You’ve just adopted your adorable new kitten or cat and brought them home! YAY – okay, so now what? If you’re a new cat owner, chances are you’re starting from the ground up when it comes to cat care and work your way up. To help you with your learning curve, The Refined Feline has compiled a list of the most common mistakes seen with new cat owners and how you can avoid them.
Not Visiting The Vet Soon After Bringing Kitty Home
One often seen mistake new cat owners make is not visiting the vet soon after bringing your cat home. You may feel like it’s too soon after bringing them home or it’d be too stressful. However, it’s ideal to ensure their overall health and to begin a relationship with a vet. Many cat owners continue to put it off as they feel like it’s too much for their new cat but it’s necessary. It’s also ideal to do as many cats are too good at hiding any illnesses. And since you and your feline friend are just starting to establish a relationship, you may not pick up on slight changes in their behavior.
It can be hard to budget for veterinary costs but a pet parent should be prepared to visit the vet at least once every year for a wellness exam. It’s also good to start a savings account or simply set aside money each month for regular or emergency services for your kitty. There are also great pet health insurance plans you can explore as another option.
Not Providing The Recommended Litter Box
It makes sense to think that one cat only needs one litter box, right? Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. To ensure that your cat will use the box comfortably, it’s recommended to give one litter box per cat plus one extra one. So technically for one cat, you would need two litter boxes. If you have two cats, you would need three litter boxes, etc. Also, it’s better to put the litter boxes in separate locations, if you can. This gives your cat more freedom to reach a box in case they are particular or they like a constantly clean box. You should be scooping the litter box once a day at least, and topping the box off with more litter every time you scoop. And another item pet parents forget is that most cats prefer the unscented litter. Strong scents can be overwhelming to your cat’s strong sense of smell and could deter them from wanting to use it.
Not Providing Enough Fun!
It’s easy for new cat owners to assume cats are super self sufficient, not realizing how much entertainment cats truly need. Of course, every cat’s level of playfulness will vary depending on their age, but there are basics that every cat should have at home. For example, a decent scratching post is one piece of cat furniture that every cat needs. Cats will inevitably turn to your furniture, carpet, or other scratchable items without a proper scratching surface. You may even consider getting both a vertical and horizontal scratching post to give your cat some choices. Remember to ensure the size and material of the scratching post is overall solid so your cat won’t rip it apart or knock it over within a day.
Cats also need a plethora of toys! Cats under a year old will typically need at least an hour of playtime throughout the day. Make sure to split the playtime into 15 or 20 minute intervals to ensure that your kitten doesn’t overexert themselves. Most healthy adult cats still enjoy quite a bit of playtime but it may start decreasing as they age or if health issues arise. Consult your veterinarian if you’re unsure of how much time you should spend playing with your cat, especially if there’s any medical conditions involved. Oftentimes, you’ll be able to watch your cat’s energy levels go up and down, and you’ll know how much playtime they desire.
Large cat towers can fall by the wayside with new cat owners, but your furry feline needs one. Your cat may seem to enjoy spending all their time cuddling with you on your furniture. However, it’s best to give your cat their own space and area to spend some time in. Most cat trees today are more than just a space to lounge. Modern cat trees have built in scratching posts, hidden cubbies and dangling toys to provide enrichment! Cats with a taller cat tree can climb, scratch, and exert some extra energy, saving your furniture as well. Be sure to go online and research cat trees to find reliable, durable, cat furniture that will last for quite a few years. To keep your cat trees like new, the elegant cat furniture from The Refined Feline features replaceable parts.
Not Understanding That Cats Aren’t Tiny Humans
Although this is a hard thing to break, another common mistake of new cat owners is anthropomorphizing your cat too much. Yes, cats feel human emotions such as happiness, sadness, fear, peacefulness, and more. However, they also experience these emotions differently from how humans experience them. A cat’s desires and needs are going to differ from a human’s and it can be easy to forget this when your cat is your baby.
Trust is super important to cats, just as it’s important in a human’s life too. Even though it can be tricky, you have to avoid breaking your cat’s trust. Cats love giving and getting affection, and of course spending time with you, but it needs to be on their terms. They have a pretty big personal space barrier and if you break into that barrier, they won’t feel understood by you. To truly build trust with your cat, remember to always let them come to you when they want something.
And there it is – a quick list of the common pitfalls made among new cat owners. Now that you know the basics of welcoming your new feline home, you’ll have even more time for snuggles with your new kitty!