Adopting a cat is no small feat! While cats are wildly independent, they’re also kind and loving creatures who need attentive care. Whenever adopting a new animal into your home, it’s of the utmost importance to prepare your home as a welcoming environment! That’s why, along with wisdom from our Lilly Brush Community, we’ve compiled 6 things you should know before adopting a cat:
What supplies should you get before adopting a cat?
- Bowls (for food and water)
- Litter and litter box
- Bed (optional)
christian_the_cat: I would recommend getting the basics pet supplies such a food, bowls, litter and litter-box, a few toys, a brush and maybe even a bed. I would also make sure you have a enough time and space for the cat.
greatgramsofgary: cats are pretty self sufficient so you won’t need too much – a few litter boxes (we have three different ones around the house), food, and a food and water bowl are the bare necessities. You could also grab a bed, a few toys, and possibly a cat tower to help make your home a bit more welcoming. Each cat has different preferences so you can buy more things as you figure what your new furry friend likes.
mrbingleymainecoon: Litter Box – and all that goes with it. Felted cat cave, feather wand toy, light weight ball toy, (homemade or purchased), scratcher that is adjustable in case your cat has a preferred scratching position, comb/brush.
How do you know which breed is best for you?
christian_the_cat: To know what the best breed is for you do research, look at different breeds to see what the care is for that breed. Find one that fits your lifestyle. And always consider shelter animals!
greatgramsofgary: Generally speaking cats at a shelter will be mostly just domestic cats, and not any one specific breed (Gary for example is just a domestic longhair) This should work for most people. If you are looking to get a specific cat from a breeder you should talk to them about any breed specific requirements to make sure that breed fits your lifestyle. Some, particularly exotic cats like bengals and Savannahs have very high energy and aren’t suited to all homes.
mrbingleymainecoon: Consider your home life, if you want a cat that is more independent, if you can enrich an active breed’s life with lots of play, puzzles or leash training. Big versus small breed and how much they eat. Everything costs just a bit more for the bigger breeds. If you’re allergic to cats, there are a few breeds that might still work for you. Long hair breeds take more maintenance to keep the fur in good condition.
Which cat food should you buy?
Ask your vet first! Do your research and find out which food is best for your cats– but before you do that, here’s what our Instagram friends have to say:
christian_the_cat: I would ask a vet for the best food or get a food that has what your cat would need to make sure they are getting the right things in the food such as kitten or older cat food. I use Meow Mix for dry food and the wet food I give Christian is Fancy Feast or Meow Mix.
greatgramsofgary: This is pretty cat specific. We feed our cats a prescription Royal Canin Dental food. Gary has had urinary crystallization issues in the past and we found he does well on these. You can talk with your vet about different food options. We avoid raw food, but if that’s what you’d like to feed your cat be very very choosy about picking a raw diet. They can transmit diseases like E. coli, and not all of them are nutritionally complete, again, your vet can help find a good option.
mrbingleymainecoon: If you’re buying a purebred from a breeder, have a conversation with them about this. If you’re adopting, have a conversation with your vet.
How much time and attention should you devote to your cat each day?
christian_the_cat: I would give your cat as much attention as you can or as much attention as your cat wants. It can depend of the cat and what they need.
greatgramsofgary: starting to sound like a broken record, but again it will vary based on your cat. Gary is fairly independent and doesn’t like attention unless he asks for it – he will come to us to ask for pets or cuddles and then leave when he’s had enough. His brother Carl is very affectionate and will cuddle for hours at a time. Cats are pretty good at communicating their needs, so take the lead from them!
mrbingleymainecoon: As much as necessary to make the relationship mutually rewarding. No cat is the same in this case.
What health needs should you consider?
Some of the most common health considerations for cats include:
- Vet check-ins
- Regular brushing
- Flea and tick prevention/treatment
- Clean and quality litter
- Nail trimming
- Pet insurance
- Toxic household or garden plants
- Shedding care
christian_the_cat: You should always get a yearly check up at the vet. Cats will need to be brushed regularly. They also need some type of flea and tick protection if they go outside or are around other animals. Picking a good litter is important so your cat is happy and healthy.
greatgramsofgary: For the most part cats are relatively low maintenance pets but they do have some needs. You can help with grooming at home by brushing their teeth, trimming their nails and brushing their fur to help prevent matting. They should also get annual checkups at the vet at a minimum. We have health insurance on all our pets except Carl, who was too old to qualify when we adopted him. While this doesn’t cover routine visits it will cover the cost of emergency care or health conditions your pet develops over time (make sure you read the policy so you know what is and isn’t covered!. Both our cats have heart issues and get regular checkups from the cardiologist, Carl has asthma which we manage at home with puffers. While not as frequent as dogs, cats can get into things they’re not supposed to, so avoid having toxic plants at home, and keep a close eye on them if you have tinsel at Christmas or if they’re playing with string. Both can be hazardous.
mrbingleymainecoon: If buying a purebred make sure your breeder has documented proof of all medical and genetic history. Vet needs and whether or not you want to buy pet insurance should be considered. Also whether or not you should microchip. Don’t forget to plan for annual wellness and vaccines and for spay/neuter costs. Consider vet bills are very expensive and realistically if you can afford an unexpected major surgery.
What else new cat owners should know?
christian_the_cat: Cats can be a lot of work but they are worth it! Cats are loving and fun.
mrbingleymainecoon: The attachment and love you feel for a pet should be strong. If it isn’t or you want to get it to make your children happy don’t get one unless you will be happily having it. Some cats just don’t turn out to have the greatest personalities. Consider what you might do if you don’t get along.
Check out our blog post on 5 Ways to Pamper Your Cat!
Writing Specialist at Lilly Brush Co.