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  • Writer's pictureShannon McKinzie

How to Prepare for and Care for a Cat: Tips for First-Time Owners

If you're a fan of felines, getting the opportunity to become a cat owner yourself can be very exciting. By adopting an animal from a shelter, you're giving a four-legged friend in need a happy home. However, if you've never owned a cat before, you may not be sure exactly how to prepare your house or apartment for them—or how to properly care for them once they're under your roof. There's no need to panic. The below guide has you covered, providing practical tips for first-time cat owners.

Get the cat supplies you need

Before you bring your cat home, you'll need a few basic supplies, like a litterbox, food and water dishes, cat food, kitty litter, and a cat bed. It's also important to get a traveling crate to safely transport your furry pal home from the shelter, and to and from future veterinary appointments. To pick the right products, read online reviews from customers. You can also find platforms that provide product reviews from vets, offering expert insights into what items are safe and healthy for pets.

Create a feline-friendly zone in your home

Cats will be nervous when introduced to a new space. To help them settle in, Battersea suggests first restricting them to one room. They'll have time to get used to the strange

scents, sights, and sounds. Then, as they become acclimated, you can expand their reign of your home. Also, make sure your house is set up with your kitty's comfort in mind. Cats love to have hiding places and spots to rest, so a cat tree with some high perches and nooks can be a great attraction. Scratching posts are another must-have and will save your furniture.

Take the time to help your cat acclimate to their new space

You can also help your fur baby adjust to their new home by spending quality time with them from the beginning. Take time off work, so you aren't bringing office-related stress home with you. Sensitive felines can pick up on your bad mood and may react skittishly, especially if they're from shelters. This can result in negative behavior, like eliminating outside of the litter box or becoming aggressive. Make sure you're keeping your cool around your kitty by practicing calming behaviors like meditation.

Set up your kitty care support network

Caring for a cat isn't a one-person job. For example, if you can't take time off work to care for your cat after you first bring them to your Fort Worth home, you can ask a trusted cat sitter from Cowtown Cat Cuddlers to stop by.

You'll also need ongoing support from professionals like groomers and veterinarians to give your feline the happiest, healthiest life possible. Before you even bring your cat home, find a vet to manage their healthcare. You can find other types of pet care professionals, like sitters, using online search engines.

Cat-proof your garden if needed

If your home has a garden and you plan to give your kitty free reign of the space, make sure it's safe first. For instance, you may opt to install a fence to help keep your cat safely on the property. This can keep them from running into roads or getting into fights with wildlife or other cats. Also, beware that some plants are poisonous to felines. Examples include lilies, azalea, and hydrangea. Make sure that felines don't have access to plants, removing them from your yard if needed.

Owning a cat can be very rewarding. You have a furry family member that you can enjoy cuddling and playing with. However, cats require special care. Before you bring your feline friend home, make sure your home is properly prepared by following the above tips.

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