Preparing for Your First Cat
The prospect of getting a kitten or cat is very exciting. Almost a fifth (17%)[i] of UK households have a cat, however if you’ve never owned one before then it’s essential to prepare for their arrival. Apart from the basics such as stocking up on food, bowls, a litter tray and a bed there are a few other things to consider.
First of all will your cat be an indoor or outdoor cat. Your housing circumstances will dictate this to a certain extent, for instance if you are in a top floor flat an indoor cat may be the only option but people who live in houses may also decide to keep their cat indoors perhaps if they live near a busy road.
Whatever you decide for the first few days or even weeks it’s necessary to keep your cat indoors so they become familiar with their new home. If you want your cat to go outside you could limit where they can go by investing in a cat run. This could also be used for those that will be letting their cat out in the future to help them get used to their surroundings.
Next think about providing a ‘safe room’ for your new kitty and where this could be. Perhaps this could be an empty wardrobe, a corner of your bedroom with a protective screen or even a small bathroom, utility or boot room. This is so your cat has a safe place to go and rest that they see as ‘home’ – which is where you should put their bed, water, litter tray and some toys.
Cat proofing your home is essential before bringing the cat home to save the wear and tear on the furniture and carpets, and ensure the house is safe. This means just going through the house and seeing if there are any hazardous things such as an easy escape route outside or a poisonous house plant that you wouldn’t want your kitten to start chewing.
Also invest in a cat scratching post or something similar. Scratching is necessary for cats and therefore unavoidable behaviour. Ensuring they have a place to do it which isn’t your furniture is advisable from the start, especially if they won’t be going outside.
Remember to buy a cat carrier. When you pick up your cat or kitten its best to put them in a carrier rather than hold them in your arms, plus you will need one for trips to the vet for vaccinations, regular health checks and neutering or spaying, not to mention if they fall ill.
The day you bring your cat or kitten home is going to be really exciting for you, but will be a little overwhelming and stressful for them. Try to organise this on a day that you have time to stay with them most of the day with minimal interruptions. Also let the rest of the family or household know when this will be and ensure they are calm and relaxed around the new arrival.
The next few weeks are the time to create lasting bonds with your cat. Ensure you spend plenty of time playing with them, although hold off on rushing out to buy expensive cat toys. You will soon learn your cat is just as happy with things you can find around the house – so a ball of string, a cardboard box or a crumpled bit of paper – can all provide endless hours of entertainment!
During these early weeks also decide how you will manage when you go away. Leaving a cat on its own for long periods of time with just a neighbour popping in to feed them can be distressing for a cat used to lots of company and play.
More cat owners are turning to homesitters to come and stay in their homes when they go on holiday to take care of their beloved pet. Not only does this mean your cat gets pampered but your home is also looked after. Realising your absence just means a new and interesting human will be taking care of them can mean they are more forgiving next time they see your suitcases in the hall!
If you are planning a holiday soon give Homesitters a call on 01296 630 730 to discuss your requirements.
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