Many pet lovers put themselves into one of two categories: A cat person or a dog person. While dogs have the edge when it comes to sheer popularity, cats win in a population contest. Dogs offer pure adoration and unbridled loyalty, whereas cats are more aloof and independent who choose when to bestow their affection. In fact, some people may momentarily forget that they even own a cat until it’s dinner time.
The necessary supplies for your new cat should be gathered before the cat comes home. Being in a new environment can be confusing and overwhelming for any animal. Having your home ready with the welcoming items allows your new feline friend to relax and explore their new surroundings.
Adopting an animal into your home is a big commitment. While most people consider cats to be lower maintenance compared to dogs, there are still several considerations to make when getting a cat. They may not overtly require much attention, but there are still a few bare necessities that are must-haves for those new to cat ownership.
Essentials for New Cat Owners
Owning a cat involves more than waving a piece of string in front of them and watching them try to catch it. There are many non-essential items that can be purchased for cats. However, some items are absolutely essential for new cat owners to have when adopting a cat.
Your cat’s safety, happiness, and well-being are your responsibility once you open your home to them. Cats need more than toys that keep them occupied.
A well-adjusted cat requires food, shelter, and affection as bare necessities. However, if you want your cat to flourish in your home, going above the minimum requirements ensures both the humans in the home and the cat will enjoy each other’s company for many years to come.
1. Feeding Essentials
One of the few things your new kitty will ask of you is to provide their food. Domesticated cats most often eat kibble rather than hunting for their food. They also require freshwater, either from a water bowl or an automatic water dispenser.
Quality kibble provides your cat with the proper nutrients needed to keep them healthy and happy, catnapping the day away to their heart’s content. Cats generally don’t have as many food allergies as dogs. However, if your cat is finicky about the food you provide, you might consider switching to grain-free cat food for your frisky friend.
A trait shared by many cats is the ability to trick their families into double-feeding them. Many cat owners have resorted to etched magnets or other paraphernalia to indicate that the cat has already eaten.
Contrary to popular belief, most adult cats are lactose intolerant. Therefore, it is best to avoid providing them with milk on a regular basis. If you’ve adopted a kitten, your veterinarian can advise you on whether you should supplement kibble with milk to help them flourish into a healthy adult cat.
2. Cat Carrier
If your cat is a house cat, you might think you won’t need a cat carrier. It is likely one of the first purchases that you will use in your new companionship. The cat has to be transported to your home somehow!
Cats are wily creatures who can slip out of your grasp at a moment’s notice. When transporting a cat anywhere (perhaps a move across town or even cross-country,) cat carriers can protect your cat from their own nervousness that may cause them to fight AND flight.
The small enclosure also keeps them safe from other predatory animals that may be at the vet’s office, such as dogs. It’s also easier getting a cat out of a cat carrier than it is peeling them out from under the car seat. (Not to mention the cat could take off without you noticing as soon as the car door opens.)
Cat carriers can also be used in the home for short durations. However, cat carriers are not meant to be long-term accommodations for your feline friend. Your cat may meow and hiss when inside the carrier, but an angry kitty is better than an injured kitty.
3. Scratching Post
Many reputable cat adoption centers no longer declaw cats and only adopt to homes that don’t plan to declaw the cat. Additionally, veterinarians are reluctant to perform unnecessary surgery. In fact, it’s illegal in some parts of the world.
That means your cat may at first use your home furnishings as scratching posts. This behavior is undesirable, but it is also inevitable. Cats scratch to groom their claws, to mark their territory or out of simple playfulness. However, with time and due diligence, a cat can be trained only to scratch approved areas, such as a scratching post.
One way to teach your cat to use a scratching post instead of the furniture is to make it smell like other cats. This will trigger your cat’s primal drive to mark their territory. A cat’s paws have scent glands that leave a distinct smell behind when a cat scratches.
Dabbing a scratch vial onto specific places the cat is allowed to scratch can prevent your leather couch from being ruined. The scratch vials contain drug-free, natural liquids that will provoke your cat into scratching the designated scratching post.
4. Behavior Aids
Aside from illicit scratching, cats do sometimes exhibit other undesirable behavior. Oftentimes this behavior is due to stress and anxiety; the cat is quietly suffering. Since your cat can’t tell you what is stressing them out, you will have to ensure the home environment is calming as a whole to ease their anxiety.
You may have a social media friend who sells essential oils. However, many of those essential oils are toxic to dogs and cats. You can avoid the possible toxicity with a calming diffuser that uses natural ingredients to soothe your new family member.
Using calming pheromones that mimic the pheromones a mother cat releases during birth, your cat’s behavior can be tamed naturally. While cats can smell the scent released by the diffuser, humans cannot. Each diffuser vial lasts for one month, and refills can be purchased as needed.
Cats are nowhere near as hyper or destructive as dogs. However, felines still have their moments of urine marking, scratching, and tearing around the house in a frenzy. All of these problematic behaviors can be reduced with naturally calming aromas given off by the diffuser.
If you have multiple felines taking up residence in your home, the multi-cat starter pack diffuser may be right for you.
5. Flea and Tick Prevention
Even indoor cats need protection from fleas and ticks that humans and dogs can track inside the home. A flea infestation can spread throughout a cat’s fur like wildfire, especially if left untreated. Ticks are at an all-time dangerous high across the country, even in the colder months.
Without tick prevention, cats are susceptible to Lyme disease, which can cause neurological difficulties and in some cases, death. Frontline is one of the top flea and tick prevention methods on the market today.
Fleas are also carriers of the plague and cat scratch fever. Regularly using flea and tick prevention medicine throughout the year ensures your cat’s health as well as the people in the home.
If your home is a multi-animal home of dogs and cats, dogs can easily transfer the fleas to indoor cats. You can avoid bathing slippery cats and the hassle of flea bombing your home by keeping your pets up-to-date on their flea and tick prevention, even if your cats never so much as step a paw outside.
Cats are the perfect companion for any home. They are independent and don’t require endless amounts of attention like their canine rivals. Cats keep themselves very clean. Sure, they might knock your coffee mug off the counter, but they’ll also keep your feet warm on those cold winter nights.
Adopting a cat is a nine-lifelong responsibility. Many people relinquish their pets due to undesirable behavior on the animal’s part, an animal that doesn’t know any better. Essential items such as the calming diffuser and scratching redirection can give cat owners a significant advantage in curbing those unwelcome behaviors and creating a life-long friendship.