You’ve taken the plunge and brought a new cat home! Hooray! Now what do you do? Chances are you’re a new cat owner, and are starting with the basics of cat care and working your way up. To help you through the learning process, The Refined Feline has put together a list of the most common mistakes that new cat parents can make and how to avoid them.
Not Taking A New Cat To See The Vet Right Away
One often seen mistake new cat parents make is not visiting the vet right after adoption with their new kitty in tow. You may feel like your cat doesn’t need it or you want more time for them to settle in first. But, it’s a good idea to ensure their health is optimal and to begin establishing a relationship with your vet. Many cat owners feel like the vet visits are too stressful for their new kitty, but it’s a necessity. It’s also recommended to visit the vet as many cats are good at hiding any illnesses they may have. Since you and your furry feline haven’t had much time to bond and know each other, they could easily hide these illnesses and you wouldn’t know it.
Budgeting for veterinary costs can be tricky but a pet parent should expect to take their cat to the vet at least once a year, even just for a wellness exam. If you are able to, keep a savings account or set aside money when you can for regular or emergency services, should they arise. You can also research different pet health insurance plans to help offset some of the veterinary costs if need be.
Not Abiding By Recommended Litter Box Guidelines
One cat only needs one litter box, right? Although that’s logical thinking in most cases, it’s not as simple as that. It’s recommended to provide one litter box per cat plus one extra one to encourage the cat’s use of the box comfortably and reliably. Thus, for one cat, you would supply two litter boxes; for two cats, you would supply three litter boxes, etc. Also, it’s best if the locations are in different places if you can do so. This gives your cat more options in case they like consistently clean boxes or have more freedom in where they can go. And make sure to scoop the litter box at least once a day, adding more litter every time you scoop. And when selecting a brand or style of cat litter, most cats prefer unscented litter. Most scented litters are too strong, and can be overpowering to your cat’s sense of smell. This could potentially deter them from wanting to use the box consistently.
Not Providing Enough Amusement!
New cat owners can easily assume that felines are so self sufficient that they don’t need a lot of entertainment. And every cat will require different play times depending on their age and level of playfulness. There are basics that should be in every home regardless of your cat’s age or health. A decent scratching post is one of the top pieces of cat furniture that absolutely every cat needs. Without an adequate scratching surface, cats will most likely turn to your furniture, carpet, or other scratchable items in your home. Purchasing both a vertical and horizontal scratching post can give your cat some options, and may make your furniture not fall victim to their claws. It’s important to ensure the size and material of the scratching post is sufficient enough that your cat won’t knock it over or destroy it quickly.
Cats also crave many, many toys! Cats under a year old especially need an hour, if not more, of exercise throughout the day. Split up the playtime into 15 or 20 minute intervals to ensure that your kitten doesn’t overexert themselves. Most healthy adult cats will still play quite often, but it will usually decrease as they age or if health issues arise. If you’re unsure of how much time your cat needs to play, consult with your veterinarian, especially if there are any medical conditions. And if you follow your cat’s lead while playing with them, you’ll know how much playtime they desire.
Large cat towers are another requirement that can get overlooked by new cat owners. Your cat may enjoy spending most of their time with you on the couch. But they can also benefit from having their own space specifically designed just for them. Cat trees will provide more than just a space to lounge for your feline. Most modern cat trees have hidden cubbies, attached scratching posts, and dangling toys to provide entertainment! Cats can scratch, climb, and expel energy with a sturdy, tall cat tree, which can help save your furniture. Find a durable and reliable cat tree by doing your research so that it will last for at least a few years. Cat furniture from The Refined Feline highlights replaceable parts to keep your cat furniture like new.
Not Understanding That Cats Think Differently From Humans
Another common mistake of new cat owners is anthropomorphizing your cat too much, even though it’s very hard not to! Of course, cats feel human emotions like happiness, sadness, fear, peacefulness, and more. But the way that cats experience these emotions are vastly different from humans. Cats’ desires vary greatly from that of a human, and it can be easy to forget this information when your cat is your baby.
A cat’s trust is sacred, just like trust is important to humans. So, it is vital to avoid breaking that trust between you and your cat. Most felines demand attention and want to spend time with you, but it needs to be on their conditions. Cats have a fairly big personal space bubble and if you breach that, they won’t appreciate it. To truly build some trust, remember to always let your cat come to you when they want something.
There you have it – a rundown of the most common mistakes new cat owners can (and probably will) make. Now that you have the basics of welcoming your new feline home, it’s time to get ready for some kitty cuddles!