(Closed) first time cat owner tips?

posted 7 years ago in Pets
Post # 32
3296 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - An amazing non-profit retreat

I’ve found that used cat toys and scratch pads etc… will not be used because they smell like other animals. 

automatic litter boxes are wonderful, and Swheat scoop litter is equally great. Also, try not to cheap out too much on the food. There really is a big difference between things like Alley Cat and more expensive brands. Just take a close look at the ingredients lists.

Oh, and cats love grass to munch on, but they will puke afterwards (cleans out their bellies)

Post # 33
2359 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

My only advice that will not only save you a ton of money in the future, but save your cat… is to make sure you feed it a PROPER diet.  i have lots of links and info if you need it on cat nutrition.  I’m speaking from my recently diagnosed Diabetic cat, and how i’ve spent 5,000 at the vet in the last 2-3 months.  

If you really want to love and care about your cat, just make sure you really pay attention to your cat, most people get cats and are just like Meh, hardly pay any attention to them.  But knowing your cat and it’s behavior you will know when something is wrong with your cat. Cats hide pain very well, and most owners don’t know anything is wrong until it is very serious. 

sorry to preach!  haha, but i’ve seen so many people with very sick cats, and they still think they don’t need to go to the vet.

I have 2 female cats who are now 13 years old, they are soooooooo affectionate.  they are my babies.   They learned how to use the litter box very quickly. 


Anyway, Congratulations, you will love having a cat!  Cats really are amazing pets

Post # 34
11324 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

Agree with other on older cats. I got a kitten once… cute but a serious pain in the ass (literally– kittens have razor sharp claws and they think it is *adorable* to attack you when sleeping lol). 

On boy v. girl I don’t think it matters. We have both. Our girl cat is more cuddly in that she likes ot be ON you, sleep on your lap, etc. Our boy cat wants to be near us, but not on us. But he’s still super cute and nuzzles our legs and cuddles next to us. 

Also, randomly, might I recommend you get 2? 2 cats is, in my opinion, 0% more work than 1 cat. Plus they play together and it is super super cute. Now 3 cats… that is a TON of work. I don’t know why. But 2 cats is perfect, in my opinion. 

Lastly, about cost. The regular cost of cats is pretty low. We buy good food (all natural, etc) and litter and it costs us maybe…. $30-40/mo? If that? But— do keep in mind that like any pet– bad things can happen and you might want to set aside some money for an emergency fund or buy pet insurance. One of our cats recently got ill and was diagnosed with a blood disease. All told we spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000 getting him well and his lifetime maintenance medicine is going to cost us around $150/month. So… yea. Be aware that they can cost an arm and a leg. 

Post # 35
1115 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Yay for kitty cats!!  I have 2 males and love them to pieces.  They are both very affectionate but independant at the same time.  Cats are the perfect pets, they are there when you need them but they aren’t too needy or clingy.  My boys are 12 and 13 yrs old.  My oldest was diagnosed with diabetes 2 years ago and I agree with a previous poster to feed them a healthy diet from the start.  Mine was quite hefty, 18 lbs and he ended up becoming diabetic.  I now give him injections every morning.  It isn’t too bad b/c he’s such a good boy it doesn’t even bother him.  Luckily, I found an awesome vet and the cost was less then $500 to get him regulated and on insulin.  The only down side is that I have to hire a cat sitter to come in everyday now when I am away on vacatin.  My best advice is to just be affectionate with your kitty, you will form a bond very quickly!!!  

Post # 36
367 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

We got a rescue kitten at 8 weeks old and she had no problem using the litter box. Generally they should be litter trained by then. I would definately recommend getting a kitten from a shelter or something. You don’t know where kittens at pet shops come from and they can come from pretty dodge places. And you get all the warm fuzzies from rescuing an animal.

We have a dog that absolutely LOVES cats. She hates other dogs but is completely crazy about cats. I was really worried when we first introduced them because the kitten had never seen a dog before. This tiny ball of ginger fur turned into a hissing, spitting ball the second she laid her eyes on our dog. After a bit of time they were best friends. Now they share a bed.

I would definately recommend a scratching post. Try Ebay or something. I got mine for $13.00 (inc. delivery), it’s worth at least a couple hundred. If possible maybe try one with a hammock. Cats love those. I’ve spent a heap of money on cat toys that get played with a bit put a scrunched up ball of paper is the best toy!

Post # 37
289 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999



Every question you never thought to ask, is answered here. and their articles are great!

Post # 38
289 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Oh and some fluffy butts for you…

Post # 39
20 posts
  • Wedding: June 2012

Yay for new family members!!

Litter box training: Cats are creatures of habit, the earlier you can catch bad habits or enforce good ones, the smoother things will run. When cats go to the bathroom, it is their instinct to keep returning to that spot (triggered by smell). You can use this to your advantage by one of two ways. 1) (preferable.. obviously, lol) Once you bring kitty home, watch them like a hawk for that first moment when they start digging/squatting to go to the bathroom and try to run them to the litter box (if they’ve gotta go then they’ve gotta go! lol). 2) If you don’t “catch” them in time and it is #2, (sorry this part may be gross), but instead of throwing it out, move it into the litterbox and show/make sure your kitty smells the new bathroom area. Never had a cat that took more than a day of litter training by doing one of those methods.

Training in general: Cats don’t really respond to yelling in the sense dogs would, I would recommend what others have suggested, a water bottle. That way they grow to fear an ‘object’ and not their actual owner. Again, try to mold habits early. For scratching.. try rubbing some catnip on a scratch pad.. mine always took to this but some cats don’t prefer catnip. And squirt them when they scratch furniture and what not.

Consistency: It is important to keep them on a consistent diet (same brand/type.. especially dry food) and not switch things up without a gradual change over (to accomodate their digestive tracts). I feel like switching litter isn’t as crucial, and depends really on the individual cat. Mine could care less as long as she gets to play it in to her heart’s content (thus why I had to get a fully enclosed litterbox… she THROWS that stuff everywhere).. I’ve even watched her go into the litterbox and play around in the stuff without actually going to the bathroom, lol!

Food: Vets typically recommend a mix of wet (half a can) and dry food daily.. but I feel like it’s more important to get enough dry food than wet (too much wet food without enough dry can be terrible for their teeth). The wet food provides them with extra protein and helps keep them hydrated, but they need the dry food as well for good teeth/gums health and other supplemental nutrients. Also important, as mentioned earlier, diet is not something you want to cut corners with. Get the brandname stuff.. Iams, Purina, etc.. not the storebrand stuff, it’s tremendously beneficial in the long run for overall health of the kitty.

Other random stuff I’m thinking about: PLEASE get your cat spayed/neutered. Aside from the arguement I’m sure you’ve heard of the overpopulation of cats and dogs.. having them fixed can help prevent a lot of bad habits they could develop (males spraying, etc) and even quite a few illnesses they can aquire (even cancers). Cat toys- I’ve tried buying things for my cat.. but she always goes back to curling ribbon, hair ties, and grocery bags! Just depends on the cat I guess.. Also, socialize your cat early on, whatever he/she may be exposed to later in life.. it’s easier for them to adjust early on. So if you always have people coming in and out, let the kitty meet a lot of people early on, or if you will be around kids a lot, let him/her get exposure with kids, if you want to be able to clip their claws.. pet their paws a lot (not just during clipping) to get them used to it. Just makes adjustments easier down the road. Rockstar33 brought up a good point, cats are very good at hiding what’s wrong, and usually by the time you notice something… things have progressed to a very bad point. So the better you know your cat’s personality the sooner you can know when to get your cat to a vet, etc.


Okay! I’m sorry I did not mean this post to go ON for so long, ha. Hoped this helped though and GOOD LUCK with the adoption!!


Post # 40
6474 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011 - Sydney, Australia

Our boy cat has always been very good – no accidents, inside only, very mellow.

We adopted a girl kitty in December & she was a little more challenging. Had a few accidents with her litter tray in the beginning (though we think that was mostly a territorial thing, as it stopped fairly quickly.)

Our cats never go outside. They’re both desexed, and they’re the happiest little things I’ve ever seen. Seriously, I love them like family – they ARE family.

Don’t be surprised if they like the wrappings more than the toys you buy them! Our two love running around after toilet paper rolls, cardboard boxes & newspapers!!

Oscar (he’s 4)

& Evie (who’s 10 months)

Post # 41
2359 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@jajabinx89:  Actually, dry food has ZERO benefits for cats.  It’s been proven.  It’s more for the convenience of the owner.   Dry cat food does not help clean cats teeth, mostly because 1. Cats swallow it whole, and 2. even if they chew it, it breaks apart so easily that it really doesn’t help fight plaque and tartar.   The only thing dry food does is make your cat very unhealthy. 

Even most canned cat food is very bad for your cats health. 
Having a diabetic cat now, I will never ever ever feed her, my other cat, or any future pet, dry food. 

It’s much easier to take your cat in once a year for a teeth cleaning, then to care for and fund a diabetic or a very sick cat.  



Post # 41
188 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

If your are planning for your cat to be an indoor only cat I would highly recommend a female cat. The boy cats I had as a teenager were desperate to go out and hunt/explore territory all the time so we let them out. Now I live in an apartment my 1 year old female cat is an indoor only cat and is perfectly happy not going out. I would recommend getting plenty of toys and scratching post.

Enjoy your cat! When it comes down to it cats are easy. As long as your look after them and give them enough love and attention you will have no problems.

Post # 42
33 posts

I’ve never had a problem “training” a cat or kitten to use a litter box. First and foremost, get them neutered/spayed as soon as possible. This will cut down on them spraying or marking areas (with pee). Put the litter box where it’s accessible, take the kitten or cat and place them in there. That’s all I’ve ever had to do, and only once. They get the idea pretty quickly.

Secondly, I would get one of these, or something that includes that. We have a kitty tower that was around $100 that has corrugated cardboard that they LOVE scratching. They’re not interested in anything else marketed as scratching posts but the cardboard stuff they’re all over.

I would get them microchipped as well, which lots of vets offer as a sort of add-on when they get fixed for $15 or so. If someone finds your cat, vets and shelters have scanners that can scan a chip embedded in their skin that has your contact info in it.

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