Beginner’s Guide to Getting a Cat
Many of us prefer cats to other domesticated animals such as dogs because cats are generally known as ‘low maintenance’. However, that does not mean that getting cat is akin to getting a plant. Getting a cat involves a lot more than providing food, water and a litterbox. Yes, you don’t need to take your cat for daily walks, but you need to be emotionally involved with your pet, show that you care. A cat that doesn’t feel safe or cared for may become unruly. Let us understand a few basic things about cats that will help you and your new kitty bond.
Do not keep your cat in a noisy place, for instance, a window which has construction work going on in the vicinity. Do not make loud noises near your cat. Do not yell while petting your cat. Do not shout while talking to your cat. It is recommended that you speak to your cat in a softer voice than usual. Contain your excitement of getting a new kitty and speak to it in a hushed tone. Loud noises stress a cat and it will only alienate your cat from you.
Do not grab or pull your kitty, now that you have brought it home. Let it get used to your smell, your touch first. Extend your finger towards it, let it take in your smell and warm up to you. Let your cat explore its new surroundings and new family. Do not impose your presence on a reluctant cat. Pet it gently on its head and rub it under its chin. If your cat isn’t very friendly at first, leave it alone and allow it to adjust to the new surroundings.
Do not force cuddles
Cats are fiercely independent creatures. Even when your cat loves you to bits, there are chances that it will not want to be cuddled or be on your lap for a long time. Again, patience is key. Wait for your kitty to know you and trust you. It may not want to be cuddled by you now, but there will be mornings when you will wake up to find your cat blissfully sleeping next to you, curled in your arms.
Learn how to hold your cat
Gently lift your cat, put one hand under its body to support it while you hold it up. Put the other hand under its front paws. You can also hold your cat like a baby, putting your arms around it while its paws are pointed upwards, towards your face. This posture is recommended only if your cat is not aggressive or isn’t in the habit of swatting. Do not attempt to lift a cat by the scruff of its neck or any of its limbs. Always remember to support the cat’s body by placing a hand under it when you lift it. Of course, please make sure that your cat wants to be lifted before you attempt to lift it, unless you’re going for a vet visit.
Give it a view
While cats don’t need to be taken for walks like dogs, in fact, it’s quite comfortable indoors, even they need a glimpse of the outside world, a constant source of entertainment. Please make sure that your apartment has a window or a balcony and your cat has access to it. You will need to secure your window or balcony, catproof it with appropriate fencing. Cats can be total dunderheads when they see a bird and may attempt to jump from the window or balcony. A cat that remains indoors and doesn’t have an interesting view, may get depressed, irritable if it doesn’t have plenty of interesting activities indoor.
Food and litterbox
Nobody likes to eat where they sh*t. Neither do cats, even if they may drink water from the toilet sometimes. The moral here being, do not keep your cat’s litterbox and its food/water bowls in the same room. Absolutely don’t keep them next to each other. Keep the litterbox in a roomy, confined space where there is privacy. If you live in a small apartment or a studio, it’s best to get a covered litterbox and keep it far away from the food and water.
Cleanliness is godliness
Cats do not like messy, dirty spaces. They are clean creatures who spend hours on grooming themselves. Therefore, it is important for you to give your cat a clean home to make it comfortable. Clean the litterbox daily and change the litter once a week or you may find your cat complaining, or peeing outside the litterbox. Keep your home clean. A domestic cat doesn’t have new spaces to explore, unlike strays. An unclean environment may affect its mental well-being.
Cat comfort zone
Make your home more cat-friendly. It’s easy. Get a few cartons, put some rags or blankets in them and place them in the bedroom. Cats love being inside a box. Keep scratch pads, cat beds, trees and toys in your home. You can check out some of these right here. Make sure there are corners to hide in and enough cozy cushions for a good nap.
Spend time with your cat
A cat is not a potted plant. You need to communicate with your cat, talk to it, play with it and pet it, all in equal measures. An adult cat will not be as active as a kitten. So, if you’ve brought home a kitten, play with it as much as you can. It will not be as interested in playing and belly rubs, once it grows up.
Basically, view your cat as another person with personal boundaries. Respect its space and know its habits. You two will soon be friends.