All the Information You Need to Raise Your First Cat

illustration of checklist for first cat

It's a big step for you and your new cat to decide to adopt your first cat. This lesson has been created to help you create a lasting bond with this particular cat so that it has a "forever home," regardless of whether you are considering obtaining a cat or have recently acquired your first one.

  • 01 of 11

    Couple petting orange tabby cat.

    Bringing home a new cat is much like adopting a human baby. However, in the case of a cat, you'll be shopping for a litter box instead of a changing table.

    There are several items to gather or acquire before bringing your new cat or kitten home, so your cat will feel more like a member of the family than a guest. To reduce tension for you and your cat on "homecoming day," do this a few days in advance. You don't want to suddenly realize at 8 o'clock that you forgot to buy cat food since you were so excited to bring your cat home.

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    A "Safe Room" doesn't have to be a distinct room; it might be an unoccupied closet, a secure corner of your bedroom, or a seldom used restroom. The most crucial thing is that your new cat has a sanctuary where it may withdraw and unwind that it can call "home." It could willingly opt to mingle with you and your family members, but for the time being, let it make that choice. Depending on the cat's past, it can take a few days to a week or longer, but being patient now will pay off in the long run with a happy connection.

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    You've chosen the location where you'll adopt your new cat, and perhaps you've already picked which particular cat you must bring home. You've stocked up on the necessities from the list and set up Kitty's "safe chamber." There is just one more thing to do before Homecoming Day: cat-proof your house to prevent damage to both the family and the new guest.

    Cat-proofing your house is not difficult, but it will take some time. To spot risky temptations, all you need to have is the courage to lower yourself to a cat's level and the capacity to think like a cat.

  • 04 of 11

    Bring Your New Cat Home

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    Oh, good day! The momentous day for taking your new cat home has finally arrived after all your preparations. Despite everyone's excitement, it would definitely be best to avoid making this a significant family event. Especially if you have small children at home, your new infant will probably be agitated enough without a crowd of strangers vying for its attention.

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  • 05 of 11

    Take Your Cat for Its First Veterinary Visit

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    The initial trip to the vet for your new pet is crucial. If the adoption organization hasn't already done so, you'll want to confirm its health, obtain its shots, and have it tested for the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). You must schedule an appointment to your new cat, unless it has already been done.

    You should be prepared with the possibility of being asked, "Do you want a declaw with that neuter?" Of course, the appropriate response is "Thank you, but no. I require my cat's claws."

  • 06 of 11

    Know Your Cat's Diet

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    Early nutrition will determine a cat's health and well-being for the rest of its life. Understanding the components of cat food can help you make sure that your new family member lives long and healthy lives.

    Although cats descend from desert creatures, fresh water is also essential to them, especially if they eat a dry food diet.

    To know what you're giving your newest family member, make sure you read the cat food labels. Up till you are certain in your understanding, you should review for the coming weeks and months. Reading cat food labels will become second nature to you once you develop the skill.

    A source of clean, fresh water is also vital to your cat's well-being. Although cats have descended from desert animals, they still need to be well-hydrated.

  • 07 of 11

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    A litter box is essential for your new cat's comfort and health, just after food and water. You won't ever have to worry about odor or "out-of-box accidents" if your cat's litter box is meticulously maintained.

    "But the cat goes outdoors," you say? You'll want to rethink that decision in one of the later steps.

    "Where will it sleep?" is a crucial question to ask before getting your first cat. Will you get it his own comfy bed, share your bed with it, or do both? Remember that you are developing habits that will probably last a lifetime.

  • 08 of 11

    Take Care of Your Cat's Scratching Needs

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    Unwanted behavior is second on the list of reasons for shelter surrenders, right behind litter box avoidance. Actually, cats need to scratch just as much as they need to eat and breathe. For a variety of reasons, cats' claws are their most important tools.

    When you complete this lesson, you'll have all the tools you'll need to ensure your cat the scratching, stretching exercise it needs, without sacrificing your hard-earned carpet and furniture.

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  • 09 of 11

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    Playing with your cat strengthens your relationship. Cats excel at creating their own games and love to play. Try out items you may find around the house before spending money on pricey cat toys. Both cardboard boxes and paper bags are a lot of fun.

  • 10 of 11

    Determine If Your Cat Spends Time Indoors or Outdoors

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    There are secure indoor options if you believe that cats require exposure to the outdoors and sunlight. That is a choice if your deck is enclosed. To eliminate the risk of your cat coming into contact with other animals outside, you may also attempt your cat.

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    Make Your Cat a Family Member for Life

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    As time passes, your bonding with your new cat will become stronger than ever, and you and your family will consider your cat a valued family member rather than a pet.

    Congratulations for giving your pet such good care. You may now formally refer to yourself as an ailurophile or even a crazy cat lover because this is your graduation day. You are joining the most admirable, compassionate individuals in the world: those who cherish their feline offspring.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.

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