June is “Adopt a Cat” month, and you might decide this is the ideal time to find yourself a feline companion. If you’re a first-time cat owner, you need to be prepared for the amount of energy and love a cat brings into your home. They may be small, but they’re mighty and their personalities are distinct. Following are tips for adopting a cat and what you need to know before you go to the shelter.
Consider Adopting a Pair
Cats are thought of as solitary creatures, and it’s true that there are individuals who don’t want to live with other cats. However, cats are social and need stimulation to keep their bodies and minds content. Having a bonded pair in the house keeps them socialized, minimizes undesirable behaviors, and lessens your guilt when you must go out for a few hours or on vacation for a week.
Feeding Your New Cat
To ensure that your cat’s diet is nutritionally balanced we recommend looking for the AAFCO logo, which indicates it will meet your cat’s dietary needs. Additionally, it is important to help your cat maintain a healthy body weight. Your cat’s food should have a chart to guide you to know how much to feed daily. Be sure to ask us about dietary recommendations for the newest addition to your family.
Always Keep Water Dishes Fresh
Even though cats can get their water from their meals, they still need fresh, clean water to drink. The longer the water dish has gone between emptying and cleaning, the less likely they are to drink regularly. Cats, particularly male cats are prone to urinary conditions which can be aggravated by low water consumption. Keeping fresh water available goes a long way towards preventing urinary diseases and helps your cat stay healthy.
Don’t be surprised if you find your cat likes to drink from a faucet. It’s an instinctive urge to drink water from a running source. Consider getting a pet water fountain to keep your cat from getting into the sink at inopportune times.
Use Low-Dust Litter
Most of the cat litter is made from bentonite clay, but you can find products made from recycled newspaper, pine shavings, and recycled corn cobs. Look for litters that have low dust on the label as it means less aggravation for you to clean along with less dust for your cat to inhale while using the box. Clumping litter is safe to use and makes it easier for a first-time cat owner to get used to litter box duties. Automatic, self-cleaning litter boxes are an excellent solution to keeping the litter box clean! The general rule is to have 1 litter box per cat PLUS one more: if you have one cat you should have two litter boxes, three cats should have 4 litter boxes. This allows them options for their location preference and also allows them to find a clean spot to use. Litter boxes should be cleaned daily to help ensure your cat will use the box appropriately.
Make an Appointment with the Veterinarian
The shelter will send you home with a clean bill of health for your new companion, but you should make an appointment with a veterinarian for a wellness check as soon as you can. An initial visit can uncover something that wasn’t seen at the shelter or confirm the overall well-being of your cat. You’ll learn about what to expect as your cat ages and establish a relationship with the veterinarian for ongoing care over the years. Call University Veterinary Hospital today at 510-841-4412 to schedule an appointment!