Picking your first cat, or kitten.
Picking your first cat, or kitten
To begin with, consider the local shelter and an older cat. You’re obviously under no obligation to do so and shouldn’t’ feel bad to proceed otherwise, but if kitten-hood and source are of no relevance, then these choices are the most logical. Also, if possible, help the support, that very shelter with a donation. Regardless, this is going to be a wonderful day. There’s nothing like having a furry little friend at home and particularly one to come home to every day.
There are some things to consider before proceeding if you haven’t already. Doing so will make it all go off well and eliminate any unwanted surprises, you might otherwise encounter. First off, the cat or kitten.
Check the obvious, such as demeanor. Is the cat listless? Does it behave aggressively? Are there any signs of disease, or illness? Such as a rash, sores, limp or imbalance. Chances are any of these signs can be addressed with proper medical care and they should not necessarily hinder the decision to select that very cat. Ask the shelter, pet shop or wherever else you’re acquiring the cat, as to the cats’ general health. If possible, ask if you can take the cat to a veterinarian for an examination. You might want to tie any preliminary examination in with the cats’ first check-up and shots if required. It will save you money. So after you’ve checked out the general health, ask to hold, preferably cuddle, your soon to be feline buddy. That is if you haven’t already. How does it feel? How does the cat feel/react? Open yourself to really feeling the encounter. Hold another, if available. Is there any difference? One might feel more receptive to you than another. Just like you, the cat may respond differently than another. Take your time; after all, you might be together for many, many years. Now, with health and bond considerations out of the way, let’s consider something else.
Take your time
The new accommodations, environment and co-inhibitors. You should ensure that your place is escape proof and safety proofed for the cat. Remember, cats are like little kids; they’re curious, intelligent, fearless and can be very persistent. In a way, you would want to take the same precautions as you would for a toddler. Prevent access to risky places, conceal loose wires and close doors to places that are no go or should be no go. You should also check that cats are permitted in your residence, should you be obliged to do so, perhaps you should consider a cat condo or just a plain box, or a little basket. Something the cat can call his/her home, in a home.
This doesn’t need to be expensivee, find something you already have that is not in use. Like an old laundry basket, with a few throw towels in its base. What will the cat eat and drink out of? Again, you don’t have to buy special dishes or bowls from a pet shop. You’ve probably got some old dinnerware or mugs somewhere, consider using what you got. However, whatever you use should fit the need. Not too high and should be comfortable for the purpose of eating and drinking.
Does anyone in your house have allergies? Although unusual, maybe someone has a yet to be discovered allergy, maybe even you. This too however, can be aided depending on the severity. You can consult your practitioner with regard to this. Is there another pet already at home? You may want to keep them separated for a bit and introduce them slowly and initially under supervision. Don’t be discouraged, at first, the meeting may be a bit hostile, as this is common, but in good time this usually irons itself out. If you have a bird at home, make sure you have a set up where the cat can’t get at it.
Use your heart
Even while holding both, they seem fine. Eventually, the cats’ nature, instincts will take over. This is a when not if consideration. Now, what about kids? No doubt they’ll be crazy for the little puffy buddy, but don’t let them over cuddle, or handle the little thing, as it could cause the cat to avoid them or be reluctant to engage them in the future. Okay, the cat checks out, the home is ready to go and all the co-inhibitors have been taken into account.
What are the extra needs? Well, a scratching post or pad would be a good idea, as the sofa may become a target. In that, you may want to have at the ready, a clean little sprayer and clicker on hand, to make the cat aware of what’s a no-no. A little squirt, accompanied by a simultaneous click should not only deter the cat but make it aware of the clicking noise at the same time. Hopefully, if required for other sofa encounter events, the cat may be deterred by just the click having associated it with the onslaught of a squirt. Before engaging in simplified tips on training as expressed here, you should look up a more in depth and explanatory information on “how to” train your cat.
Several articles are available on the web. Read a few and be prepared. With early address, you and the cat can resolve the rule issues early and put them to rest, hopefully. Now for toys, as cats love to play and should be allowed to; playing keeps your cat tuned up and healthy. It also reinforces your bond. Cats primarily enjoy toys or games, which provoke instinctive responses in their nature. Things like the chase, find and trap are the most entertaining to a cat. Once again, you don’t really have to buy anything, just tether a safe little thing a ma jig and go to work, or a small ball of anything safe strategically launched for the cats’ attention.
Sometimes, just a plain old shoe box or clean rag for the cat to wrestle with will do the trick. Sometimes, just a hand wrestle will do. It’s important your cat engages in something physical and expends that built up energy. A brush may be a good idea. Keeping the cats’ coat as liberated as possible can prevent the build-up of the notorious “fur ball” and can reduce the amount of hair gathering around the house. It’s a nip it in the bud practice. Cats are often reluctant to be combed and will avoid it. The earlier they become used to this regular practice, the better. A nail clipper can be a good practice, although it’s not always necessary. You’ll soon find that cats aren’t always obliging, lol.
Consult the Vet
Find a veterinarian, if you don’t have one already. If the cat is not spayed or neutered, you should consider having it done, even if your cat will remain indoors. An unfixed cat is subject to the effects of its hormones and the natural instinct/desire to reproduce. This can be discomforting for the cat and fixing can greatly subdue the stress, of unfulfilled desires. Now your cat will need regular check-ups, maintenance and visits to the vet which are usually annual.
In the event that you have selected a kitten, then de-worming and initial shots are required. In short, your cat will need a vet and for its entire life. So take the time to research and find one who is suitable to you, preferably local and recommended. You will also need a transporter, in order to get your cat to and from appointments. Things to consider are its size and secure locking mechanism.
Enjoy the process
Now it’s time to pick a name. You may want to wait a bit and witness your cats’ character and behavior and pick a name symbolic of their nature. It’s also best to pick something unique that rolls off the tongue with a charm because the cat will eventually become responsive to its name. So, it should be easily recognized and associated for the cat exclusively.
The only thing left to do is love it and let it love you. You’ve made a great decision! Rarely have I seen it be anything but a great decision. Expect to have a lot of fun and expect the unexpected. Cats will do things that can baffle the mind and in the most endearing ways.
I’ve provided a point by point checklist here. At a quick glance, you can check the things that should be checked. I’ve left a few spaces blank for you to add anything that may have been forgotten or requires consideration for a unique situation. Always remember, you have the Web available and when in doubt, check it out on the Web. There are countless Cat lovers out there, who know quite a bit about a lot, and they regularly post their advice, tips and tricks. So use these resources.
I wish you great luck and success in your new and fabulous relationship.
Another important note, I almost forgot. It’s a good idea to have everyone who will be part of the cats’ life. So, don’t forget the kids, if they’re part of the formula.
At a glance checklist:
- The Vet. Pick one, get one.
- The house. Kitty proof it.
- The house, in the house. A cat condo, or tree.
- Natural (something Vets recommend)
- (check with your Vet)
- Litter, the box and scooper.
- Something for kitty to crash in, or on.
- Scratch pad, or post.
- Transporter / carrier.
- Nail clippers?
- Collar, identity tag? Microchip???
- Spray bottle, clicker?
- Love (make time for giving & getting)