Across the UK, there are over one million cats and kittens in rescue shelters in need of a forever home. If you’re a cat lover and are ready to take one on, you’ll be happy to know felines are low maintenance, independent, and offer plenty of love (in their own way of course!).
We appreciate the build-up to getting your first cat will be exciting. But, you need to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into first. Before you scoop up your four-legged feline friend, here are some important factors to take into account.
Cats Cost Lots Of Money
Now, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise – cats cost money! Even if you’re getting a feline from a rescue shelter, you’ll find many will appreciate a donation. Once your furry friend arrives at their forever home, there are lots of things you’ll need to purchase that will soon rack up. This includes food, toys, vaccinations, and grooming. You must purchase a comfortable bed for your cat so they settle in nicely too.
There are ongoing costs for cats that include high-quality food and veterinary check-ups. Before you make the big decision and become a first-time cat owner, it’s essential to work out whether you can realistically afford one. The best place to start is by drawing up a budget and monitoring your income and outgoings.
Insurance Is A Necessity
Cat insurance is a must for first-time feline owners. One of the primary benefits of cat insurance is obvious – protection against vet bills should your furry friend suffer illness or get into an accident. Cat insurance also covers your pet against farewell cover and dental treatment.
Finding the right cat insurance policy is going to take time. This means you shouldn’t opt for the first policy you see. Instead, it pays off to do thorough research and compare providers. You may just score a better deal if you look hard enough. You’ll find it’s easy to find a company that provides cat insurance, like Purely Pets. They have designed 15 cover levels to give you the ability to choose the correct level of cover for you and your feline. Once you’ve got insurance in place, you can rest assured that your feline will have the protection it deserves.
Find A Reputable Vet
Should your beloved cat get poorly, a trip to the vet will be the first thing on your mind. You’ll want to pick a vet in your local area with an excellent reputation. That way, you know your pet will get the best care possible. If you’ve got loved ones that have a cat, it’s wise to get recommendations from them on what vet to choose.
If you live in a city or town, there will be numerous vets nearby. Any vet working in the UK must be registered with the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons). This means when checking out websites, this should be clearly displayed. Whichever vet you decide on, you’ll want to make sure the practice has excellent standards of care, provides good facilities, and has kind and knowledgeable staff to assist you with any questions you have.
Depending on the cat you choose, some breeds can live for over 20 years! For cat lovers, this sounds like a dream. But, you need to be aware that they’ll be by your side for these two decades and rely on you for everything. With that in mind, you need to be aware that cats are a lifetime commitment. This means you shouldn’t think about getting a feline unless you’re ready for them to be part of your life for decades to come.
For those who like to embark on spontaneous holidays or enjoy staying in bed till midday, you’ll need to take your four-legged feline into consideration with any decisions you make going forward. Making this move will change your life considerably for a very, very long time! Being aware of the responsibility on your shoulders is key before getting your first cat.
Cats Are Strong Characters
We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘dogs have owners, cats have staff.’ This shouldn’t be dismissed because no feline will obey to the levels a well-trained dog would. What you’ll find is most cat owners love their feline friends for this exact reason. Whether they’re eating plants, jumping on tables, or being a menace around the house, cats do what makes them have fun. Of course, you can have a try at teaching them some rules around the house. Although, you cannot count on them to stick to them!
The great thing about cats is they’re strong characters. Some may be quiet and timid, while others like to wreak havoc. You must take this into consideration before getting a feline. Cats require plenty of patience, so if you haven’t got that, it may be wise to reconsider getting one.
Feed Them The Right Foods
As a first-time cat owner, it’s understandable that you may not have any idea of what they should eat. While we see cats on TV shows and movies chasing mice and tucking into fish, there are plenty of other foods your feline should be eating as part of a balanced diet. Cats are meat eaters, plain and simple. The protein they get from meat supports their heart, vision, and helps in sustaining a healthy reproductive system.
You can feed your feline cooked beef, turkey, chicken, as well as small amounts of lean deli meats. However, be warned that spoiled or raw meat could make your furry friend ill. Consider giving your cat dried food too. This can be left down all day so your feline can eat as and when they like.
Be Aware Of Night-Time Activity
If there’s one thing first-time cat owners need to know, it’s that they come alive once the sun goes down. As you settle into bed for a good night’s sleep, don’t be too alarmed if your feline starts running around the house! Felines are nocturnal, so you need to prepare yourself for night-time activity.
In the first few weeks of having your cat, it can be stressful having to deal with your new pet wreaking havoc. However, they should start to settle down as they get more comfortable in their new space. Just make sure you keep them downstairs, so you don’t get disturbed!
Buy Appropriate Toys
There’s no denying that cats enjoy playtime. While you won’t be taking them on walks or throwing sticks, there are lots of toys you can buy that will keep your cat occupied for hours. Firstly, look into buying a scratchpad. Cats love using their claws, so rather than having them go into your new sofa or curtains, they can use a scratchpad to sharpen them instead.
Any toys that appear to change in some way or reflect light are particularly attractive to cats too. They enjoy toys with different textures. Also, many felines enjoy squeaky toys. However, some cats are startled by them so you should introduce them slowly and pay attention to their body language.
Welcoming your first cat into your home should be something to look forward to. Before your feline rocks up and takes over the household, being aware of what to expect will mean you have every base covered.
From what foods to give your furry friend to having the right insurance in place, getting organised is essential for first-time cat owners.