A cat has taken over your house and enslaved you. Congratulations! Besides the basics, like pledging eternal love and devotion to your furry, four-legged overlord while supplying endless treats, snuggles, and skritches, here's a few things first-time cat owners need to know.
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1. Keep litter boxes clean.
Even if you're lazy about human housework, you've got to step it up when it comes to your cat. Cats are notoriously picky about their litter box. Clean that shit (literally) twice a day. Here's a handy pootorial.
2. Groom your kitty.
Cats are excellent at keeping themselves clean and spiffy. With their rough tongues acting like little brushes, they bathe and groom themselves with spit. Sounds gross, but it's effective. You will have to do a little work though.
Depending on the length of your cat's fur, hairballs might be a problem. Brushing your cat regularly will prevent loose hair from collecting in the cat's stomach. Brushing also feels amazing - it's a back scratch and massage, all in one! Get ready for some thunderous purrs!
3. Know the difference between types of vomit.
One of the weirdest things about cats is how much they puke. There is bad puking and normal puking (like when they gobble food too quickly or have a hairball). Check out this article to learn the difference.
4. Spend quality time with your cat.
A lot of people think that cats are independent and aloof. WRONG! They love to spend time with you! Playing with your new kitty is critical — not only will playing help you bond with each other, it will keep your cat's brain happy. Keep your kitty entertained with toys, laser pointers, and lots of human interaction. Here's a list of the different ways that kitties love to play.
5. Understand the powers of catnip.
Another fun thing your cat might enjoy is catnip. Cats react differently to the herb - some go crazy, while others drool and fall asleep. It's well worth the small investment so see if your new kitty is a catnip head.
Whether the catnip is in dried plant form, sprinkled on a scratching post or hidden in a cute toy, watching a cat get stoned is endlessly entertaining.
Really. I could watch this all day.
It never gets old.
6. All cats love a plain, old cardboard box.
A cardboard box is another fun thing for your cat. No really. Cats prefer cardboard boxes to most everything.
7. There will be scratching.
But cats do like to scratch, so be sure to invest in a scratching post, unless you want your furniture destroyed. Kitty's got nails and she's gonna use them — it's a natural cat fact. Sprinkle catnip on the scratching post watch her get down to Scratchy Town.
Since we're talking about scratching, you'll have to learn to trim your cat's nails. Your vet can show you how or you can search for a tutorial online.
8. Kitties love to sleep.
Something you might not realize as a first-time cat owner is how much cats sleep. We're talking like, 12-16 hours a day.
9. Enjoy their quirks.
A fun surprise about owning a cat is they might show their love by bringing you stuff they've killed. Just say "thanks" and marvel at the little creature at your feet that loves you enough to murder an innocent bird or mouse. That's intense, man.
Love bites are are another seemingly cruel way cats show affection. After a while, you'll learn to brace yourself after a snuggle and purr session becomes bitey.
I've done my best to prepare you for life as an indentured cat servant, but if there's one thing I've learned from living with cats, is that each cat is different, and every cat is a weirdo.
What advice would you give to new cat owners? Please tell us in the comments!
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.