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Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting a Cat

When you get your own apartment after living in college dorms, the possibilities of what you can have are endless. For me, the first thing I considered getting was a cat. Growing up with cats all my life, I thought that it would be totally easy in regards to what I should do. However, this was not the case. In this article I will give you some pointers on what I wish I knew before getting a cat in my tiny college apartment. 

1. Vets

Making sure your pet is up to date with microchips, shots, and yearly checkups are the most important thing you can do as a pet owner as you want to ensure a long and healthy life for your furry friend. Instead of picking the closest vet to where you live, make sure you do your research in regards to pricing and average customer reviews to make sure the vet you assign to your pet is up to your standards.

2. Food Choices

The one thing I definitely didn’t start doing when I first got my cat but one thing I take into consideration every time I go shopping is my cat's food. Your pet's food is another thing that is very important in that it will help dictate how healthy and long they’ll live. However, pet food is different based on the size, breed, and type of animal you have. For example, dogs should have some grain in their food while cats should avoid grain as it can cause fatty liver. Overall, the best thing you can do when buying cat food is to look at the first five ingredients. If you can't pronounce it or see the word “by-product,” it's most likely bad for your cat. This is one of my favorite links I use when buying and comparing cat food. They have an unbiased coding system of pet food that breaks down nutrition and ingredient quality: https://allaboutcats.com.

3. Types of litter and boxes

While most people overlook this step when getting their furry friend, it is actually one of the most important things when thinking about your pet’s happiness. When talking about litter, there are many different types of litter that you can explore. For example, there is crystal litter (think of PrettyLitter), clay litter, and pellets. Researching the types of litter that will make your pet happy and experimenting with different forms of litter is crucial. Also, hen buying litter and when living in apartments that are carpeted, you might also want to consider mess and clean up as well. If you don’t have a secluded space for your cat’s litter box to contain the clay or crystals, then you might want to consider pellets such as the Breeze Cat System that comes with super absorbent pee pads and refillable litter that makes for a mess free cleanup everytime.

4. toys

This step is very self explanatory. Cats need toys to have proper stimulation and kick in their natural predatory instincts. Cat toys can be found at any store and online sites such as Chewy or Amazon. While every cat is different in terms of what they play with, one of the best things to get your cats are automatic lasers for hours of play time, toys with feathers to simulate prey, and anything with catnip if you want to see your cat have the zoomies.

5. cat scratchers and cat trees

Cat scratchers are one of the most functional things you can do for your cat and your furniture. By allowing your cat to have a designated scratching area to sharpen their claws, you can avoid the never ending loop of destroyed furniture. Through a little training and reinforcement, your cat will soon learn to leave the furniture alone and stick to the cat scratcher. 

Cat Trees are another thing that can be added to your home that will increase the happiness of your pet and your furniture. If you want to avoid cat hair landing on your chairs or couches, opt for a tall cat tree where your pet can sit at the top and look out a window or sleep comfortably up high. Cats love to sit up high, so the taller the cat tree the better! You may also get a cat tree that includes twine to act as a cat scratcher as well as different toys that your cat can play with as well. Cat trees are also perfect for multi-cat homes as it will allow the cats quick escape as well as alone time from the others.

Thank you so much for reading my article about what I wish I knew before getting a cat. I hope you enjoyed this article and incorporate some of my advice into your apartment if you are deciding to get a cat!

Lauren Welch is a junior at Michigan State University studying Political Science pre-law with a minor in Law, Justice, and Public Policy and Creative Writing. Lauren Welch is currently the secretary for the Michigan State University chapter and loves to write articles that relate to the college experience and tips on how to survive college in the most fun way. You can reach her through email at welchla3@msu.edu
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