With countless adorable cat videos being circulated in social media, it’s hard not to want one of your eventually. Domesticated felines make great companions; they’re active, curious, affectionate, and their playfulness can sometimes make us crack a laugh or two. However, if you’ve never owned a cat, you may run into some difficulty understanding your cat and offering it the most comfortable home. Here’s what you need to know if you’re getting a cat for the first time.

Adopt, Don’t Buy

You must hear this a lot within animal-loving communities, but it can never be said enough. Pet stores that sell animals for profit breed them in inhumane ways, and often in inhumane environments. These animals are taken from their homelands and are relocated to areas where they can struggle to adapt to their environments. If you are only after an exotic breed, then owning an animal may not be for you. You can rescue a stray cat yourself, or you can head to the shelter to pick up your new member of the family. Also, adopting from animal shelters will help you keep the feline population in control – so you’ll be getting yourself a new friend on top of doing a favor for the good of the environment.

Cats Are Not Solitary Creatures

There’s this misconception about cats that they’re aloof creatures that just eat and nap on top of a high surface that you can’t reach. And while there’s some truth to this, you’d be surprised to see how needy your cat will be, especially if it’s the only feline in your home. Cats are not solitary creatures, but they do demand their space sometimes. When you bring your new cat back home, it may require some time to adjust to its new environment, so make sure to give it the space it needs while offering it plenty of food and water, as well as its litter box, near its chosen hiding place.

Choosing Litter Brands

All felines, by nature, are clean and tidy animals. You’ll find that they will favor the tidiest spots in your house, and may avoid sleeping on a bed that’s not well-ordered. That said, even though they clean themselves and you don’t need to bathe them, choosing the right litter brand for your feline is one crucial step you need to take for the sake of your cat’s hygiene. The kind of litter you use has a direct impact on your cat’s health. Contrary to popular belief, clumping cat litter is not the most hygienic. In fact, studies have shown that they can be a cause of, or contribute to, the development of UTIs, which can be deadly in felines. Always choose high-quality non-clumping brands when shopping for your cat litter.

Scratching Posts

You may see them all the time at a friend’s house, but are scratching posts really a necessity or just a cat accessory to keep it entertained? They may not be a necessity if you can part with your furniture. If not, you may want to invest in several and place them next to furniture pieces that your cat would be inclined to scratch, such as couches and armchairs. New owners may scold their cat in an attempt to discipline them, but unless you’ve owned a cat before, you probably don’t know that disciplining cats is yet another myth. Your cat may stop doing something in your presence, but that will not stop it from clawing at your expensive loveseat the moment you leave the room. Clawing or kneading is a feline instinct and essential exercise. It keeps their claws trimmed and prevents them from overgrowing and hurting their paws. Instead of scolding your cat, invest in multiple scratching posts.

Territory

Cats are territorial by nature, which is the reason why an adopted dog comes home with a wagging tail, and a cat just hides. A change of terrorist can be very stressful, and even terrifying, for your cat. You’ll need to establish your cat’s territory by placing him in a room where there’s ample food, water, and a box filled with litter. Allow your cat its privacy, and let it explore the surroundings at its own pace. Once your cat has adapted to its new room, it will then begin to satiate its curiosity by exploring outside its safe zone.

Cats are social creatures that require your love, attention, and care. You should always adopt a cat from a shelter, or rescue one yourself. Avoid shopping from pet stores, seeing as breeding in inhumane and ethical to animal lives. To keep your cat clean, and your house tidy, make sure that you invest in a high-quality non-clumping cat litter as well as multiple scratching posts for your cat.