A Quick and Practical Guide for First-Time Cat Owners

Being a cat-lover dates far back in ancient history and hasn’t shown any signs of disappearing yet. If you have recently decided to adopt a cat but have no prior experience, this quick guide will answer some of your basic questions.

Adoption Might Be Better Than Buying

Buying a cat is not only more expensive for you but might contribute to the unethical industry of breeding cats in backstreet breeding processes in some cases. Of course, there are ethical breeders, but there are many who aren’t. That’s why it’s important to do your research when looking to buy a cat from a breeder and ensure they are ethical and reputable. Another excellent way of getting a pet cat is through adoption. Visit a shelter and adopt a cat who truly needs your love and time.

Check Your Cat or Kitten’s Medical Records

Adopting a cat or kitten means that you might not know exactly how old they are, but the shelter should be able to provide you with some medical information about your cat. This should include which vaccines and any other procedures they may have had. Most shelters spay or neuter all their cats before adoption as well.

Get a Microchip

A microchip for your cat or kitten is the best way to increase the chances of your pet being returned to you if they become lost. Microchips contain information about a registry that will keep details on how to reach you should someone find your missing cat. Most vets, including the Des Moines WA vet clinic, offer this service. It is a quick and mostly painless procedure and cats do not feel the microchip under their skin once it’s been inserted. This precaution is important if you want to add peace of mind.

Create a Cat-Friendly Environment

When you have started the adoption proceedings, you must quickly create a space where your new cat can feel safe in your home. Allowing them full access to every room at once can be overstimulating and overwhelming. Provide a comfortable bed, a place to hide, food, water, and a litter box. Make sure the space is secure to prevent them from escaping. As you introduce them to the rest of the home, make it easy for them to retreat to this safe place should they become scared. The key to building a cat’s confidence is giving them control over their actions.

Think About Bathroom Necessities

Keep your cat’s litter box far from their food, water, and bed. If these essentials are too close together, the cat may behave strangely by either urinating in the wrong places or avoiding food. Cats have an instinct for hygiene that you should do your best to accommodate.

Choose the Right Food

There is much debate about what kind of food is best for a cat. The shelter may have recommended food that your cat ate while in their care. As a rule, wet food is better than dry food, but homemade raw meals can also be beneficial. Since cats are obligate carnivores, the more you can replicate real prey, the better.


Playing with your cat or kitten is essential to their happiness and wellbeing. Toys don’t need to be expensive. Small objects lying around your home could be enough to entertain your cat for hours.

Take It Slow

Different cats will go at different paces. Be patient with your new cat as they get to know you and their new home.

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