Tips for New Cat Owners (Advice for Kittens and Older Cats You Bring Home)

Congratulations—you’re getting a cat!

Bringing a new kitty into your home can bring all sorts of joy to your life.

Not only are kittens great companions, but cats, in general, are known for lowering stress and anxiety, cheering you up, and helping you sleep better.

However, to ensure success with your new cat, there are a few things you need to do (and consider) before you bring that pretty kitty home.

To make things go as smoothly as possible for you, we’ve put together a list of the top tips for new cat owners.

By following these guidelines below, both you and your new cat will get a great start to a wonderful life together.

Top Tips for New Cat Owners

1) Invest in an Air Purifier

If you didn’t know this already, cat’s are notorious for shedding dander.

And even if you are not allergic to cats, their dander can still cause you to feel congested, sneeze erratically, and have itchy eyes the more it builds up inside your home.

Another concern with having cats is the smell that comes from the litter box. Even the cleanest of kitties can have foul smelling odors after going the bathroom.

Fortunately, there now exists special air purifiers for pets that can reduce the amount of pet dander, hair, and odors in your home. They do this by sucking the indoor air into a series of filters, capturing those particles, and pumping fresh air back into the air for you to breathe.

An air purifier is a must-have item for any serious pet owner. And once you experience the benefits of having one, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t invested in one earlier if you’ve ever had pets before.

Take a look at our guide on finding the top air purifier for pets. It explains more about the benefits and includes a few high-quality recommendations for cat owners.

2) Schedule a Checkup and Immunizations

If you’re adopting a kitty from a private owner it likely hasn’t had immunizations. If you’re getting a cat from a shelter, it may already have had those shots.

If your cat hasn’t had immunizations, it’s a good idea to get these done within the first week after you bring your new kitten home. You can get this done at a local animal hospital, Petco, or PetSmart.

Regardless if your cat has had vaccinations or not, scheduling a checkup is essential. This visit will help you find out how healthy your cat is, any potential problems it may have, and give you the opportunity to as a veterinarian any questions about proper cat care.

3) Give Your Cat It’s Own Room (At First)

Cat’s are very territorial creatures.

And coming into a new house may make the kitty feel very nervous and afraid.

To help your cat feel more at ease, choose a dedicated room to be his or her private area; a bathroom or laundry room works well and so does a spare bedroom.

Keep the door closed to this room. That way, the kitty can explore and get comfortable with their surroundings. After a week, you can open the door and let your cat start to explore other areas of your home; however, always bring the kitty back to that room for feeding and nap times.

After several weeks of supervised exploring of the rest of your home, it should be safe for your cat to have free range of the house. By that time, the kitty should have a good grasp of the surrounding areas and won’t feel intimated or skittish.

If you find that your cat is hiding from you. Don’t worry. It’s normal for cats to hide under things for long periods of time. And some cats even prefer to be left alone.

4) Get a Cheap Litter Box (Then Increase the Size with the Cat)

One of the best tips for new cat owners who bring home a kitten is the buy a small, cheap litter box.

At this stage, a big, fancy one is not necessary. Plus, your kitten won’t likely use it.

As your cat gets bigger, change the litter box to a larger size. After about one to two years, you may then want to consider investing in a large enclosed litter box or one that’s self-cleaning.

Regardless of the type of litter box you choose, make sure that you place it in a location that’s far away from the feeding station (mentioned next). Cat’s don’t like to eat where they use the bathroom.

Also, clean the litter box each day. Don’t let the mess build up. Cats have very sensitive noses and they may look elsewhere to do their business if it the smell is untolerable.

And remember, it’s a good idea to get an air purifier and place it in the same room as the litter box as a way to cut down on cat odors.

5) Set Up a Feeding Station

This is self-explanatory but make sure you have a separate dish for water and cat food.

And always make sure the water bowl is filled with fresh water. The number one reason for why cats don’t drink water is because the water is old, dirty, or stale. So, refresh it daily.

And, a we mentioned in the last tip, keep the food station as far away from the litter box as possible.

6) Kitten-Proof Your House

Take a good look around your house (or apartment) and take note of anything that could be hazardous to your cat when it’s climbing or exploring.

Also look for any items that are fragile and valuable that you don’t want damaged or knocked over.

Put anything of that nature on the highest possible shelf you can find or store it away so it stays safe.

7) Invest in a Cat Tree (or Cat Condo)

Cat trees, also known a cat condos, are wonderful items to have for your kitty.

These contraptions are basically your cat’s own apartment inside your home.

You can go small or large with a cat tree, but make sure the one you gets contains both of these essential items: a scratching post and comfortable area for your cat to sleep.

8) Get Some Kitten Toys (And Empty Boxes)

It’s not just kittens who love to have fun: every cat loves to play.

Cat toys don’t have to be expensive either. A cheap set of felt mice, balls, feathers, and string are all a kitty really needs for amusement.

Empty boxes are always a huge hit too.

Just open a box, place it on the ground, and watch as your cat explores it and pounces all over it.

9) Start Grooming Early On

If you’re bringing home a new kitten, try to start a grooming routine from day one.

Most cats hate to be groomed, but if you can start this process early on with a kitten, then you’ll have a much better chance of making it something they look forward too rather than dread.

Brush daily, bathe weekly, and trim claws twice per month.

10) Socialize Often

Cats get a bad rap for being antisocial, but often that comes about because the cat owner didn’t social enough with the kitten when it was young.

To (hopefully) prevent your cat from being a loner as it gets older, make it a habit to play with your cat every day. Don’t just go about your business while your cat does his or her own thing.

Socialization is especially important in the first two to twelve weeks of age. During that time, kittens are very impressionable to social influences. If they have good experiences with their owner (and other pets), they’re likely to accept them throughout life.

11) Consider Pet Insurance

We hope you won’t need pet insurance, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Compare rates and see if you can afford to fit pet insurance into your budget.

12) When in Doubt, See a Veterinarian

Although cats are relatively healthy animals, and many recover quickly from illnesses, there’s always a chance that a kitty may die or have serious injuries if a medical need or emergency is not recognized.

If your cat seems sick or doing things out of the ordinary, don’t delay in taking it to a veterinarian.

Summary

Well, there you have it—the top tips for new cat owners.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to having a cat-friendly home and a well-adjusted kitty.

As a reminder, if you want to keep your home smelling fresh and remove as much cat dander as possible, take a look at our guide on finding the top air purifier for pets.

It goes over everything you need to know about getting an air purifying device made for cats. It also suggests a few of the best air purifiers for pets owners as a whole.