While owning a dog can be a lot of fun, ultimately some people are just more suited to cats than dogs. Owning a cat is a lot different to owning a dog as you do not have to spend hours training them or taking them on daily walks. However, that isn’t to say that having a cat is easy. While they certainly are less maintenance, cats can have unpredictable personalities, which makes them a bit of a handful. As well as this, cats can take a bit longer to settle into a new environment, so this is definitely something to be aware of when bringing a cat home.
If you are planning to be a cat parent for the first time, then there are a few things you need to expect. In this article, we will go over some of these points, as well as some helpful tips that should give you some advice as a first-time cat parent. Keep on reading to find out our top tips!
Understand They Are Independent
One important thing that you have to understand as a first-time cat parent is that cats are very independent. Although cats do love their owners and some of them are very needy, as a whole, cats are an independent species, and they tend to play by their own rules. Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t form a bond or even train your cat, but you must understand that sometimes they just need their own space. Especially as a new parent, you may be very eager to pick up and show off your cat, but this isn’t a good idea.
When you first bring your cat home, you should give them space straight away. It may be tempting to cuddle them and want to play with them, but you have to remember that this is a completely new environment for your cat, so they will be more focused on that than being petted by a stranger. Understanding and granting them their independence will give them the chance to explore their new environment and form a trusting bond with you.
Research Their Diet
When it comes to owning a cat for the first time, one thing you need to prepare yourself for is that they can be picky with their food. You may find that they enjoy one flavour of food one week and then the next they don’t. Finding the right food for your cat is often a case of trial and error; let them taste test a few different flavours and brands until you find one, they like. Be sure to have patience with them during this and do not try to force them to eat something they clearly do not like.
An important thing to know about cats is that they are carnivores, meaning they only eat animal products. They solely rely on the nutrients found in animals to survive, so it is important that you ensure their diet is rich in nutrients. Furthermore, cats often rely on the water in their food to stay hydrated, so it would be beneficial to top up their food with some water, so that they are eating and drinking at the same time. You may also find that your cat prefers drinking water from a tap or your glass, so just prepare yourself for you that!
Prepare To Spend Money
As with any sort of pet, you should expect that you will have to spend a fair bit of money on them. As a first-time pet owner, you may be tempted to buy an expensive bed or expensive toys for them, but this really isn’t necessary. Cats tend to choose where they want to sleep, and often they will ignore the cat bed. Instead, you should just create some cosy sleeping nooks throughout the house for your cat to choose from. In terms of toys, cats are quite happy playing with something as simple as shoelaces, so don’t splash out on expensive toys for them.
Another thing you will need to spend money on is vet bills and insurance. Having pet insurance is essential for a pet owner as it means that if something does happen to your cat, the insurance company can cover most of the cost. There are a few different types of cat insurance available, so it would be best to research first, to find out which one you will need. For example, if you are adopting a senior cat, then you will need to get specific senior cat insurance. Senior cats are obviously more vulnerable to illnesses, so it is best to have a senior cat insurance policy.
Outside vs Inside Cat
One important thing you need to decide when adopting a cat is whether that cat will be an inside or outside cat. There is a lot of discourse surrounding outside cats and whether they should be allowed, as many people feel as if they disrupt the natural ecosystem by hunting birds or mice. While this is definitely true for some cats, not all cats go outside to hunt, some just enjoy being outside. If you do intend to have an outside cat, then you must introduce them to the outside slowly. Wait until they are a bit older so that they have an easy route to and from the home.
If you plan to have an inside cat, then you do not have to do much preparation, but you will need to just keep an eye on them if they venture out into the garden. Cats are very curious creatures, and they become even more sneaky when they know they aren’t allowed to do something! Because of this, it would be best if you avoid letting them out in the garden unless someone is there to keep watch. It may take some time, but they will soon get used to being inside and will lose interest in the outside world pretty quickly.
Respect Their Personal Space
When you own a cat for the first time, one thing you need to expect is that they will not want attention all the time. This differs a lot from dogs and dogs are quite needy animals and love to be petted. Cats do love attention and pets too, but on their own time. As a first-time cat owner, this is something you need to be aware of, and you must respect their personal space at all times. If you are too keen and try to pick them up or pet them when they don’t want, the cat can become pretty agitated.
When you first bring your cat home, you may find that they are a little skittish and shy. This is completely normal, and it is something you should expect. If they are a little shy, to begin with, you should just respect their personal space and let them come to you when they are ready. Contrary to popular belief, cats are very affectionate creatures, they just work on their own schedule. As a first-time cat owner, you must be patient and give them the time and space they need to feel comfortable.