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New Cat Owners

NEW CAT OWNERS

• Cats make great companions. Not only do they look good, they also keep mice away (if you are lucky) and have built-in motors.
• But there’s more to owning a cat than having a cute, soft, purring companion. Before you get one, there are a few things you should think about.
• Cats are indeed independent by nature, but they’re not quite able to take care of themselves. Before you adopt, make sure that your lifestyle can make room for a feline. How busy you are and the amount of time you spend at home will dictate the kind of cat you should get — very busy people may find it difficult to find the time for a cat that needs a lot of grooming and attention, especially the highly intelligent and active cats. Do your research.
• Cats are safest indoors only. But some cats are stubborn and insistent that they spend time outdoors. Make sure to discuss his/her extra protection needs with your vet.
• What if your circumstances change after the adoption? Or if you work long hours and still want a friendly face to greet you at the door at the end of the day? Adopting a buddy for the cat to play with can be an excellent solution.
• Do you have any allergies? If you do suffer from severe allergic reactions, consider testing yourself for feline allergies before bringing a cat home. A safe bet is to choose a cat with low allergens. Consult your vet, books, or animal shelter employees for suggestions.
• Before you bring your cat home, take it for a checkup and immunizations. Also, schedule it to be neutered (spayed or castrated) as soon as age permits.
• Get a good litter box, litter scoop, and quality cat litter. An enclosed litter box can allow you and your cat more privacy (although some cats want free space around them), and clumping litter is easier to maintain. Keep the box clean (daily scooping at least and weekly complete washing out), for the comfort of your cat and your nose. Also, make sure you buy well-balanced, age-appropriate food for your cat.
• Cats love to play. Toy mice, string, feathers, and even empty boxes make for great amusement. Playthings need not be expensive; just make sure there’s enough to keep your cat happy, active, and mentally occupied. Sometimes a wadded up ball of aluminum foil or the pull tab from a gallon of milk can be a cat’s favorite toy.
• If you don’t want your sofa, curtains, or rug shredded, invest in a scratching post. Discuss with your vet the size and weight requirements for the scratching post and be aware some cats prefer smooth surfaces and others like rough (carpeting vs. wound rope).
• Catnip, and those little freeze-dried cat treats are excellent tools for cat bribery and training.
• Get pet insurance. It is better to be safe than sorry. There are many options today. Ask your vet, and do your research.
• If it’s a kitten you’re bringing home, make sure you start a grooming routine early. Bathing, brushing, ear cleaning and trimming claws will be an event to look forward to, rather than something to dread.