Checklist for New Cat Owners

Cats can make very loving pets. However, bringing one into your home shouldn’t be done on a whim. The good news is that with a little preparation, you can open your arms and your home to a sweet, furry feline. Here are some simple steps to ensure you’re both ready for this new life together.

Getting Off on the Right Paw

Although cats have a reputation for being independent, it’s important to keep in mind that they’re depending on you to make them feel comfortable. This is why it’s a really good idea to do some prep work before you bring your new kitty home. Some things you could do can include:

  • Kitty-proofing the house. Cats are notoriously curious, and they will play with anything they can find. Take time to look around your home to determine what could put your cat at risk. Things like knick-knacks, household cleaners, medicines, cords on blinds, and other loose items could pose a potential hazard.
  • Making everyone in the house aware of new responsibilities. It’s important that anyone who will be responsible for the cat’s care understands what that entails.
  • Buying all the things! Make a list of all the things your kitty might need and then start shopping. Important items include food, bowls, litter and litter box, cat carrier, collar, treats, toys, scratching post, a bed, and anything else you think might make your cat happy.
  • Lining up a veterinarian. Have a good idea as to who your cat will see for regular visits. If you’re adopting, try to get the papers that cover previous vet visits. It’s also a good idea to locate the closest 24-hour emergency animal hospital and keep their number handy.

Once you bring your cat home, there are some other things you can do:

  • Give your cat time to get comfortable with her new surroundings. Cats often feel the need to hide away when they first get to a new place, so they can adjust. So, if possible, set them up in a room that has a place to tuck out of sight for a while. Good hiding places include closets, underneath the bed, cat tunnels, and even cardboard boxes.
  • Pick a name, if you haven’t already. While you can certainly do this before your cat comes home, sometimes a name comes more easily after watching the kitty’s personality.
  • Start getting to know each other. After your cat has had a few hours of alone time, head into the room, sit down, and let her become familiar with you. Be sure to talk soothingly and avoid sudden movements. You might need to do this several times over the course of several days, but eventually, she’ll warm up to you.
  • Take care of the miscellaneous, yet still very important stuff. This can include vet exam, microchipping, ID tag, spaying or neutering, and anything else that may be required per your location.

Mindful Preparation Can Make a World of Difference

Remember, a new cat might not warm up to you or your family instantly, and that’s okay. Put yourself in their paws, so to speak, and try to see things from their perspective. Be persistent, yet patient, and eventually, you’ll have a relationship that will last for years to come.

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