Welcome Your Kitty Home
If you are thinking about becoming a cat parent, there are some important things you need to consider before you hear the pitter-patter of tiny paws in your house. Getting a pet is a big decision, and one that should not be taken lightly.
While cats are independent creatures, they certainly need quite a high level of care. It’s important to make sure you have the time to commit to their needs. First, consider where you live. If you rent, you may need to check if you are allowed to keep pets. Next, if your cat is going to spend time outside, it’s best if you don’t live near very busy roads.
If you work you are going to need to consider who will feed your pet, and if you don’t have a cat-flap, how they will get in and out the house. Cats also need companionship, so you’ll need to spend time with them, or potentially get a second cat.
Time is one aspect of cat ownership, but costs are another. Adopting or buying a cat is one thing, but you will also have to purchase a wide variety of products for your cat, plus food on an ongoing basis. Your cat will also need regular veterinary visits and annual vaccinations to keep them healthy.
That doesn’t even factor in if your cat gets sick, or has an accident. Veterinary bills can add up very quickly.
One way to minimize veterinary bills is to purchase pet insurance. You want to do this as soon as possible because if you wait until your cat has an illness, they won’t be covered for that going forward. Shop around for insurance. There are many online sites that will offer a comparison.
However, don’t always go for the lowest cost option. It’s important to weigh what’s covered, and how much the excess is for each claim.
Cat Adoption vs Breeders
If you want a specific breed of cat, you might need to purchase from a breeder. However, always do your research to ensure they are reputable and put the welfare of their animals first. If the type of cat or even the age is not so important to you, then always consider adoption.
Approximately 3.2 million cats enter shelters in the USA every year, so you can see how important it is to give these cats a new chance at a loving home.
Kitten vs Older Cat
If you do choose to adopt a cat, then you will find that there are more adult cats available than kittens. While kittens are super cute, they require a lot of work, and it’s during the first few months that they can inflict the most damage on your home. There’s a lot to be said for adopting an older animal, and many shelter cats are still relatively young.
If you are out at work during the day there are definite advantages to bringing home an adult cat: they will be house trained and they will be able to function with slightly less attention.
Naming Your Cat
If you adopt an older cat they will likely already have a name they answer to, so you should keep it (even if Mr. Fluffy McPaddypaws wasn’t your first choice). If you need to choose a new name, then let your imagination run wild. You can check out baby naming websites for some fresh ideas, but ultimately go with something you like that also suits your cat.
Getting them used to their name will take time. The best way to do this is to use the name consistently, and greet your cat with it whenever you see them.
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Bonding with Your Cat
Patience will also be needed during the bonding process with your cat. Each cat has their own personality, and while some will want to sit with you, others may be more independent. Try not to rush things and give them the space to come to you. A cat who feels under pressure is not a happy cat. Make sure you spend enough time grooming your cat and playing with them.
The more fun you have together, the more time they will want to spend with you.
Training a cat is very different from training a dog, but the commonality between them is consistency. Let’s take litter training as an example. You might have to place your kitten in their litter tray numerous times, and after every accident, before they get the right idea.
If the cat is not allowed on certain counters or furniture, then you are going to have to keep making that clear to them. Their nature will decide whether they actually take you seriously, but always train with reward, never punishment.
Cats have their own behavioral patterns, as do specific cat breeds, and it’s a good idea to do some research so that you understand what your cat is trying to tell you. Behavior will also vary between male and female cats, and one of the most important things you will need to do is have your cat spayed or neutered.
An unaltered male cat can spray his territory, which smells very unpleasant. He will also get into fights and is likely to wander off. An un-spayed female cat will very quickly fill up your home with kittens.
Finally, any new cat owner should be aware of everything they need to purchase for their new arrival. Food, food bowls, a litter tray, toys, a cat bed, and a pet carrier are just the start. Shop around both locally and online to get the best deals, but when it comes to cat food, buy the best you can afford as quality ingredients will keep your pet healthy.