(Closed) 1st time cat owner!! HELLP!!!

posted 4 years ago in Pets
Post # 2
186 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 10, 2016

Haha, you can always change their name! My kitty was called Mosey at the shelter; she responded to the name I picked (Evelyn) within a couple days, if not earlier.

My main advice is not to worry so much! Cats are usually pretty easy. Keep them indoors, as they can have a very negative impact on the environment if allowed outside and can also get a lot of diseases that way. Make sure they have enough food and water and a litter box (one with a hood is usually better, kitties like their privacy). Take them to a vet right away after you adopt and once a year after that. Get them a collar with your phone number on it just in case they get outside (also, shelters usually give them micro chips now). 

Have you been talking to shelters / pet foster parents about specific cats? Every kitty is different; some are lap cats, some love to play, some are shy, just like people! My baby is veryyyy playful, and she’s almost seven, which is unusual. She’s also very talkative, like most torties. Make sure you get a sense of their personality  before you take them home, because some require more energy than others (I’m looking at you, Evelyn!).

As for shedding, just make sure you get a short hair. But you WILL still find cat hair on everything, it’s inevitable.

Post # 3
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

westgirl1208:  I’ve had cats all my life. They are the best! We’ve usually always kept litter boxes in the laundry room area, or a bathroom. I know cats like their privacy when they have to do their business. Just make sure to take new kitty to wherever the litter box is and make sure she knows it’s there. In my experience, you only have to show them once. My two cats that I have now have never had an accident.

My cats loooove feather toys that dangle on sticks, and jingle balls that they can chase around. I also have a few little catnip mouse toys that one cat loves, and the other one couldn’t care less about. Just like babies, every cat is going to love/hate different things. It’s a trial and error process.

I also keep treats on hand to give them once in a while. Just don’t let your cat see where you keep them, because my cat has been known to open the cabinet, pull the bag out, and rip it open!

Post # 4
2350 posts
Buzzing bee

westgirl1208:  I have always had cats. Here are my tips:

1. First off, you can change a cat’s name. 

2. It’s hard to predict when a cat is a baby how much it will shed. Some short hair cats shed a lot and some long hair cats shed a lot. You kind of have to just roll with it. 

3. Different breeds are different in terms of general preferences. For example tabby cats and siamese tend to be vocal, ragdoll cats tend to be docile, maine coon cats tend to be a bit wild. I have always just gotten strays, getting a purebred cat doesn’t really make sense to me, I think MOST of a cat’s behavior is related to how they are raised, not their breed. 

4. When you bring your cat home it is best to keep it in one room for a while. Cats can be skittish at first, it is very important that they feel safe, keeping them in one room for a while helps them establish a “home base”. The cat’s “home base” room is where you should put their food, water, and litterbox. When we got our current cat he was 3 months old and a rescue. We kept him in our bedroom for about 2 weeks, then we let him in the living room, then the office, then the bathroom, we slowly expanded his scope until he was comfortable to roam the whole apartment. Now he goes wherever, but when he gets scared or surprised he still runs into the room that we established as his “home base”.

5. Some people don’t like cats because they’re “skittish”. Cats are usually skittish if they weren’t raised the right way. When cats are new/little, loud noises are overwhelming. Storming into the room with five friends who shout “AWWWWW !!!! LOOOOOOK!!!” and then pass the tiny kitten from person to person will make a skittish cat. When I get a kitten or new cat, I only interact with it with one other person at a time at most, not huge loud groups (and definitely not kids). Also, if a cat is hiding behind or under something (this is normal for new cats), don’t FORCE it to come out. Cats are small, they need to know that they have safe spaces that they can hide. So even now, if my cat runs under the bed because of thunder, I don’t drag him out. He knows that under the bed is one of his spots he can go. 

6. If you want a social playful cat, spend the time. Play with your kitten and talk in sweet voices to them! People spend hours walking and playing with dogs, but the often don’t do the same with cats and they should! Cats love to play! Small cats often love string, our cat loves superballs (those little bouncyballs you get in 25 cent machines), and most cats love cardboard boxes. Some cats like scratching pads and some don’t (ours likes the ones made of cardboard). Most cats I’ve had don’t really care for those cat structures covered in carpet, I wouldn’t buy anything too expensive at first. Also, most cats like to look out windows. 

Let me know if you have any other specific cat questions ๐Ÿ™‚ 


Post # 5
437 posts
Helper bee

Lol we are religious about rolling and vacuuming and there’s still kitty hair everywhere. 

I’ve adopted all of my cats in the past and they have all been awesome. Litter box in the laundry room and as PP said, you only need to show them once! 

If you get a male, be sure you get it good food!  2 of my male cats developed crystals in their urinary tract and almost died because of bad food :(. We only feed them vet food now (more expensive, but in the long run better for them!) 

my cat looooves her beds!  We have ceasar Milan dog beds that she sleeps on on the couch in the sunroom and on the floor in our bedrooM lol 

cats love toys with strings – anything they can play with yiu with. Also, invest in a scratching post and some cat nip to put on it. Kiwi loves hers ๐Ÿ™‚ 

ive had a lot of cats over the years, so feel free to pm me if you like! 


Post # 6
9181 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

Ooh how exciting!!!!!!  I’m outing myself here as a total cat lady (only two, but I’d have 10 if I didn’t have any self control).

Changing the name is NO big deal.  It’s a cat, it won’t necessarily learn its name or be attached to it like a dog.

They recommend 1 litter box per cat plus 1, so 2 for 1 cat.  I find that unscented litter smells the best.  Scoop it every 1-2 days, and totally empty and wash out the boxes ever ~2 weeks and refill with clean litter.

Food!  It’s best to feed them at least half wet food, and grain-free (cats are natural carnivores and get most of their water from food in the wild).  Cheap dry cat food can lead to a lot of health problems in cats.

A kitty tower is key – they LOVE being able to get up high and oversee their realm.  We have a kitty tower plus a bookshelp with a perch on it.

Toys – you’ll have to experiment and see what he or she likes.  My little boy loves the crinkly balls and is also obsessed with rubber bands – I always wake up in the middle of night to him attacking my wrist where I left a hair tie after the gym.  My little girl likes catnip stuffed toys and carries her favorites around in her mouth.  They also both love the easiest cheapest toy every, which is a thick hair tie tied to the end of a long string.  I drag it around the house and they go nuts chasing it.  Laser pointers are also a really cheap, low effort way to amuse your kitty.

For shedding, if you can get a short-haired cat, you’ll notice it less.

Welcome to the wonderful world of being owned by a kitty cat!  Lol.

ETA: A couple more tips!

If your cat starts peeing outside the litterbox, take it to the vet and don’t leave til you get an answer.  It’s almost guaranteed to be a medical condition, so don’t punish the poor kitty even though it’s irritating as f*ck.

Like PP said, take the time to play with your cat, like 20 minutes a day.  It’ll form strong bonds between you and the kitty, so it’ll be cuter and more snuggly and more interactive.  It’ll also keep it from getting bored and destroying things.

Cat scratching posts… cats need to scratch something.  If you don’t provide a good surface, they’ll use your furniture.  We have two of this kind and it is the BEST – tall and sturdy so the cat doesn’t knock it over and decide your couch is better quality.  http://www.amazon.com/SmartCat-3832-Ultimate-Scratching-Post/dp/B000634MH8/ref=zg_bs_2975247011_1

Last – two cats are hardly more work than one.  If you get two that are bonded at a shelter, or two kittens that will grow up together, they’ll keep each other entertained and not bored while you’re gone all day.  And kitties snuggling is just the cutest!  I really think it’s the way to go, so you don’t have one bored lonely cat, you have two cats who are built in buddies.

Post # 7
1886 posts
Buzzing bee

I love my cats ๐Ÿ™‚  You should be able to put the litter box anywhere convenient for you and just make sure to show them where it is when they first move in.  Mine has a lid and I recommend that, they still fling litter out of it so I also have a rug in front of it to help protect my carpet. 

My cats are indoor only, which I recommend.  I don’t know if I would keep feeding them the same food as the shelter.  I would suggest transitioning by mixing that food with a good quality cat food unless they are already using a high quality food, just wonder if their funding allows that. 

My adult cats like the stick style toys with a feather or some toy on the end that I move around for them to chase.  Kittens will go after a lot more types of toys but as they get older they lose interest in some of the playing.

Also, they don’t really like their food and water right next to the litter box. 

Post # 8
608 posts
Busy bee
  • Most breeds don’t have serious genetic issues, simply because they haven’t been inbred as long as dogs have. There are exceptions to this, but I’m afraid I don’t know them.
  • Whatever you do, please don’t declaw.
  • Collars are generally not awesome for cats. If they go outside, the collar can become tangled on a branch, strangling kitty. Many cat collars are ‘breakaway’ for this safety reason, but that makes them useless for identification purposes. I strongly suggest microchipping, even if kitty will be an indoor cat. (And I do recommend keeping kitty indoors, for safety/health reasons.)
  • I use covered litterboxes for their privacy and my sanity. You’ll want them out of the way. Different cats like different things – we’ve never been able to use those nifty liners, as my cats will shred the crap out of them.
  • Mousies are always favorites, anything with dangly bits and feathers is often a go. The favorite around here are little brightly colored springs – they chomp down on them and they SPRING back, which shocks them and engages them in play.
  • +1 to ‘cats will find the treats, rip the bag open, and devour them’ – sneaky bastards.
  • Most cats don’t care too terribly much about their name. Rename away. ๐Ÿ˜› (Honestly, shelters often rename them when they arrive.)
  • Some cats really like running water, but you’re not required to indulge this diva behavior.
  • You don’t need to bathe them unless they get into something gross somehow. If everything is normal, they clean themselves better than we do.
  • Introduce a new cat to a SMALL area of your home in the beginning. Free access to the entire house will likely be overwhelming. Start with a single room, and have food, water, litterbox, etc all in their. As they become acclimatized (after a few days, in all likelihood), let them expand their territory.
  • All cats are different, so you’ll just want to pay attention. Fortunately, they are also insanely expressive, so if you ARE paying attention, you’ll know when kitty is happy or annoyed. :p
Post # 9
1886 posts
Buzzing bee

After reading other posts I will add a vote for get two instead of one for companionship.  They play together, snuggle and I don’t see where two really creates much more work for me other than I often have two wanting on my lap.

I’ve heard the cat box rule but have always only had one.  I clean the one every day by scooping out litter, sometimes twice a day.  People worry about the litter but it takes probably less than a minute to do that scooping and the clumping litter such as the arm & hammer one I usually use does a good job of keeping any bad smells away.


Post # 10
2606 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

You can easily change a cat’s name if you don’t like the one they have at the shelter.  Just decide on a name that you DO like and start calling the cat that.  He or she will learn to respond to that name.

Most cats at the shelter are going to be mixes, so basically they’ll either be DSH (domestic short hair) or DLH (dometic long hair).  Shelters/rescues do occasionally have purebred cats surrendered to them, and breed rescues do exist, so if there is a breed you are interested in, you can search for them, (try Petfinder.com).  As far as shedding, that’s pretty much going to happen if you have pets. Just like humans lose hair daily, pets do, too.  A short-haired cat would have shorter, less-visible hair, but they don’t really shed any less than longer-haired cats.  Frequent brushing will help control the shedding.  Also, don’t worry about your coworker’s allergies.  Generally, people are allergic to saliva and dander, and not actually the fur itself, so unless you bring the cat to the office, it won’t be likely trigger her allergies.

Put the litterbox wherever you want.  Show it to the kitty when you bring him/her home, and they’ll be able to find it again when they need to use it.  Also, it’s recommended to keep a new cat in a room of their own for a few days to a week so they can adjust to the household.  Obviously go in there frequently to give them attention/spend time with them.  It just helps them orient themselves.

As far as toys, that’s very much dependent on each individual cat.  Da Bird is generally a pretty popular cat teaser, and most enjoy chasing laser pointers.  A lot of cats like those little sparkly, foil balls.  Toy mice are often popular, if they don’t freak YOU out, (my mom HATED them being around the house, to the point that she actually threw a newspaper over a yellow fabric mouse with pink felt ears and a red string tail – not exactly realistic!).  

Oh!  You really only have to feed them the same food the shelter fed them for a short period of time. Most rescues/shelters feed what they can afford and/or what is donated, so it’s not always high-quality food.  Find a good quality brand and slowly switch them over to that over the period of a few weeks by mixing the foods and gradually increasing the ratio of the new food over the old food.

Post # 11
4770 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

westgirl1208:  The best thing you can get a kitty is a playmate.  Other than that the’ll play with just about anything, especially cardboard boxes and wand toys.

I’m not sure why you think you need to feed the cat what the shelter fed it.  Feed it anything you  want.  

You can also change a cats nme every day if you like, it’s not like they know their names.

This is like the best thing ever and IMO a must have for a cat owner:


then you’ll want this:


and maybe this:



Post # 12
5189 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

westgirl1208:  My parents have a cat and I consider her my lil sis.

Don’t worry about the name. Cats only respond when they want to. You could call it a different name every day. It’s the sound of your voice that grabs their attention. 

The litter box should be kept in a place where the cat can have some privacy. My parents keep the litter box in the downstairs guest bathroom, my best friend keeps it in a storage closet, another friend keeps it in the laundry room, I’ve even seen litter boxes kept in the garage. The first thing you should teach your cat is where the litter box is.

Cats shed. You can’t avoid it. They shed less in the winter but you’ll still have to adjust your vacuuming schedule. If you brush your cat daily it helps to control shedding and prevent hair balls. You can use a lint roller on the cat as well but it’s not as thorough as brushing. Give your cat its own bed and (fleece!) blanket to hang out on. It’ll be less likely to use yours. 

Toys don’t need to be fancy. Anything dangling from a string is enjoyable to them. Laser pointers are a blast. In my experience they also really like the little plastic rings you pull off a brand new milk cap. Throw one on the floor and your cat will bat it around for hours. They LOVE to play with bugs but I don’t recommend bringing them into your home just to entertain your cat.


Post # 13
479 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: The castle at stagecoach

ive had 3 cats (currently a maine coon named michi)  you should buy fresh step litter for multiples cats even if u just have one and put it in the bathroom…. its the only one that doesnt smell horrible seriously LOL, and the bathroom is usually a good place.


cats learn words over time but you can change its name its not a big deal.

youll need a spray bottle to train him or her, everytime they scratch the furniture give them a spray. they will  quickly stop that behavior. its better than getting them declawed bc declawing them if htey ever run away they cant defend themselves…. and its just water…


toys, a scratching post definitely, little mice toys, some breeds like heights and will climb some dont.   if your questioning weather to let them outside…. they will come back if you have a cat door or leave a window open that they can safetly get in and out through they will comee back, i was afraid the first time that my cat wouldnt come back but they always do, remember they know u feed them and give them water.


good fat food brand: wiskas, my cat loves it.  fancy feast too

Post # 14
534 posts
Busy bee

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! 

Post # 15
2606 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

Are you planning on getting a kitten or an adult cat?  Or are you undecided?

The topic ‘1st time cat owner!! HELLP!!!’ is closed to new replies.

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