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Tips for New Cat Owners

A Guide for First-Time Cat Owners

Bringing a new furry friend into your home is an exciting and rewarding experience. As a new cat owner, you may have various questions regarding your feline companion's development, lifespan, and health. 

In this blog, we will provide you with essential tips to help you navigate the world of cat ownership. We will discuss when a cat becomes an adult, how long they can live, common cat diseases and symptoms, as well as what to do when your cat falls ill. We have compiled a list of tips for new cat owners to help you with your new venture!


When Does a Cat Become an Adult?

Understanding your cat's developmental stages is crucial for their care and well-being. Cats typically reach adulthood between one and two years of age. However, this can vary depending on the breed and individual cat. Keep in mind that while they may be physically mature, cats can continue to exhibit playful behavior well into their adult years.


How Many Years Can a Cat Live?

Cats can live for many years, providing companionship and joy to their owners. On average, indoor cats live longer than outdoor cats, with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. However, it is not uncommon for cats to live into their late teens or even early twenties with proper care, nutrition, and regular veterinary check-ups.

Cat Diseases and Symptoms

As a responsible cat owner, being aware of common cat diseases and symptoms is essential. Knowing the signs and symptoms of common feline illnesses will help you act quickly if necessary. Some common cat illnesses include:

  • Upper Respiratory Infections: Sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, and lethargy.
  • Upset Stomach: This can occur occasionally. Runny stools, trouble toileting, struggling to settle. If diarrhea occurs for a long period of time (over a matter of 3-4 days) see your vet.
  • Urinary Tract Infections: Frequent urination, straining, blood in the urine, and excessive grooming of the genital area.
  • Dental Disease: Bad breath, swollen gums, difficulty eating, and tartar build-up.
  • Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV): Weight loss, fever, loss of appetite, and recurring infections.
  • Kidney Disease: Increased thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, and poor appetite.


What to Do When Your Cat Is Sick

If you suspect that your cat is unwell, it is essential to consult a veterinarian promptly. Here are some steps to follow when your cat is sick:

  • Observe and document symptoms: Note any changes in behavior, appetite, or litter box habits.
  • Contact your veterinarian: Explain your cat's symptoms and follow their advice for further examination or treatment.
  • Provide a comfortable environment: Create a quiet and cozy space for your cat to rest and recover.
  • Administer medications as prescribed: If your vet prescribes medication, ensure you follow the dosage and administration instructions carefully.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet: Offer nutritious food and ensure your cat stays hydrated.
  • Monitor progress and attend follow-up visits: Keep an eye on your cat's recovery and schedule any necessary follow-up appointments.


Why Is Buying a Good Quality Cat Food Beneficial for Your Cat?

High-quality cat food is essential for your feline friend’s health and well-being. Good quality cat food contains ingredients that are appropriate for cats, such as proteins and essential fatty acids. This type of food helps to ensure they receive the correct nutrition needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, high-quality cat food can help to reduce the risk of illnesses and diseases. You can view our feeding tips for new cat owners blog here.


Preventative Care for Your Cat

Regular preventative care is essential for cats of all ages. This includes routine check-ups, tick, worm and flea treatment (if needed), vaccinations, nutrition advice, dental care, nail trims and more. It is important to note that each cat's needs may vary depending on their age, breed and lifestyle. Speak with your veterinarian to ensure the best possible care for your feline friend.

It is important to also ensure that potential hazards are removed such as poisonous plants, cleaning products, and medication. Grooming can also be important. If you have a long-haired cat, they may need brushing and grooming more regularly. Short-haired cats also need grooming, but not as often.


How Will My Cat Behave When I Bring It Home for the First Time?

Bringing home a new cat can be an exciting yet daunting experience. Your cat may appear shy and scared, but it is important to remember that they are adjusting to a new environment. It is best to keep your cat indoors for around two weeks before letting them outside. Here are some tips to help make your cat’s transition into their new home smoother:

  • Create a quiet environment for your cat - This is easy to do! You may have a cupboard (sometimes cats like a cupboard with a heater to keep warm!) or behind a couch or anywhere quiet that they can hide and get used to their new surroundings. If you have a rescue cat, it can be normal for them to hide for many hours or even days.

  • Establish trust and bonding with your cat - Getting to know your cat is an important step in the bonding process. Spend time playing with your cat, offering treats and engaging in activities that they enjoy. Speak to them in a calm voice, pet them gently, and allow them to get comfortable with you at their own pace.

  • Ensure that your cat has access to necessities - Placing items near where your cat seems comfortable such as fresh water, a clean litter box and access to food or even a scratch post can keep your cat healthy, entertained and comfortable. Empty the litter box, put down fresh food and change their water on a daily basis.

  • Make sure your cat is familiar with their new home and the people living in it. Try to create a routine for your cat, as they understand consistency. Provide them with plenty of toys, cat furniture (to deter them from using yours!), and the all-important scratching post to keep them entertained. Ensure that all family members follow the same instructions when handling the cat. This will help your cat get used to you and learn to trust you.

Be patient if your cat is scared or timid. Give them time and space to adjust to the new environment and people in it. It can take several weeks for a cat to fully trust their owners, so don’t give up if your cat isn’t showing signs of attachment right away.

Your Journey to a Happy and Healthy Cat 

Becoming a new cat owner is an incredible journey filled with love and companionship. By understanding when a cat becomes an adult, how long cats can live, common cat diseases and symptoms, as well as what to do when your cat is sick, you'll be equipped to provide the best care for your feline friend and ensure that it has a healthy life and minimal veterinary visits. A happy and healthy cat starts with your commitment to their well-being.