First-Time Owning a Cat? 5 Things You Need to Know

Bringing home a cat for the first time is an exciting experience! As a new feline owner, you’ll enjoy all the affection, companionship, and entertainment cats provide. But owning a cat is also a big responsibility. There are a few key things every first-time cat owner should know. Keep reading to know what those key things are.

Preparing Your Home for a Cat

Bringing a new cat into your home requires adjustments to ensure a safe, comfortable environment. Take the time to properly cat-proof your living space before your furry friend moves in. Remove anything dangerous or breakable your kitty could knock over. Secure loose items like wires and houseplants. Check for small openings where a cat could potentially get stuck. Install child locks on cabinets holding harmful cleaners or medications. Screen windows and doors to prevent escapes and falls. You want your cat to be able to freely and safely explore its new home. Provide cozy beds in quiet, low-traffic areas so your pet has places to nap undisturbed. Stock up on appropriate scratching posts and toys to promote positive behaviors.

Identifying Potential Hazards in Your Home 

Be vigilant about hazards around the house that could seriously harm your curious new cat. Keep toilet lids down so your cat doesn’t accidentally fall into the bowl and drown. Don’t leave plastic bags, rubber bands, dental floss/string, or hair ties lying around for your cat to swallow. Secure trash cans; cats can get stuck or munch on gross, toxic items. Beware of poisonous houseplants and foods like grapes, onions, and chocolate. Remove medications, chemicals, mothballs, and other substances from reach. Check for loose wires and cords your cat could chew through and electrocute. Watch for open windows, doors, or holes where your cat could escape. Eliminate these dangers before bringing your feline home.

Getting the Necessary Supplies

Before adopting your cat, you’ll need essentials like food, bowls, a litter box, scratching posts, safe toys, grooming tools, and a comfy cat bed. Stock up on kitten-formulated food if your new pet is under a year old. And as far as litter boxes go, it would be best to invest in a modern cat litter box for less litter tracking. Your cat will also need collars or ID tags, vitamin supplements, and lots of love and cuddles from you! Having preparations made ahead of time ensures a seamless transition when you welcome your new furry family member home.

Feeding Your Cat

One of your most important jobs as a new cat owner is properly feeding your furry friend. Cats require nutrients from quality cat food to stay healthy. Do your research to understand your cat’s nutritional needs based on age and activity level. Kittens need specially formulated food to support growth and development; look for “kitten” on the label. Adult cat foods provide balanced nutrition for non-senior felines. As cats reach 7+ years old, they do best on senior cat food. 

Wet and dry foods both have pros and cons. Canned wet food has more moisture to support urinary tract health, while crunchy kibble helps clean teeth. Work with your vet to choose the best food for your cat based on health, preferences, and lifestyle.

Caring for Your Cat’s Health

Take your new cat to the vet shortly after adoption for an initial exam – your cat’s health is key. Arrange annual wellness checkups to catch any issues early. Vaccines, testing, and preventative medication reminders will be part of routine visits. Have your vet’s number programmed in your phone for urgent questions or concerns. They can best advise on any health-related decisions. 

Core vaccine series begin around 6-8 weeks old and include Feline Panleukopenia, Herpesvirus, Calicivirus, and Rabies for maximum protection. Annual booster shots are needed after that. Regular deworming, flea, and tick prevention maintain your cat’s optimal health. Ask your veterinarian to discuss the schedule and products best suited for your cat based on lifestyle factors like indoor/outdoor access.


While cats are relatively easy pets compared to dogs, first-time owners should still understand the responsibility involved. You’ll need to kitten-proof your home by removing harmful objects and securing screens. You must commit to providing food, water, healthcare, grooming, and lots of love! Kittens, especially, require training and socialization. Expect sleepless early mornings and potential furniture scratching. However, the companionable bond you form makes it all worthwhile. Being a cat parent is extremely rewarding with the proper prep.

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