Every novice makes mistakes and new cat owners are no different. While most mistakes don’t cause too much harm, they can if left unnoticed and allowed to continue. Fortunately, a little bit of research before you bring your new cat home can save you both some unnecessary setbacks and have you well on your way to a wonderful relationship.
#1 – Choosing Based On Looks
While there’s no problem with having a favorite coat color, pattern or breed, it’s important to make sure the cat in front of you has a temperament and that suits yours. If you’re a couch potato, you probably don’t want an active cat that’s tearing around your house constantly. It’s perfectly fine to hold out for the solid white cat with the right personality, but make sure you give what’s inside a chance.
#2 – Starting With Young Kittens
If you’re getting a kitten from a breeder or rescue, chances are the kitten will be old enough to go home with you. However, there are many people who pull strays off the street and sell kittens online and through newspapers. These kittens are often too young to leave their mother and although they’re very cute, they may end up with major health problems down the road.
#3 – Rushing Cat Introductions
If you’re bringing a new cat to live in a home with established cats, make sure you introduce them properly. Rushing introductions or even just letting them sort things out on their own is a very, very bad idea. Not only might these cats never get along, they can seriously injure each other in fights. Patience is a virtue, so take the time and effort to introduce them properly and the rewards will greatly outweigh having to wait.
#4 – Adopting Another Cat
Many people think their cats are lonely so they adopt another cat for their current cat. Unfortunately, many cats are perfectly happy being the only feline in the household and often start succumbing to behavioral and physical health issues when new cats are brought in. Make sure your cat really needs the attention of another feline and not just more attention from you.
#5 – Skipping the Vet
Veterinary care is expensive, but that doesn’t mean you should skip the yearly exam. Cats are very stoic animals and an annual examination by a veterinarian can uncover many unknown ailments, especially as our cats age. Catching diseases early can also increase your cat’s comfort and prognosis and will save you money in the long run.
#6 – Not Being Prepared
Many people rush into getting a cat without even having the basics covered. Make sure you have everything your cat will need to be happy and comfortable in your home, along with a veterinarian chosen and even a pet sitter should you need one. Change can be difficult for cats, so going from a shelter or breeder’s home to yours without the necessary items can cause them great stress. Plus, cats and kittens are a lot of work. They need time and attention and if you aren’t able to give it to them, they’ll entertain themselves…usually by destroying your furniture.
#7 – Rushing Your Decision
There’s no rush when it coms to picking a lifetime companion, whether it’s your spouse or your cat! Cats live long lives and many in shelters have already seen one too many temporary homes. When choosing a cat, the goal is to find a companion that you’ll care for every day of their lives until the very end. Rushing this decision often leads to poor choices and cats needing to be rehomed or even taken to shelters.
#8 – Overfeeding
Cats are almost always hungry and they will pester you to feed them any chance they get. Unfortunately, feline obesity is a growing problem and many cats are very overweight. Not only does this limit their ability to move around like cats do, it stresses their internal organs and leads to many ailments seen in overweight humans such as diabetes and heart disease.
#9 – Ignoring the Litter Box
Most cat owners don’t want to deal with litter boxes, but it’s an important part of cat ownership. A typical rule is one litter box per cat plus one extra to eliminate any territory problems and provide somewhere for your cats to use the restroom. They are very clean and private animals, so placing the litter box in a public place or allowing it to get too full will lead them to start eliminating in less desirable areas.