Cats are among the most popular pets on the planet. In fact, there are almost 96 million cats housed in American homes today and many of these households have more than one cat to boot. As such, you might think it’s really easy to simply adopt a cat and bring it home. However, this couldn’t be further than the truth for a first-time cat owner.
There are countless factors to consider before you’re ready to adopt a pet. Namely, you have to be ready for the financial aspects of getting ready for a cat, especially if you’re adopting a kitten for the first time. Many veterinarians will try to keep their prices low, but the cost of spaying/neutering, paying for flea medication, getting your new pet up-to-date on their shots, and treating any preexisting conditions can really add up. That’s not including the pet products you’ll have to buy to welcome a new furry family member into your home.
Getting ready for a cat truly takes time, effort, and more than a little planning on behalf of the new fur parent. When you think you’re ready to adopt a cat, consider these helpful tips to ensure your home — and your wallet — is prepared.
Take veterinary bills into account
Even if you adopt an older cat that doesn’t have to undergo spaying/neutering, the initial medical bills are something to consider. You will likely need to update them on their vaccines, bring them in for a checkup, and invest in any medicine to treat underlying conditions. You will also have to buy flea medicine and any other preventative measures to ensure your pet’s health in the future.
After the initial payments and veterinary visits, the price of the average visit should start to go down. However, it’s important to remember that visiting the vet can be a stressful time for a cat, especially if you get there by car. Most people think that the most difficult part is paying for the bills, but in most cases, it’s actually the act of bringing your cat to the vet. This act is rarely easy. Most cats hate carriers and many dislike the stress of a car ride. Some might even get sick from the motion. It’s no surprise why most veterinarian offices utilize quality ceramic tile flooring or laminate options. It’s easy to clean and it won’t show wear from claws and accidents.
It’s not always easy to engage in necessary, healthy actions like this, but it’s vital to ensure your cat’s health now and in the future. These are just some of the factors that you should plan for before you think about getting ready for a cat.
Buy the necessary goods
Now comes the fun part: shopping.
Cats typically don’t need a lot to be happy. Since most cats can’t help but lay on the couch, you probably won’t need a dog bed for comfort or a juicy bone to keep them occupied. Cats actually sleep upward of 12 hours a day, making them far more independent than their typical canine counterparts.
But that doesn’t mean that they won’t need goods. Here are some of the things you should buy to welcome a new cat into your home:
- A food and water bowl: Just like all living things, cats need to eat and drink. As such, it’s important that you buy them a food and water bowl that suits their size. Otherwise, you pose the risk of overfeeding your cat which can lead to health complications down the line. Invest in a small bowl of food and water, along with a towel or tray to hold these items. It will make cleaning up after your pet a whole lot easier. If you prefer to let your dishes soak before washing, invest in two food and water bowls to switch out so your cat never goes thirsty. Plus, it will be fun to mix up fun designs and patterns on your bowls. Just don’t forget the cat food when you go out shopping, too.
- Litter boxes: Yes, that’s boxes, plural. Many cats are fine with using just a single box but far more don’t like to poop and pee in the same location due to sanitary reasons. Many cats will start to urinate in other areas of the house and only use their single litter box to go number two. Just to be safe, invest in two litter boxes to prevent some nasty accidents. It might seem like you’ll need to call a bulk trash removal company to get the litter out of your home, but it shouldn’t be a problem if you clean the litter box once per day, as recommended by vets. Save the call for a bulk trash removal company for the next time you renovate your home or engage in a big move.
- Toys, toys, and more toys: Even though cats sleep between 12 and 16 hours per day, they will need to blow off plenty of steam and energy when they’re awake. As such, it’s important to buy stimulating toys. Simple, jingly toys are great for throwing since your cat will think that they are mice that need to be eradicated. But you can also buy feather teasers to engage with your cat more directly. On top of that, cats love boxes and tubes, making this a fun buy for everyone involved. Many cat owners are also starting to buy chasing toys that the cat can play with on their own. When it comes to spoiling your cat, there’s a never-ending stream of options at your disposal.
- A collar: You might think this purchase is unnecessary if you’re planning on raising an indoor cat. Regardless, animals are wiley and you never know when a door will be left open. Investing in a collar with a simple name tag displaying your contact information is essential should your cat ever get lost. If you have other pets, especially dogs, you should also think about investing in flea collar options or other pest prevention methods for your pet.
Shopping is one of the most fun parts of getting ready for a cat. Keep in mind that these prices can get costly; if you’re ever in a financial bind, there are plenty of second-hand cat toys and products that can be bought at a bargain.
Ensure your home is safe for a cat
Cats are independent creatures and many new owners might think that they can adapt to any environment. However, this isn’t always the case. Cats are curious animals that are in search of mental stimulation the 12-8 hours that they’re actually awake. As such, it’s important to ensure your home’s safety before bringing in a new cat, especially if they are young and rambunctious.
One of the most hazardous home features for a cat is your window coverings. This includes blinds, curtains, drapes, and other coverings that give your home the privacy it deserves. While most window coverings should be fine for a new cat, blinds with string pulls can be a serious threat to your new feline friend.
These tassels are incredibly tempting for a playful cat. They move around in an erratic way, they have finger holders on the end that are easy to grab, and some are so long that they stretch all the way to the ground. Many window covering manufacturers have actually started to eliminate blind pulls from their stock. Luckily, there are plenty of window covering options to consider, including automated shades and magnetic options that work without a string. Your cat might still jump on your drapes, but you can rest easy knowing that your new furry friend won’t be injured by strings.
This isn’t to say that you should invest in completely new products if you cannot afford them. In many cases, simply tying up the strings on your blinds can deter curious cats from jumping to their doom. You can also invest in sprays that prevent your cat from exploring certain areas in your home. This is key if you have any areas of your home that are particularly dangerous, like heating sources.
Speaking of which, you should also monitor any openings in your home. This includes your HVAC ducts. If you don’t have the proper coverings for your AC ducts, you might be surprised to find your cat stuck in your walls. Contact an AC duct repair company to ensure your ducts’ safety and prevent your cat from getting into areas of your home that they shouldn’t visit.
This is especially important if you’re investing in any home projects. Cats are curious (in case you missed the other thousand mentions) and they can easily get into trouble. It might seem cruel to keep your cat locked in a room when interior contractors are working, but it’s for the good of your cats. They shouldn’t be around any power tools or other threats that might cause them harm. Even contractors simply exiting and leaving your house could put your cats at risk if they’re able to escape outdoors. As such, you might want to wait until your architect design firm is finished with their work before adopting a cat. Otherwise, it’s important to have a plan in place to keep your cat safe throughout the duration of the project.
Speaking of home projects…
You might think of your cat as a form of residential pest control, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Cats are adept at hunting small creatures, but unless it’s a small mouse, there are plenty of pests that can injure your cat. Bigger rats can seriously injure your cat while other bugs can infect them with parasites if you aren’t careful. Before you bring a cat into your home, be sure to invest in actual residential pest control to inspect your home, seal any entry points for pests, and ensure your family’s safety.
Not all homes are prepared for a new furry friend, which is why this aspect of getting ready for a cat is essential. Perform a home inspection and ask your vet if there are any environmental concerns to take into account. For example, homes in the south should have air conditioning for their pets’ comfort while hurricane-prone areas should have the proper windows to stay safe. Getting ready for a cat shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg, but it might take a small chunk out of your savings.
Know that a cat is a big responsibility
Cats are one of the most independent, easy to care for creatures you can own. Unfortunately, many people still fail to take good care of their cats. Know that owning a cat is a big commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Some cats can live to 20 years of age! They’re a long-term companion that needs love, attention, and the basic necessities.
There are countless people who are arrested each year for animal abuse and neglect. If you’re on the fence about adopting a cat, wait a while before making your final decision. If you’re not prepared, you might have to find a bail bond company to get you out of jail for animal abuse charges. This reality of owning a pet isn’t pretty but it happens all the time: take care of your pet. Invest in getting ready for a cat. They need you to survive.
Getting ready for a cat
Getting ready for a cat isn’t always easy or fun, but it’s necessary to ensure your future pet’s safety. When you’re thinking about getting ready for a cat for the first time, rely on these tips to keep them safe and healthy.
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