When it comes to pet ownership, every situation is a little bit different. But if you’re a first-time cat owner or considering becoming one, there are a few things you absolutely need to know. Here are three essential pet tips for all of you first-time cat owners out there.

Litter Box Prep and Maintenance Is Key

You might think setting up your cat’s bathroom is as simple as buying a litter box and putting it in your basement. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong there. Cats can be picky about where they choose to do their business. If you don’t pick a suitable spot for their bathroom, they might find another place to go. It probably won’t be a place you like, either. In addition, cats need enough space to use their litter box comfortably — both within and around! If you want to make sure your new feline friend feels comfortable using their litter box, consider the following questions when you’re placing it in your home.

  • Is this room quiet?
  • Have I given my cat enough space around their litter box?
  • Is this litter box big enough?
  • How much traffic moves through this room?

If you can find a comfortable place that’s quiet and spacious for your cat’s litter box, you’ll be golden. Just make sure you keep it clean. Like, really clean. Scooping your cat’s litter box every time they use it and changing the litter often is key to ensuring their comfort and hygiene.

Invest in a Good Scratching Post

There is no such thing as a cat that doesn’t scratch. In fact, scratching is one of the ways that cats release tension — they have a natural need to do so. So before you inquire at your local pet hospital about declawing, which is an inhumane and unnecessary procedure, use the tools at your disposal to protect your furniture and carpets. Investing in a quality scratching post for your cat will save you a whole lot of trouble later. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right on the first try, either. It’s possible that your cat might not like using a vertical scratching post, so one that sits horizontally on the floor could be better. Purchasing a few cheaper models to see which one your cat likes best is a good strategy to use before spending money on a high-quality scratching post.

Even Cats Need to Play!

Any veterinarian will tell you that play is essential for maintaining your cat’s health. Playing is one of those pet tips that first-time cat owners might not think about because cats are considered “lower maintenance” than dogs. Contrary to popular belief, cats do need physical activity every day. That means it’s your responsibility as a cat owner to make time for play every day. If you’re not sure how to play with your cat, it’s a good idea to call your veterinarian for some ideas. In most cases, they’ll likely recommend investing in a variety of toys designed to keep your cat engaged. If you want to be part of your cat’s daily play, feather toys and laser pointers can be excellent tools to help you out.

Bringing a cat into your home for the first time can be a little overwhelming if you’re not sure what you’re doing. But considering that almost 39 million households in the U.S. have cats, you’re far from alone. And with these pet tips, you should be well on your way to becoming a great cat parent in no time at all.

At Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center we are happy to provide a wide range of veterinary specialty and emergency services. It is important to have a “primary care” veterinarian to keep your new family member healthy and happy with routine vaccinations and health checks. But if you find yourself in the midst of a veterinary emergency, our team of experienced veterinarians is here to help. When it comes to visiting animal hospitals, we understand that the experience can be full of stress and worry, so we aim to make things as simple as possible. For more information, get in touch with one of our experts today.