affordable, and relatively independent household pets and are an excellent option if you don’t have the time or space for a dog. 

Few things are more exciting than bringing home a new pet. But if you want to enjoy a smooth adoption, you have to be prepared! Being a first-time cat owner is a lot more work than it may seem. While the work is well worth it, it’s best to know what you’re getting into so you can ensure your home and life are properly prepared. 

Fortunately, there are countless resources available online that can help you navigate the ins and outs of cat ownership. Here are some essential things to keep in mind as you embark on your journey into the wonderful world of cat ownership.

Budgeting for Care Costs
While pet owners frequently report that cats are cheaper to care for than dogs, you will still need to be prepared for various care expenses. Make sure you consider medical costs, especially if you’re adopting a senior cat. 

Over the course of their life, your cat will need regular trips to the vet—and possibly a few unexpected medical treatments. Major vet bills can really take you by surprise if you’re not prepared. Pet insurance can be a huge help in the event that your cat develops a costly medical condition or suffers an injury that requires surgery. 

Even if your cat is young and healthy right now, a good pet insurance policy can offer peace of mind that you will always be able to make the best care decisions for your cat without worrying about the cost of their treatment. Research different pet insurance companies so you can find the best policy for your needs.

Vet Visits
After your cat’s initial vet visit—which should happen soon after adoption—your cat will need to take a trip to the veterinarian at least once every year. During these annual visits, your vet will assess the health of your cat and check for potential issues.

It takes a trained eye to spot these health problems since cats are very good at hiding discomfort. Trips to the vet are also a great opportunity to discuss preventive care strategies that will keep your feline friend happy and healthy for many years to come!

Keep in mind that you may have to account for more frequent vet visits as your cat grows older. Experts recommend that senior cats visit the vet twice per year since age-related diseases can come on quickly.

Cat-Proofing Your Home
Ideally, you would spend some time cat-proofing your home before adopting your pet, but it’s never too late to make your house a safer place for your new friend. Start by checking your home for small, loose items that your cat could chew or swallow. 

Erasers, board game pieces, toy accessories, and twist ties are common culprits. Ensure that all of your houseplants are safe for cats and check that your window screens are securely latched.

Also, keep in mind that cats love to scratch, climb, and knock things off shelves. While it may be difficult to restrict your cat’s access to your furniture, you can redirect their tendencies with a cat tower and scratching post.

Basic Cat Supplies
It doesn’t take much to keep cats happy, but a few basic supplies will help your cat maintain their physical and mental health. When it comes to food, choose a formula that is specifically designed for the developmental stage of your cat. Senior cats, for example, often need more protein in their diet to reduce age-related muscle mass loss.

Cats can be vulnerable to dehydration, so a cat water fountain might be a good purchase to encourage your pet to stay hydrated. Of course, you’ll also need a litter box filled with litter, a collar and ID tag, bedding, a cat carrier for those visits to the vet, and plenty of interactive toys.

To get the most out of your cat’s toys, keep only three or four available at a time and rotate them weekly.

Your First Days Together
Those first few days are going to be very exciting for you, but they can be nerve-wracking for your new cat. Cats don’t handle changes in their routine or environment very well. If your cat spends the first couple of days hiding from you, don’t worry! They will warm up to you and your home as they begin to feel more comfortable. Give your cat plenty of space to explore on their own.

It’s also a good idea to set up a quiet, private area where your cat can feel safe as they become familiar with your house. A laundry room or spare bedroom works great! Position their food and water on one side of the room and their litter box on the other, and include a covered hiding place where they can rest when they’re feeling overwhelmed.

Should You Let Your Cat Outside?
As your cat gets accustomed to your home, you may wonder whether or not you should let them roam around outside. While many people let their cats spend time outside, giving your pet free roam of the great outdoors can cause a number of problems for your furry friend, other people’s pets, and the local wildlife.

Cats that spend time outside face a far greater risk of injury and illness. Free-roaming cats can also ingest toxic plants or become exposed to dangerous chemicals like antifreeze and rodent bait. And although cats love to hunt small prey and can be great rodent deterrents, American Bird Conservancy explains that they can cause a lot of damage to local ecosystems.

Training Your Feline Friend
Despite what many people believe, you can train cats to learn appropriate behaviors and fun tricks. Training is a great way to establish behavioral expectations and bond with your feline friend. When it comes to training, rewarding good behavior is far superior to punishing unwanted behavior. Disciplining your cat can cause fear and anxiety. Like dogs, cats are highly motivated by food and play, and you can use both of these rewards to reinforce desirable behaviors!

As an example, if you want to train your cat to come when called, you should offer tasty treats when they come running in response to their name. Keep your training sessions short and practice often to help your cat learn new skills quickly.

When it comes to adopting pets, you can never be too prepared! Learn as much as you can about adopting and caring for a cat before you make the leap and bring home a furry friend of your own.

Article content provided from our friends at Fur and Feathers.


Top Reasons to Adopt an Elderly Pet

puppies-4233378_1920A puppy or kitten can require constant attention. A puppy can hold his bladder just one hour for every month they’ve been alive. For instance, a 3-month-old puppy will need to empty his bladder every three hours! And yes, that does include the middle of the night! An adult dog’s bladder is already fully developed. Shelter dogs are most often already house-trained and rescue groups make sure their adult dogs for adoption are housebroken before they go to new homes. You also have the advantage of knowing that your dog is physically able to “hold it” for several hours at a stretch. In most
cases, adult dogs are by far easier to housebreak than puppies. You can teach an old dog new tricks!

Many Senior Pets in shelters or with rescue groups are already trained and ready to go! Adults have a much longer attention span than puppies, too, which means they’re easier and faster to teach. Adult dogs already have recognizable personality traits, so you’ll be able to select one who is great with children. Many rescue groups use foster homes to make sure each dog for adoption is trained to be well- behaved indoors.

An adult dog has graduated from the puppy stage and has an established demeanor and temperament, which will give you an instant idea of how it will fit into your household. Older dogs have all their adult teeth and are out of the energetic puppy phase, which will result in less destruction to your home. Many of them do well with young children as they have a lower energy level and have possibly lived with them in their past homes.

With an adult pet, what you see is what you get. Their personality is already developed, and you’ll be able to spot the characteristics you’re looking for. Shelters and rescue groups are able to assess the personality of each pet for adoption, and carefully match you up with the right dog or cat for your lifestyle.

Senior dogs lose their homes for a variety of reasons, usually having nothing to do with their behavior or temperament, but more due to the fact that their owners are unable to keep them for reasons including: the novelty of owning a dog wearing off, allergies, death of a guardian, a new baby, loss of a job, a move, change in work schedule, and various other lifestyle changes. These dogs need homes just as badly as young adoptees do, and make wonderful household pets.

Ask anybody who has adopted an adult dog or cat, and they’ll swear their bond with their rescued pal is as deep as they come. When you open your heart and your home to an older dog or cat who needs help, they really do show their appreciation for the rest of their life! Pets who have been uprooted from their homes, or have had difficult beginnings are likely to bond completely and deeply with their new human caretakers who they view as heroes. Pets who find themselves in the shelter or at a rescue group because of a death or other tragedy in their former human family usually go through a mourning period. Once they are adopted, however, they usually want nothing more than to please their new hero—YOU! No matter what circumstances brought them to the shelter or rescue group, most older pets for adoption are exceptionally affectionate and attentive pets and extremely loyal companions. But first you have to adopt one!

Adapted from and