Are you getting a cat for the first time? Adopting a cat for the first time is a very special situation.
There is excitement, you are feeling good about yourselves, your kids are happy because they are about to get a feline sibling, and the general aura of joy.
But your intelligence will also tell you that having a pet in the family is similar to having a kid in many ways.
You need to have a certain sense of responsibility towards them, you need to provide them with the right care, accessories, and diet.
Basically, there are a lot of things that you need to be aware of to ensure that your soon-to-be fur baby becomes a well-adjusted pet.
In that context, it is okay to be a little anxious or worried as it just means that you want things done right and you want your pet or cat in this instance to feel loved in her new home.
Therefore, in this article, I am going to relay 10 different mistakes that anyone who is getting a cat for the first time is likely to make.
Once you are aware of these mistakes, you can learn from them and avoid them, thereby creating a situation where your cat will be happy healthy, and playful.
You are excited, feeling good about yourselves, a little anxious, doubtful, and full of imagination.
10 Mistakes to Avoid When Getting A Cat for The First Time!
The journey of inviting a cat into your life usually starts after you see how fun cats can be.
YouTube today is filled with all kinds of content but there was a time when all you could see there were cats.
Yeah, simpler times. So, it all starts with you falling in love with a cat’s cuteness and playfulness.
Which by the way is perfectly fine but what is also important is to realize the simple fact that there is a certain responsibility that comes with owning a cat.
So, when a cat’s needs are acknowledged in its wholesome understanding, owning them is more fun and rewarding.
I have never found any owner regretting getting a cat or kitten but I have found many owners wishing not to do or doing something when they first invited a cat into their life.
In that light and in order to ensure that your new cat gets the best life she can get here are 10 mistakes that anyone who is getting a cat for the first time must avoid.
Before we begin here are a few more related articles that I feel go well with the context of the article.
- Pros and cons of getting two kittens
- Best place to put litter box in a small apartment?
- 20 tips for bringing a new kitten home
- Do cats like it when you kiss them?
- 8 things you should never say to a cat owner
1. Don’t Get A Cat Just Because She Is Cute
Hey, I get it. Cats being as cute as they are is without any doubt one of the biggest reasons for getting one.
However, I need to be the devil’s advocate here and tell you that, that cannot be the only reason for getting one.
Different cats have different kinds of needs and thus getting a cat must ensue deeper understanding and reason than just an emotional impulse.
Sorry, but I had to make you aware of this because I receive so many complaints and help mails where people pick up a cat without having a background of a cat’s real needs.
And this becomes a cause of discomfort for both cat and their owners.
Knowing the temperament of the breed that you are willing to adopt is very important.
Similarly, if you won’t be able to devote a lot of time to your cat you should avoid picking a breed like Siamese that needs constant engagement and companionship.
On similar lines, if you don’t wish to spend a lot of time maintaining a cat’s fur, you should adopt a breed that doesn’t require a lot of grooming like Burmese, American Shorthair, and Scottish Fold, etc.
2. Don’t Overfeed Your Cat
I feel a bit odd sharing this but I have to because this is so true so many times.
Sometimes, the owner’s approach towards a cat’s diet is that of ignorance or sometimes cats may develop a pattern that they use against their owner to feed them.
Whatever the case may be, it’s very important that you approach a cat’s diet with awareness and caution. This is important because obesity is big in cats and as per studies, there are around 50.5 million cats in the U.S. that are overweight.
Obesity in cats can result in other health problems like heart problems and diabetes.
As I said, pets are like our kids and must be treated as such with care and caution.
3. Not Maintaining A Food Schedule
Here are a few things that you need to know about cats.
- Cats are deeply territorial,
- They are creatures of routines and respond to them,
- Cats are finicky and
- They don’t respond all that well to changes.
Therefore, it is very important to create a food routine for your cat. Not just that cats have a strong sense of likes and dislikes.
One of the surest ways of throwing them off their favorite food is leaving their food out for long durations.
Cats do not like stale food or stagnant water if they can help it.
Talking of which, here are some of the best water fountains designed for cats. I urge you to get one so that your cat drinks a sufficient amount of water.
Even, if keeping your food out for a long stretch of time doesn’t render them developing a negative attitude towards cat food, it can sure make her obese if she doesn’t have a routine in place.
Cats learn very quickly when to expect food, water and play. This is a good thing because this is one very effective way to keep a tab on their diet and consequently their health.
4. Only Serving Dry Food
Cats require a protein-rich diet and usually do not drink as much. There is a very common word that floats in the veterinarian circles that cats usually outlast their kidneys.
One very good way to keep your cat hydrated is by feeding her wet food. Many first-time owners choose to stick with the food that their cat likes.
This is a good way to feed a cat but your cat’s diet should not be limited to it. Over time if you only feed dry food to your cat, it may take a toll on her kidneys.
Wet food as per some veterinarian studies must be responsible for providing the majority of her required calories. And dry food must be added as a spice or for supplementation.
With wet cat food, you will ensure that sufficient hydration goes into your cat’s body, reducing the chances of kidney problems and urinary obstruction.
5. Serving High-Carb Food A Lot
Cats are obligate carnivores and consequently require high-protein food.
The carb content needs to be relatively on the lower side.
A cat’s metabolism isn’t structured to process carbohydrates all that well.
Excess carbohydrate consumption in cats can very well lead to obesity and heart problems in cats.
The good thing is cat food manufacturers are very well aware of a cat’s diet requirement and if you choose cat food from a reputed brand, you won’t have to worry about carb content.
6. Feeding Homemade Cat Food
A while ago I created an article showing how to create food at home for a senior cat.
The important thing to note here is that the homemade food is for senior cats. If you are getting a cat for the first time I do not recommend you create food for her.
As your cat grows, you will slowly have an idea of what and how to feed your cat. Till then, I want you to rely on cat food from reputed brands.
Cat food created from high-quality manufacturers has nutritional profiles that are apt and which will help your cat develop properly.
So, till the time you develop and comprehend the necessary cat diet information base, I recommend you stick to buying high-quality cat food from reputed brands that are high in protein and low on carbohydrates.
7. Not Handling Litter Box Properly
Handling a litter box is probably the least favorite part of raising a cat. No one denies that. However, that is also the most important aspect of ensuring your cat develops properly.
Cats need a very clean and isolated space to eliminate. And as such they expect, their litter box to be clean every time they wish to use it.
If you own multiple cats, never make the mistake of thinking that some or all of them can use the same litter box.
The accepted norm is to have as many litter boxes as the number of cats in your home plus one.
Make it a habit to clean your cat’s litter box at regular intervals. Fail to do so and don’t blame your cat if she starts to find a better and cleaner place to eliminate.
Cats appreciate hygiene beyond anything else and that is how their ecosystem must be. Plus, no one likes the smell of soaked-in cat urine.
8. Failing to Neuter or Spay Your Cat
Spaying or neutering a cat is a very important task that you essentially need to undertake.
Ironically, so many people ignore it which results in animal shelters and rescue shelters bombarded with kittens that will have a hard time getting adopted since there are going to be so many of them and not enough homes willing to adopt them.
So, from a context of responsibility and also from the context of preventing a lot of kittens not being able to find a forever home, get your cat neutered timely.
Additionally, getting your cat spayed or neutered can help prevent certain illness in the later stage of a cat’s life.
9. Procrastinating Veterinarian Visits
I mentioned in a previous segment of this article that pets are like our kids and they need to be treated with as much responsibility.
The only thing with our pets is that they can’t explicitly express what and how they are feeling.
And sometimes we may overlook their basic need for timely checkups.
I wish to tell you this beforehand that never assume the health status of your cat by just looking at her.
They say that prevention is better than cure and it is even more true with our pets. Cats need half yearly checkups and vet visits to ensure that they are healthy and happy.
And yes, even if your cat remains indoors most of the time. Just because your cat spends most of her time indoors doesn’t mean they don’t need a vet visit.
When you get a cat for the first time take her to the vet as soon as possible to have a schedule when you can get her vaccinated and medicated.
Your vet will also tell you sometimes depending on the breed how often you need to make a vet visit and whatever he or she suggests stick to it.
This is very important.
10. Not Taking preventive Measures Against Flea, Tick and Heartworm
This again is in many ways an extension of my previous point that you should not take your pet’s health casually.
Many first-time cat owners make the mistake of assuming that their cats won’t catch fleas, mosquitoes, ticks, and worms just because they will be raised indoors.
Let me tell you this is a big mistake. Yes, your cat will be raised indoors but that doesn’t mean she will be void of outside contact.
You will go in and out of your doors and may carry pathogens that may affect your cat. Similarly, open windows can let in mosquitoes.
Sometimes, maybe even your cat will dart in and out of your home when she sees the door open.
My point is getting your cat vaccinated is one of the most important tasks that you need to undertake even if your cat is going to evolve indoors.
Fleas, worms, and ticks are among the most common issues faced by cats. And they are responsible for carrying and transmitting diseases.
Heartworm is also a very dangerous parasite that settles in a cat’s lungs and creates respiratory illness in cats.
So, do your due diligence and get your cat vaccinated asap.
I hope I was able to relay all the important things that you need to be wary of when you get a cat for the first time.
I have tried to incorporate most mistakes that first-time cat owners are likely to make.
But by no means is the list exhaustive and there are many little things like these that you will have to be mindful of.
Now, this should not feel like a burden or an extra responsibility that you need to undertake.
Because most of these points are intuitive and will come naturally to you.
All I wanted to do here is make the obvious even more clear so that I can ensure that your cat or any pet for that matter can live the best life he or she can possibly can.
If you have any other point that anyone getting a cat for the first time will benefit from, just relay it out in the comments section for the world to see.
Not just that if I feel the point is potent I will even include it in the article 😊.
Take great care of yourselves and your cat and I will see you in the next one!