Caring for a Cat – First Time Owners

caring for a cat

First Time Owners:

Caring for a Cat

Congratulations! You are the owner of a new feline family member. Taking care of your fur baby will be one of your main concerns to help them lead a happy and healthy life. As with most things we do for the first time, there are some areas to be aware of. We list a few of them for you here. We’re sure you’ll be great!

Using a Litter Box

Often, first time cat owners assume that a cat will instinctively know how to use a litter box. Believe it or not, this is not always the case. For best results, show your new cat where the box is located and monitor their habits for several days. You may need to show them more than once. If a cat fails to use the box altogether, speak with your veterinarian. While unlikely, there may be medical or behavioral issue that needs addressing.

Tending to the Litter Box

Great! Your cat has mastered the litter box. Did you know that if a litter box is not cleaned regularly, a cat will tend to avoid using it. Cats are clean animals that require the replacement of litter in their bathroom area on a routine basis. A dirty litter box leads to the possibility of illness for you cat and possibly behavioral issues. In addition, uncleaned litter boxes tend to emit an unpleasant odor.

Quality of Food

Everyone loves a good meal. Even your cat. One of the most common mistakes a cat owner makes is buying inexpensive food to save money. A cat requires a balanced diet full of protein and low carbohydrates. A discussion with your veterinarian will help determine which type of food is best for your cat taking into account their current weight and health issues.

Feeding Your Cat

You’re feeding your cat the best food for their individual needs. However, did you know that cats do not need their food dishes to be full at all times? Caring for a cat also means limiting their food intake. A cat with the luxury of going to its dish to eat whenever it pleases is likely to become overweight. Obesity leads to health risks of all kinds. This includes the possibility of a shorter term of life as a result. As a first time cat owner, it is best to speak to a veterinarian about your new cat’s diet requirements. An evaluation of the cat’s health will indicate whether he/she is at a weight within range for their age and body structure. Your veterinarian will also give recommendations about brands and portions best for the cat.

Treating For Parasites

Lastly, but not least, be proactive in preventing illness for your cat. Unfortunately, cats are prone to parasitic infestations if treatment is not provided for them. Speak with your veterinarian about options available in controlling pests like fleas, ticks, worms, and mites. Grooming and the application of medicine works well at keeping parasites at bay.

Caring for a cat is full of opportunity to ensure your pet lives a long and happy life.

For more information about caring for a cat or other general questions, you can contact:

Christi Phillips, CPDT with Posh Paws Pet Care, LLC


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Or send us a note from our contact page here.

To read more about caring for a cat, visit the ASPCA page on cat care.