Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

5 Things You Should Be Aware of Before Adopting a Cat

Adopting an animal for the first time can be daunting, especially if it’s by yourself. I adopted two cats last year, a tortoiseshell named Ahsoka and a siamese-lynx named Aero, and here are some things and tips I learned to make your pet adoption process less stressful!

Kittens NEED Attention!

Not a surprising fact, but kittens have a ton of energy. One minute they’re sleeping for hours a day, and the next, they’re jumping on you at 3 am and will stay like that until the afternoon. I would restrain from getting a kitten if you’re going to school or working every day and out for hours at a time, or they’ll destroy your belongings out of boredom. If you’re not with them for a few hours a day, kittens are naughty and will play with something, whether your couch, your curtains or find great hiding spots. If you’re not home for that long, consider adopting an older cat who doesn’t mind their owner being gone for a while or two cats so they can keep themselves busy. 

Finding A Litter and Litter Box

I’ve gone through three different litter boxes and four brands or types of litter throughout my seven months of owning two cats. Not only does it have to work for your cat, but it must work for you. Litter is messy, and you may find yourself vacuuming or sweeping every day. Here are my reviews:

  • Crystal litter is dust-free and is safe if ingested by your cat or any other animal. But it doesn’t clump your cat’s poop, which makes the smell unbearable if you have an open hole on top of the litter box like I do instead of a swinging door-only litter box.
  • Wood pellets. Too annoying to clean, especially in an apartment. They also don’t clump your cat’s poop but turn their pee into sawdust which is fantastic.
  • The best litter is natural and best at clumping with minimal smell and lack of silica dust! 
  • For litter boxes, I’ve found that the ones with holes on top for your cat to exit and enter are the easiest for cleaning and can look nice aesthetically. Never get an open litter box with no walls, cats kick their litter around, and you’ll find yourself cleaning more than you should be. A cat mat is also a must for their dirty paws.

I recommend getting a litter box like this one for easy cleanup!

Kitten Proofing Your Space

Make sure to proof your apartment or house like you would if you had a baby. Cats can find out how to open doors and closets. My cats know where their food is and will often open the pantry closet and bite their food bag, so I’ve put their food in clear cereal bins so they can’t bite through it. One of them likes to bite cabinet corners (there goes my deposit), so I buy small hard dog toys for them to chew on and covers for the corner of the cabinets that you can buy on Amazon. If you’re fond of your furniture, add multiple items around your house for your cats to scratch on.

Buy in Bulk

Buying food and litter in bulk will help you save some money. Cat food and litter can be expensive, and you don’t want to find yourself buying their essentials every two weeks. Ideally, you should have enough wet food, dry food and litter to last you a month.

Vet Visits

A trip to your vet can be expensive but essential. First-time pet owners may not be aware of all the vaccinations their pet needs, including yearly vaccines and spaying or neutering your cat. Many shelters or foster programs will have already done this, but if you save a cat from the street, you must get them spayed or neutered. I would also advise refraining from adopting if you can’t afford it. The sad reality is that anything can happen anytime, and you must be prepared to take on the financial burden of getting the help your cat deserves. Animals are expensive! Cats especially need an annual exam and a FELV Vaccine (to help prevent feline Leukemia) if your cat goes outside or lives with another cat.

I hope these tips help you on your journey to cat parenthood!

Kristabel (She/They) is a senior studying English Literature and History at the University of Central Florida. They love classic horror movies, cuddling with cats Ahsoka and Aero, playing horror games on their PC, and reading anything from new adult fiction to literature classics! Instagram- notkristabel