How to prepare for your first cat – first-time cat Carer guide

Inviting a cat to live under your roof is a big responsibility. Of course, it’s nice to have a fur who wakes you up in the morning, kneads your pillow, or hops up on your lap when you’re watching TV and starts purring like an old tractor when you start petting them. But having a cat at home is also a neverending job of an archeologist, digging out all the treasures from the litter box, a porter, opening the balcony door at all times, a cook who has to show creativity while preparing meaty meals the quality of a Michelin star restaurant, and an Uber driver dropping the cat to the vet anytime a projectile accident happens. The decision to take a cat home should be well thought out and today, fabCat, we’ve got for you a handy first-time cat Carer guide to make it all a bit easier. 

Adopting a cat – make a conscious decision

Let’s start with a controversial thing that needs to be said: cats are an investment. Whether you adopt from a shelter or buy a cat from a well-known breeder, taking on a cat is always an investment. And it’s not just the initial cost of buying all the supplies or monthly expenses on litter and food. Taking care of a cat means visiting the vet regularly, taking them for shots, deworming, teeth cleaning, blood work, and, if there are any incidents, an illness or typical, age-related problems, the costs can go up quite high. Before you decide to take a cat, don’t ask yourself if you can afford it now – think about your finances in 2, 5, or 10 years and if you can provide your furry friend with proper care then. Cats can live up to 15-20 years. Maybe it’s worth starting a “cat fund” at home and setting aside a small amount of money each month in case of unexpected costs. We definitely recommend it. 

Another thing worth remembering when you’re thinking about a cat is the “cats-are-loners” myth. It’s true that cats like being independent and are attached to their daily schedule, but your role within that schedule is quite important. You shouldn’t leave your cat alone at home for days on end as they will simply get bored. Catering to cats’ needs of hunting through playtime, enriching their environment with scratchers, hiding spots, interactive toys, and a window view, as well as giving them a proper diet, socializing them, and respecting cats’ boundaries all have a direct effect on their happiness. The better you understand your cat’s needs before you actually welcome your meowing friend at home, the better your chances are for having a great relationship with them. 

Making a cat starter pack. Key accessories your cat will need on a daily basis 

Now let’s get to the fun part – the first-cat starter pack. We can’t deny it, fabCat – creating a space for a cat to enjoy in their new home has always been very satisfying to us as it allows us to show the new, purring tenant that our house is now theirs too. 

The cat starter pack should include everything that the cat will be using on a daily basis. The most important things here are: 

  • a litter box – it should be big enough for the cat to move around inside and do their business comfortably;  
  • the litter – pick one that doesn’t hurt your cat’s paws, doesn’t scare them away with a strong scent, and keeps your cat comfortable while they’re doing their business; 
  • bowls – for water and food. Most bowls are ok, but we certainly recommend getting ceramic or glass ones – they’re the easiest to keep clean and don’t require switching to new ones as often; 
  • scratchers – a gadget that’s a must-have in a cat home. Scratching is one of the basic cat needs and if there’s no space for a cat to legally put their claws into and stretch out, your furniture will experience the wrath of cat claws quite quickly. To let your cat scratch just how they like it, provide them with horizontal scratchers (like LUI, VIGO, or TOBI) as well as the classic, vertical poles they can scratch and climb; 
  • toys – cats are born hunters and providing them with a way to satisfy that need is one of the key elements of a cat’s daily routine. Whether it’s wand toys with feathers or strings, toy mice, balls, or rustling kicker toys filled with catnip, let your cat make the choice. In our experience, it’s best to start with a few different toys and later buy more of those that your cat loves the best; 
  • a carrier – you will use it to take your cat home for the first time, but also anytime you take them to the vet. Make sure that it’s comfy, not too small, with an option to open it fully up (for easier access to the cat at the vets’) and that your cat can access it all the time at home like it’s another hide for them – it’s the best way of getting cats used to their carrier. 

Besides the basics, as time goes on you’re probably going to want to give your cat their own, comfy bed, maybe a few cardboard hides, some pillows, scratchers, and shelves that will allow them to see the house without touching the floor. Not all cats like climbing, lounging on soft pillows, or hiding in cardboard castles so leave the decision to buy them for a time when you already know your cat a little and understand what they really like. 

Prepare your house for the cat’s arrival 

You’ve probably heard, fabCat, about the need to child-proof your house when your kids start walking and putting their hands everywhere. Well, it’s quite a similar story with cats – if we don’t put ourselves in a cat’s position for a moment and imagine how they see the house, it’s easy to miss many traps that our cats could get into. But don’t worry, we can make it easier for you. What should you watch out for to keep your cat safe at home? 

Cover any openings your cat might squeeze into. When you bring your cat home for the first time, their instinct may be to find a safe hiding spot, and, unfortunately, cats are quite known for looking for the tightest spot in the house. Try to not let your cat find a way under the shower base, behind the toilet, or under the back of the couch that you can’t possibly lift up. At the same time, give your cat some equally interesting hiding spots that are safe – leave your wardrobe open, and make some room under the bed. And remember – cats can surprise you and squeeze where you wouldn’t think the law of physics wouldn’t let them to. 

Hide all the dangerous toys. We’re not talking about actual cat toys, but rather about objects that cats could use as such. Straws, candy wrappers, q-tips, pistachio shells, hair ties – cats have quite the imagination, but swallowing those things would be dangerous for them. Another victim of a cat’s curiosity is often cables and chargers so keep them out of reach or secured. And when the cat is playing, always keep an eye on them. 

Read about poisoning and anything that could harm your cat at home. Cats are clean creatures – if they step in anything, they will immediately lick themselves clean so keep the cat away from any detergents, cleaners, and medicine and if you spill something, immediately sweep it up. You should also do a thorough check on your house plants (many of them are poisonous to cats) and your snacks if you leave any available on the countertops. Chips, chocolate, and even some fruit should be kept away from the cat. 

Secure your windows and the balcony, so that the cat can’t get outside unseen. It’s worth putting up a net on the balcony (and building your cat a catio for them to watch the outside world from), and for windows, if you leave them open or ajar, window screens or a net will be necessary too.

Your new best friend, the cat

At myKotty, we all love cats and we know that you, fabCat, also have a lot of love and affection for those furry creatures. If you’re just planning to get a cat and getting ready for your new, purring tenant, our first and most important piece of advice is: don’t stress out. Both you and the cat will need some time to adjust to each other and get used to the company, and that’s ok. Give yourself time and space, get to know each other’s needs and ways of communication and the rest will be just fine – after reading today’s article, all the clues you need are within your paw’s reach 🙂 

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.