A Kitty Café Guide To Getting Your First Cat
Welcome back furriends! Once again it’s been an eventful week at Kitty Café, with loads of mews and brand new items available in our online shop. But you can learn more about that over on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube pages because in today’s blog we’ll be telling you everything you need to know if you're thinking about getting your very own furry companion!
Adopt, don’t shop
Our first piece of advice would always be to consider adoption. You may have your heart set on a pedigree breed like a Bengal or a British Shorthair (and they are adorable) but these can come with a hefty price tag and the breeding process isn’t always ethical. Plus there are thousands of purrfectly loving kitties across the UK who are desperate for homes, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg! Check out organisations like the RSPCA and Cats Protection or go local and find rescues in your area- you’ll be sure to fall in love with a shelter kitty in no time! We even have our own rescue site, where you can often find one of our café cats as well as a few from the community. We don’t charge an adoption fee but donations are always welcome.
Sadly the demand for adult cats is a lot lower than the demand for kittens which means it can take a lot longer to find their forever homes. But there are several advantages to considering a mature cat over a kitten:
They're more independent. If you spend a lot of time away from home, you may find it easier to meet an older cat’s demands as they don’t require as much attention
There won’t be any surprises! When you adopt an adult cat, their personality is already established. You’ll already know if they’re good around other animals or children and how much energy they have. It's important to think about their traits carefully to assess whether or not they'd be a good fit for your home- if you're told the cat doesn't like children, please respect this! Any good shelter will do background checks to match the cat to the most suitable owner.
They’re already trained. You won’t have to teach them how to use the litter box or spend hours playing with them because they’ll be used to life in a shelter.
How to prepare
If you have opted to get a kitten, it’s vital that they don’t leave their mother before they’re 8 weeks old. When they reach this age, they can be rehomed but it’s important to ensure that they’ve had their starter injections. You must keep a record of this. Cats should also remain up to date on their flea and worm treatments, especially if you’re planning to allow them to go outdoors.
We highly recommend that cats are neutered/spayed before the age of 6 months. While this isn’t a legal requirement, it will prevent further contribution to the number of cats in shelters, as well as possible feline sexually transmitted diseases which can be fatal. Female cats do not need to have kittens to live a happy and fulfilling life!
Microchipping is also highly recommended for the safety of your cat. Should it go missing, this will increase the chances of your feline friend being returned to you safely.
Whenever you get a new pet, one of the first things that you should do is register them with a reputable vet. The vet must be licensed and should be local, so that you can access them quickly in the event of an emergency. Pet insurance is also recommended.
It's important to kit out your home with anything your new pet might need. This can be an overwhelming and expensive process if you're not sure what you need to get, so we've made a downloadable checklist for you to take with you on your shopping spree. An added bonus is almost all of it is available in our online shop! We have you covered for everything from food to cosy cat beds.
Some things to note
Cats can take some time to get used to new environments, especially if they've spent a long time in a shelter, so it's only natural for it to take a while for your new companion to be comfortable around you. However, there are some ways you can help to put your moggie at ease in their forever home.
Some cats like their food and water bowls to be separate, so bare this in mind if you're planning on getting a double bowl feeding station like our Kitty Bowl
Cats value hygiene and dignity! This means you should place the litter tray away from where they eat and away from any prying eyes- somewhere that isn't frequently occupied like a utility room would be ideal
You may not earn your kitty's trust straight away, especially if they've been treated badly or neglected in the past. Therefore, while it's important to interact and play with a new pet, you should also provide somewhere safe and comfortable for them to hide. A box or igloo style bed would be purrfect!
Finally, when you bring your cat home, you must be patient. Here are some steps you can take to help put your fur baby at ease:
Don't force them out of their carrier- they'll come out when they're ready!
Set up a quiet room away from any children, other pets or loud noises. Remove any hazards and provide food and water, a bed and a litter tray. This will allow the cat to explore at its own pace and not become overwhelmed.
If your new cat hasn't moved within a few hours, move the food bowl closer and leave the room to encourage them to eat.
After a few hours, try gently interacting with your kitty by talking softly and offering small toys. Let them come to you and make sure you get down to their level- you may seem intimidating if you stand near them.
Introduce other household members slowly and encourage them to take the same steps. It's especially important to make sure children are gentle and respectful with animals!
And that concludes our comprehensive guide on getting a new cat! Come back next week for more advice or updates from Kitty Café.
PS: Comment your favourite cat names down below!