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Home > Cats > How to Be a Good Cat Owner: 10 Vet-Approved Tips

How to Be a Good Cat Owner: 10 Vet-Approved Tips

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Maybe you grew up knowing that you would be a cat owner someday, or you’ve just decided to bring one into your family dynamic for companionship. No matter the reason for becoming a new cat parent, you are likely wondering what you can do to be a good owner overall. After all, it’s a great deal of responsibility! While nobody is perfect, there are a few things that we can focus on to try to be the best caretakers possible. This list has 10 essential things that you can do to stay on top of the curve when it comes to caring for your cat. There’s also a short guide to preparing for your new kitty’s initial arrival. Read on!

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Preparing to Bring Your Kitty Home

cat owner feeding her pet cat
Photo Credit: Milles Studio, Shutterstock

Part of being a good cat parent is preparing to bring your cat home for the first time. There’s no point in considering how to care for a cat until you know that you’re properly prepared to have one in your home. First, you should invest in a secure kennel where your cat can retreat if they are feeling threatened while they get to know their new surroundings. Outfit the kennel with a soft bed and a toy or two.

You should also gather the following supplies:
  • Food and water bowls
  • Litter and litter box
  • Food designed specifically for your cat’s age (kitten, adult, or senior)
  • Collar
  • At least one scratching post
  • Interactive toys

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The 10 Tips for Being the Best Cat Parent Possible

Now it’s time for the details. Here are the top 10 tips for ensuring that you are a great cat parent!

1. Make Regular Veterinarian Appointments

Vet listening to a cat_s chest with a stethoscope
Photo Credit: Andy Gin, Shutterstock

One of the most important things that you can do to make sure your cat stays healthy throughout their life is to find a quality veterinarian to work with. Start by finding vets online with good patient reviews, then schedule consultation appointments with them.

From there, you should know what to expect from each service provider you meet with and can determine who will be able to best meet your needs and expectations in the coming months and years. Once you establish a working relationship with your chosen veterinarian, ask them for checkups and vaccination schedules so you can make appointments based on those.


2. Don’t Forget to Microchip

microchip implant for cat by veterinarian
Photo Credit: Ivonne Wierink, Shutterstock

Even indoor cats can escape or run away if they’re scared, which can lead to becoming lost for good. Have your kitty microchipped to avoid the stress of losing them and optimize the chance that you can reunite with them if they ever get away from you. If someone else finds your cat, they can head to a vet or humane society and have the microchip scanned. This will enable them to get your contact information and let you know that your kitty has been found.


3. Schedule a Spay or Neuter

spaying cat
Image Credit: De Visu, Shutterstock

If your cat gets outside, they could become pregnant or get a female pregnant, which would result in unexpected and unwanted kittens. There are more than enough unwanted kittens being born in the world each day. In fact, an unspayed female and her offspring can ultimately produce more than 4,900 babies in a 7-year period! To ensure that you are not contributing to the problem, make it a priority to have your new cat spayed or neutered.

You can schedule a spay or neuter appointment with your veterinarian, and organizations like SpayUSA have created referral networks throughout the United States that connect cat owners with service providers for low-cost spay and neuter services. Using such a network is a great way to save money on this service without sacrificing quality.


4. Make Safety and Security a Priority

cat sleeping in cat tree
Image Credit: Piqsels

Cats like to feel safe and secure in their domain, and if they don’t, they can become aggressive and destructive. Feeling unsafe can cause stress and anxiety too, which is no way for a cat to live. Therefore, make sure your kitty always feels safe and secure inside your home, no matter what’s going on.

A great way to do this is to ensure that your cat has plenty of places to hide and get away from the commotion when they feel the need to. Clean a space off a bookshelf for them to jump up on. Place a tablecloth over an end table in the living room so your kitty can hide underneath it. You can also keep a closet door cracked open, so they can head in for quiet time when they feel the need to relax.


5. Try Multiple Types of Litter Boxes

person pours dry litter from a bag for a cat's litter box
Image Credit: Oleg Opryshko, Shutterstock

Using the bathroom is a necessary part of everyday life for every cat. The happier your kitty is with their bathroom setup, the happier and less stressed out they will be overall. Therefore, we recommend trying multiple types of cat litter boxes to see which your pet likes the best. Their favorite option could be a short and wide box, a tall and compact box, one that automatically cleans itself after each bathroom break or one that is enclosed like a cave. Whatever the version, the happier they are with their litter box, the less chance you will have to deal with accidents in the house.


6. Invest in Quality Cat Food for Good Health

ginger cat eating cat food on elevated bowl
Image Credit: Princess_Anmitsu, Shutterstock

As a cat owner, you undoubtedly want to ensure that your pet leads a happy and healthy life. A crucial aspect of good health is nutrition. So, instead of picking up the least-expensive food option at the store to feed your feline, take the time to do comparison shopping. Look for food that has real meat or fish as the first ingredient and is designed specifically for your cat’s age. Fresh food made from recipes formulated by a veterinary nutritionist is by far the best option for your beloved cat.

Some cat food options are made just for kittens, adults, and seniors. You can further customize your cat’s food with formulas made for things like weight maintenance and blood sugar control. Ask your veterinarian for food recommendations during your cat’s first checkup. They can point you in the right direction or even offer a prescription food depending on your cat’s health and background.


7. Consider Utilizing a Water Fountain

cat looking at water fountain
Image By: Bianca Grueneberg, Shutterstock

Cats must be mentally stimulated throughout the day to stay healthy and happy, which is why there are so many types of toys and scratching posts available on the market. A fun way to provide your cat with extra mental stimulation while ensuring that they always have access to fresh drinking water is to invest in a feline water fountain.

It will circulate the water to mimic a source of moving water that a cat would find and drink from in the wild. Cats would never drink from a still water source unless absolutely necessary, as they instinctively know that moving water is typically safer. So, a water fountain will give them a sense of nature and peace of mind. The fountain can also stimulate their mind as they interact with it.


8. Create an Interactive Environment in Your Home

two young cat lying on modern cat climbing wallscapes
Image By: RJ22, Shutterstock

Make sure your cat has plenty of things to do when you are not around to keep them entertained and create an interactive environment for them. You can do this in various ways, such as installing floating shelves on the walls to create cat walkways, investing in window hammocks for them to sunbathe in, and installing a climbing activity wall somewhere in your home.


9. Schedule Playtime Together Every Day

woman playing with her cat at home
Image By: Alena Ozerova, Shutterstock

It’s crucial to create and maintain a strong bond with your cat so they trust you and feel comfortable in your care. An effective way to do this is to play with them every day. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes, interacting with your cat with toys will engage their senses, give them exercise so they can get rid of pent-up energy, and provide you both with the opportunity to get to know each other better.


10. Consider Spending Time Outdoors

Man walking the cat on pet harness and leash
Image By: Creative Cat Studio, Shutterstock

It’s important to keep your cat indoors so they don’t end up catching a disease from stray cats, getting injured by vehicles or other exterior elements, or becoming prey to a dog or wild animal. If your cat loves the outdoors, you can still take them on little outings occasionally. You can do this by outfitting your kitty with a harness and leash. Then, simply head outdoors to explore! Stay close to home, and keep a close eye on your kitty in case trouble arises.

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Final Thoughts

Cats are amazing pets, but we owners must ensure that they are well taken care of. Hopefully, this list of tips and tricks will help you do just that!


Featured Image Credit: Pixel Shot, Shutterstock

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