I’ve always said that the only people who don’t care for cats never really got close to one, but for someone who is not a cat person, keeping a cat as a pet may seem like an impossible task. It really isn’t so. When you are armed with the right information and skills, keeping a cat would not only be a wonderful experience but a beneficial one.

Cats are fun, independent, smart, curious, and very entertaining. Their sense of independence makes them quite easy to care for and relatively low-maintenance. As a new cat owner all you need to do is familiarize yourself with the basics of feeding, grooming, safety, general health, and of course, learn to love and enjoy your cats. Below are some of the essential tips any non-cat person can adapt to be a better cat keeper.

  1. Know how busy you are:

Cats may be independent by nature but they still need your help for a couple of things. Before you go ahead to adopt a cat(and always remember, ADOPT, DON’T  SHOP) you need to check if your lifestyle can make room for a feline. Cats behave differently from each other, some need a lot of attention and grooming while others can manage well on their own most of the time. The level of spare time you have will go a long way to determine the type of cat you should get. Carry out proper research before you go ahead to adopt.

  1. Choose a good veterinarian and cat sitter:

Another very important thing to do is to choose a good vet for your cat, preferably someone nearby. You can ask your cat-owning friends for recommendations on local vets or you could visit websites such as BrinFido. Ensure to ask the vet on the first checkup if there is anything that you need to be aware of.

If you work long hours outside the home then it is a good idea to adopt two cats or kittens who can keep each other company while you are away. If you’re going away for vacation, find someone you trust to come to your home to cat sit. I personally don’t recommend boarding your cat as even at the best places they may be exposed to illness and also being out of their environment is very stressful.

  1. Be sure you don’t have cat allergies.

It is very sad if a cat gets cozy in your home and then has to be returned to a shelter. You can always ask your doctor about allergy testing first if necessary.

4 Checkup and immunizations:

One of the major differences between a healthy, happy cat and a miserable one misbehaving around the house is regular medical checkups and immunizations.  The shelter you adopt from will give you the cat’s medical and immunization records so you know when to return to your own veterinarian.

  1. Get a good litter box and quality cat litter:

A good enclosed litter box will offer you and your cat the needed privacy. Also, it is important you keep the box clean, both for the comfort of the cat and that of your nose.  A cloud of low dust, clumping cat litter is highly recommended. Feeding is equally important, ensure to feed your cat with well-balanced age-appropriate food. This would help them grow properly as well as keep them healthy. If you are not sure about what to give your cat you can ask your vet or inquire from the representatives at your local pet store.

  1. Get your cat some fun toys:

Cats can be quite playful. Therefore to keep them happy you need to have a couple of playthings lying around, this could be toy mice filled with catnip, empty boxes, or feathers. It really doesn’t have to be too expensive, they can even be homemade. Basically, you just need playthings to keep your cat active, happy, and mentally occupied.

  1. Don’t be mad or worried if your cat hides from you, it is quite normal:

If this happens, all you need do is wait for him to approach you. If he doesn’t, you can try again at a later date. Leave food and water for your cat, but if he doesn’t eat for days then you may need to contact your vet for advice.

  1. Socialize with your cat often:

A notion held by some people is that cats are antisocial. This is not true, some cats may not like guests in your home and may hide, while they will be very friendly with you.  Be sure to hang out with your cat every day; over time he will get used to his environment. The best thing to do is to keep a new cat in one room for a while so it feels secure and has time to adjust to his new home before exploring the rest of the house. This article is assuming that this is your very first cat and it doesn’t have to be introduced to another cat or cats. For a new kitten, it is vital that the kitten is socialized; it is extremely important in the first few months of life as this is regarded as the prime socialization period. We’ll write more on the subject of introducing your cat to other pets in another article.

  1. Invest in a scratching post:

Cats naturally have scratching urges, so it is smart to get them a scratching post. This will save you the expense and frustration of your cat damaging your furniture.  A scratching post is an excellent way via which cats can exercise and get their daily scratching needs met. A helpful way to attract cats to the scratching post is to spray it with liquid catnip spray, available at pet stores. Don’t punish your cat if they scratch in the wrong place; praise them when they do it correctly, just take them over to the scratching post if necessary and show them what to do by placing their paws on the post and doing a scratching motion. NEVER declaw your cat. It is extremely cruel. Imagine getting the first part of each of your fingers cut off. That’s how it is for a cat. Plus, if your cat ever escapes, it is totally defenseless. I have five cats and they always use the scratching posts. Cats can definitely be trained.

  1. Remember, you can actually train your cat:

Positive reinforcement is the best way to train a cat. Cats can be quite smart and are very capable of learning a lot if you reward them for behavior that you want to encourage.