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What New Cat Parents Need to Know

Updated on August 22, 2015

Each year, hundreds of adorable kittens are given back to the shelter. These givebacks occur because some owners are unprepared for having a cat in their homes. They didn’t know what to expect when they first took home their kittens. If you have always been a dog owner or are new to pets in general, there are some things that you need to know before becoming a parent to a new feline friend.

All Cats are Not Created Equal

There are differences between cats and dogs. And, there are differences between cats. Each cat has a unique personality. You can’t expect one cat to act like another cat. So, it is best to throw all expectations out the window. There are typical behaviors for cats. But, some cats are going to be atypical and do their own thing.



Cats do have certain attitudes that are common in most cats, but not necessary all cats. Some of these cattitudes are:

  • Not coming when called. Cats know their names. Some are very attentive and come when called. Most do not. Most cats might pay attention to you on their own time schedules. They bug you when you working on your computer or trying to read the newspaper. But, when you call them and want to play then that is when they decide to ignore you.
  • Climbers. Most cats are natural climbers. Especially, the young ones. They love to jump on things and climb over things. Sometimes they will knock things down. They like to watch things fall. There are things you can do to deter them such as spraying them with water. Or you can just let them be. As they get older, they will climb less.
  • Shyness. Most cats are rather shy with strangers, especially those who live as the only cat in the household. They might take a while to get used to new people and places. They like to run under the bed and hide when faced with something or someone new. They usually come out on their own time.
  • Meows. Meows are for you people. They talk to you and communicate to you with meows. Some cats meow a lot such as when they want to eat or when they want you to pay attention to them. Other cats are quiet and hardly ever meow. There are also breeds of cats that talk more than others.
  • Night Owls. Cats like to stay up all night and sleep all day. Some are notorious for running around the house at top speeds at 3am. They might do all kinds of investigating and exploring while you are sound asleep. Over time, both you and your cat will get used to a schedule and each other.
  • Love. Most cats show love for their human companions. Some cats are subtler at showing their love than others. Some cats love to cuddle and cover you with licks. Some show their love from a distance and just give you a slow blink or soft head butt to your hand. Love is love. Accept it and enjoy.


Just the Facts

There are certain facts that you need to know as a new cat parent.

  • Meat eater. Your cat is a meat eater and should be fed an all meat diet. Cats can get real sick if they don’t get enough meat in their diets.
  • Water. Most cats don’t like to drink a lot of water. Naturally, cats would get liquids from their fresh kills. This fact is why canned food is a good idea. Canned food has the water to keep your cat hydrated.
  • Clean Litter. Yes, the litter box is convenient. You don’t ever have to go out in the rain to walk your cat. They will use the litter box. But, you need to keep your cat’s litter box clean and scoop out the clumps every day. Cats like it clean.
  • Licking. Speaking of clean, cats lick themselves often to keep clean and to comfort themselves. They get hairballs from licking and will cough them up on your carpet, your couch and everywhere else. It is normal. There are things you can do if they become a big problem. Normally, it is just an occasional hairball and not a daily issue.
  • Scratching. Cats like to scratch on things like your couch or chair or even the corner of your bed. You can do things to deter them – spray bottle, double-sided sticky tape. What works best is getting them their own scratch boards or posts. Most cats like cardboard and would happily scratch on the cardboard.

Final Words

Cats are great companions that can provide you with many years of joy. The best times are spent getting to know your new feline friends and all the different and unique aspects of their personalities. As with any new pet, there is a period of adjustment. You need to throw your expectations out the window and just go with the flow. Just understanding a little about cats can help you have patience during this “getting to know you" phrase and help you and your cat bond.

© 2015 truthfornow


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    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 2 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I feel bad for all the cats that get abandoned at the shelters because people don't understand how to deal with their cats. They can be independent and very head strong.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Every prospective cat owner meds to read what you wrote, as it really says it all.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Well said - cats definitely have unique personalities - great to have around the place and this gives good advice to new cat parents. Lovely pics...

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      I love your hub, i have two cats, a young male and old female. The female is very clise to me and understand my instructions, wait, out, sleeping.. The young one is a brat, does everything opposite

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      There is some very useful advice in this hub. Thanks for sharing it. Your cat photos are lovely!