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5 Things I Wished I Knew Before Getting a Cat

Since I adopted Zeus, a mixed breed puppy from a local shelter, I took an interest in the lives of stray dogs and the adoption process.

Carajillo, my first cat, one year old

Carajillo, my first cat, one year old

Cats can be pretty intimidating for a new member of the feline-loving community. They have a reputation for being temperamental and cold, which can dissuade many. They are also known for their claws and are quick to draw them out if something is not pleasant for them.

If you are thinking about getting a cat as your new companion, there are a few things you should know about this brilliant but complex animal.

1. They are affectionate in their own way

If you are used to the enthusiastic welcome of a dog, a cat’s receiving might seem cold and indifferent. However, chances are that your cat is expressing his love in ways you are not detecting. Rubbing himself against your body, softly meowing or even massaging you are gently gestures you should look for.

2. Get your hands out of the way

When cats are little, they tend to bite and scratch the hands of anyone around them. While it can be cute watching a kitten chew on your thumb, this conduct can soon become a problem if you let it carry on.

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Kittens grow up fast and once they learn to use your hands as a toy, is hard to snap them out of that habit. The best thing you can do is to correct this behavior when they are young.

Carajillo is a very active, playful cat. He can come off as aggressive to newcomers into the feline world

Carajillo is a very active, playful cat. He can come off as aggressive to newcomers into the feline world

3. Cats are natural explorers, but that doesn’t mean they should roam free

There is a common belief that cats are meant to explore the outside world to follow their instincts. However, letting them out unsupervised can lead to accidents or diseases and it is best avoided. It is also punishable by law in certain cities.

Neutering cats highly reduces their urge to be let outside and it also eradicates some undesired behaviors like marking or fighting. Making the interior of your house an active and stimulating environment for your feline friend will also diminish his eagerness to escape.

4. Observe your cat closely before acquiring any toy or product

If you buy any toy for a dog, there is a high chance that he will at least fetch it or chew on it for a while. Cats on the other side will ignore any item that is not of their liking. Try out different textures and sounds to find out what your cat likes, especially before spending money on a new toy.

Catnip-infused toys are mostly an instant hit. Other cats prefer hunting toys, like canes with feathered or furry edges. Sounds and texture are especially important when you choose the right toy for your pet.

5. Cats like to climb a lot

While some dogs are natural jumpers, cats are more inclined to climb. That means that any valuable object or forbidden snack must be carefully guarded since placing them on higher grounds will not deter any determined cat. You can channel this instinct with a high cat tower or cat shelves, creating an elevated route for your feline companion.

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