Deciding to get a pet is a big step in anyone’s life, especially if it is their first time owning a pet. We all know that getting a pet is a big commitment, you won’t be able to go on holiday without organising care, you need to provide good quality food, shelter and understand how best to look after your new addition. But if you haven’t kept cats before, where do you start? Don’t worry we’re here to help, we’ve complied a quick how to guide to make sure your new furry friend settles in.
Prepare A Safe Space
Have you ever felt like you needed to go and sit in a quiet room away from people but not been able to do it? How did that make you feel? It can’t have been a pleasant experience and not one that you want to give your cat. You need to prepare a room or a space in your house that is your cats and only your cats. It doesn’t need to be an entire bedroom, but it could be a closet, a cupboard or any other covered space where they can go to unwind. When you first get your cat, you may find that they want to hide in this space you have set up and that’s fine, be patient and you will reap the rewards once they have settled in.
Get A Shopping List Together
The second-best things about new pets is the shopping list that you can put together for your new companion, whether your new pet is like Snoopy or Garfield. Gone are the days of having to buy boring pet supplies, now you can find anything you want to match your décor or interests. When you are putting your shopping list together you need to think about the health of your cat. They are going to need somewhere to scratch, somewhere to go to the toilet, somewhere to eat and drink and something to play with. Work through the checklist and make sure you have all of these things in place before your new pet arrives at your home, that way they will be able to settle in right away. Sites like ipetcompanion offer advice on useful cat gear you can get.
You are essentially about to let a permanent toddler into your home that you can’t really reprimand and doesn’t care how long that serving dish has been in your family, if it is on the side, its being knocked off. Before you bring your cat home, make sure you have cat proofed everything you can think of. If you have a cupboard in your kitchen that is full of cleaning products, make sure it is tightly closed. Anything that you treasure, move it away from sides so it can’t be knocked off. Treat the house like you have a tiny terrorist toddler running around and act accordingly, if you wouldn’t let a child in there, don’t let your cat in there either.
Consider adding some height to your cat’s environment. We’re not saying invest in a 7ft tall cat tree, but cats like being up high as it gives them a safe space away from predators. If you are able to add a few empty shelves across your walls that will allow your cat to climb and rest away from the busy household, this is something that you should consider. It will make for a far happier cat.
Get Pet Insurance
We cannot state the importance of this enough, as soon as you think about getting a cat, get quotes for pet insurance and as soon as you have confirmed your new arrival buy it. Pet insurance may not be cheap, but it is cheaper than major surgery of life-long medication. When you are looking at policies, look at life-time insurance policies. These policies will reinsure you every year and still cover the medical condition that you may have claimed under. People without insurance tend to regret their decision when their pet becomes unwell, so it is worth having this set up for as soon as your cat get home.
Consider Having An Indoor Only Cat
Feral cats have become a problem the world over, whether it is out of control breeding or killing the bird populations. If you are getting a kitten or a younger cat that hasn’t lived its life outside, it will be worth keeping them indoors. This way, they don’t get the chance to kill protected wildlife and there is also no risk from cars or other predators. In door cats generally have a better quality of life than outdoor cats and not to mention that they also live longer.
Cats need to be brushed, whether they are long hair or short hair, brushing them is a must. Longer haired breeds can be prone to getting matts and if these are close to the skin, they can be incredibly painful and, in some cases, require veterinary treatment. If you are getting a kitten, make sure you get them used to brushing as soon as they are comfortable in your own home. If you get them used to it straight away, you won’t have a battle on your hands when they get older. If you are adopting an older cat, start slowly. It may take time for them to build up enough trust before they allow you to brush them. If you are unsure where to start, get a brush mit, these are the same shape as your hand, so you can start introducing them when you stroke your cat when they are calm and relaxed. If it looks as though your cat is getting stressed, stop and then start again once they have settled.
Getting a cat is an exceptionally exciting time, especially if you have never owned one before. They will take time to settle in and warm up to you, especially if you are getting one from a rescue environment. The more patient you are with them, the better they will settle in, so don’t rush to pet them as soon as you get them home. Give them time to explore your house or apartment so they know that they are safe there. Cats love familiarity, so once you have settled on your safe space for them, don’t change it. Once your cat has settled in, you’ll be asking yourself how you lived for so long without one.