My mother is a pet groomer, animal shelter employee, and she used to have her own pet business before my brother was born so she knows quite a bit about cats and we have one ourselves! Here’s quick tips:
– Keep the cat indoors at all times if you would like your cat to remain as healthy as possible as well as live a longer life
– Get the FURMINATOR brush for your cat from PetEdge.com to ensure a healthy coat, you can choose a brush for long or short hair
– A rule of thumb is to have TWO litter boxes for every 1 cat in your household. We have a finished basement and that is pretty much our cat’s domain, so we have one of her litter boxes under the stairs and the other on the main floor of our house in the laundry room. Get a litter mat so your kitty doesn’t track litter all over the place after each use.
– I recommend getting a collar with a bell on it since cats are so stealthy. The first week we got her, she managed to get herself stuck in our pull-out sleeper sofa and we never would’ve known where she was had it not been for that bell (and her tiny mews).
– If you plan to have other cats in the future, test them for leukemia, as this is a deadly disease that is highly contagious among felines.
– Even if you plan on keeping your cat indoors at all times, keep their collar on or have them microchipped in case they ever get out.
– Enforce rules early on. If you don’t want your cat on the furniture or climbing on your counters, use a squirt bottle, clap your hands in their direction, or use a single word to use when they are doing something you don’t want them to do. My cat climbs all over the place, so we stopped caring and just wipe down our counters daily with clorox wipes before prepping food, etc.
– TOYS! Cats are pretty independent and active creatures, so it’s great to give them plenty of toys so they don’t get bored and decide your curtains or table legs look pretty good for scratching. Scratching posts, feather toys, shoe laces, cat nip balls, kickaroos and fake mice are always fun.
– Maybe get kitty a window seat. If you have a window that you don’t really use, you can buy cat window seats so they can sit and look outside. My mom put one right in front of our bird feeders outside and my cat loves it!
– Decide whether or not to get your cat declawed and fixed if they aren’t already. We only got my cat’s front paws declawed and she still uses her scratching post! Too funny!
– If you plan to add any other animals to your household (including fish) monitor you cat’s behavior around them and slowly introduce each other. If you have fish or reptiles, keep a lid on the aquarium. My cat does well with two dogs, but she was the addition to the family, not the dogs. My cat actually became friends with my cockatiel and would let my bird walk over to her and stand on her head. She didn’t seem to mind, but she did enjoy pawing the water when I got a betta.
– Stay away from soft food. This goes for dogs too. Canned food isn’t good for their teeth, I don’t care what anyone tells you. A lifetime of canned food will make your cat fat, and their teeth rot right out of their mouths. If you plan on using canned food, couple it with a brand of kibble that your vet recommends.
– Learn your cat and their behavior. Cats are great at hiding their pain and illness so it’s important to know if something is wrong right away. Going to the bathroom outside their litter box, lethargy, no appetite, etc. For example: My cat always seemed to be wet around her private areas and was constantly grooming herself there and she started going to the bathroom everywhere but in her litter box. I took her to the vet and it turns out she had a UTI and bladder stones due to her eating the dogs’ food instead of her own. She is now on a permanent diet, and can only eat a special food.
– HAVE FUN! Cats are wonderful. Enjoy your kitty and don’t be afraid to call your local vet for questions, visit cat forums, or ask friends!