Care Tips

10 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before Getting a Cat

Isabel Hartley

When I embarked on the journey of becoming a cat parent, my head was filled with visions of sweet meows and endless cuddle sessions. It turns out, my fantasy skipped a few, let’s call them “learning opportunities,” that all feline guardians come to know.

With fur on every surface and a cat who sometimes decides my keyboard is the perfect spot for a nap, I can’t help but chuckle at my pre-cat owner naivety.

Why did nobody tell me that my cat would have the uncanny ability to tell time, specifically around meal times, better than an atomic clock?

And here I was, thinking that my feline friend would be low maintenance compared to, say, a dog. My cat quickly made me realize that she had her own set of rules and demands, from the precise placement of her litter box to her absolute disdain for closed doors—anywhere, anytime.

It’s a mix of amusing and mildly alarming discoveries that accompany bringing a whiskered companion into your life. Every scratch post rejected in favor of the couch, and each early-morning “wake up human!” meow, has taught me something invaluable.

Sharing these insights feels like passing secret codes to an exclusive club. So without further ado, let’s unravel the mystery of what really goes on when you add a cat to your family tree.

1. The Secret Litter Box Society

Cats gather in a hidden society around a litter box, exchanging secrets. A sign lists "10 things I wish I would have known before getting a cat."

When it comes to feline waste management, welcome to the Secret Litter Box Society, where the uninitiated become the enlightened.

Keep your whiskers perked for the scoop on scoopin’ and the whispers of odor wranglin’.

Scooping Skills 101

Scooping the litter box is a feline housekeeping ballet, and I pirouette with grace. Here’s my daily ritual laid out:

  1. Inspect: Don the detective hat and inspect for clumps.
  2. Scoop: With a sturdy scoop, choreograph the removal of waste.
  3. Dispose: Seal away the evidence in airtight bins or bags.

A consistently clean box is like a four-star loo for my kitty’s dainty paws!

The Art of Odor Control

Conquering odors is my undercover mission in the Secret Litter Box Society. My strategy unfolds thusly:

  1. Choose Wisely: Opt for litter that’s both kitty-paw approved and nose-friendly.
  2. Filters and Plants: A dash of carbon filter action and some token greenery disguise my litter box as just another plant pot.
  3. Regular Cleans: A litter box spa day with soap and water keeps the nostril offense at bay.

Remember, in this society, a fresh sniff is the secret handshake!

2. Feline Finances

A cat surrounded by various financial items such as a piggy bank, money, and budgeting tools, with a thoughtful expression on its face

Let’s talk turkey—err, tuna. Getting a cat is like signing a dotted line that reads “Show me the money!” Check out these budget items that may have you coughing up more than just hairballs.

The Lifetime Subscription to Toys

My home is basically a toy store at this point. Cats need entertainment, and unless you want your precious furniture turned into modern art, those toys aren’t optional. I’ve compiled a list of must-haves:

  • Interactive toys: The ones that really make them jump and do that funny sideways run.
  • Scratching posts: To save your sofa’s life.
  • Laser pointers: Because apparently, that little red dot is the pinnacle of feline excitement.

Culinary Costs: Fancy Feasts

When it comes to fine dining, my cat could give any food critic a run for their money. Here’s a breakdown of what I spend to satisfy my cat’s gourmet palate:

Food TypeAverage Monthly Cost
Dry Food$15 – $30
Wet Food$20 – $40
Treats$5 – $15
Total$40 – $85

Please note: These costs are rough estimates and can vary depending on your cat’s appetite and preferred brand.

3. Space Invasion

A spaceship hovers over a peaceful city, with alien creatures emerging and causing chaos. The city is in disarray as the invaders wreak havoc

When I signed up for cat companionship, I had no clue that my fuzzy friend would become the master of my domain. Here’s the lowdown on how my cat has redefined the concept of personal space in my home.

Goodbye Privacy

Bathroom solitude? Think again. My cat must have read the same espionage novels I did, given her skill at tailing me to the bathroom.

Under the door, a paw of inquiry sneaks in, as if to ask, “Whatcha doing in there without me?”

  • Showering: Be prepared for an audience.
  • Toilet time: Perfect for a staredown from your furry overseer.

Couch Space: The Final Frontier

The couch is no longer mine. I foolishly thought I could claim a spot with decorative pillows, but my cat quickly taught me that these are perfect headrests for her, not barriers.

  • Seating Arrangements: If I leave my spot, it’s gone. She’s faster than light claiming these territories.
  • TV Time: My lap becomes a cat bed. Yes, even during cliffhangers.

4. Claws and Effect

cat destroying sofa

When I signed up for cat parenthood, I underestimated the sharp reality of feline claws. I learned that my furniture and my patience would never quite be the same.

The Sofa Massacre

My cherished sofa quickly became a casualty in a war I didn’t even know I was waging.

Cats have a natural need to scratch to remove the dead outer layer of their claws, mark their territory with scent glands, and stretch their bodies.

To protect my sofa, I invested in scratching posts and pads, strategically placing them near the once-pristine couch. The lesson was clear: redirect, don’t scold.

In an act of desperation, I also tried covering the corners of the sofa —cats’ preferred scratching zones— with double-sided tape. To my cat’s displeasure and my amusement, this tactic turned out to be quite effective.

Purr-anormal Activity

At night, the transformation from lazy furball to hyperactive acrobat would begin.

Little did I know, my cat’s favorite nocturnal activity would be playing ‘cat and mouse’ with my drowsy patience. Toys became an absolute must to save my sanity during the witching hours.

  • Tip: Engage in interactive play before bedtime. It might just exhaust your little night crawler enough to let you catch some precious shut-eye.
  • Note: Accepting that these nighttime escapades are part of my cat’s natural instincts helped me find peace. And earplugs.

5. Caturday Night Furryver

cat toys

Who says only humans can have a ball on the weekends? Cats have their own version of Saturday night fever—which I like to call “Caturday Night Furryver.”

Imagine the scene: catnip toys strewn across the floor, laser pointers darting like disco lights, and your furry friend channeling their inner John Travolta—or should I say, John Catvolta?

Party Planning for Prowlers

When I’m throwing a bash for my whiskered pal, planning is key. I set up a Prowler’s Playground with:

  • Interactive Toys: To keep their hunter instincts entertained.
  • Climbing Towers: Because the higher, the mightier.
  • Snack Station: Featuring a mix of their favorite tempting treats.

Remember to keep the noise level down to avoid overwhelming my little party animal.

Midnight Zoomies

At the stroke of midnight, the real fun starts. I’m talking about the “Midnight Zoomies“—the frenzied dash around the house that turns my quiet night into a feline frenzy. Here’s my midnight checklist:

  1. Clear the Runway: Remove breakables because safety first.
  2. Zoomie Zone: Designate a specific area, like the hallway, to let them sprint without causing chaos.
  3. Post-Zoomie Snuggle: Once they’ve zoomed to their heart’s content, it’s always good to have a cozy bed ready for them to crash.

6. Persistent Purring Pursuits

A cat paws at a book titled "Persistent Purring Pursuits" surrounded by scattered toys and a cozy bed. The cat's contented expression reflects the joy of pet ownership

As a seasoned cat owner, I’ve come to realize that life with a feline friend involves navigating their relentless quests for affection. Be prepared for purring machines that won’t take ‘not now’ for an answer.

Lap Landmines

When I first got my cat, I didn’t realize that my lap was about to become prime real estate. “No vacancy” signs simply don’t work. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Lap Availability: It’s a myth. Open lap? That’s an invitation.
  • Warmth Preference: It’s not just warmth; it’s me. Computers, books, none stand a chance against the allure of a human lap.

Attention Seeker Extraordinaire

Oh, and my cat? The ultimate attention-seeking missile. Notable behaviors include:

  • Early Morning Wake-ups: Who needs an alarm clock when you have a cat?
  • Must-Touch Policy: If I’m within eyesight, I should be within paw’s reach. Always.

7. The Hunt for Red Dot-tober

cat chasing red dot

I swear, my cat thinks the red dot is her arch-nemesis. Every time I power up that laser pointer, it’s as if an epic saga unfolds right in my living room.

Laser Pointer League

Who knew that a tiny red dot could transform my lazy furball into an agile ninja? This Laser Pointer League isn’t for the faint-hearted. It has:

  • Intensity Level: Off-the-charts. Think Olympic sprinter at the sound of the starting pistol.
  • Equipment Needed: One standard laser pointer. Batteries must be able to withstand a marathon session.
  • My Pro Tip: Avoid pointing the laser directly at reflective surfaces, unless you fancy a mini rave.

Feather Wand Frenzy

Now, for a change of pace, the Feather Wand Frenzy takes the chase to a more tangible realm. The particulars:

  • Activity Gauge: From zen to zoomies. It starts out all graceful ballet but ends up as a mosh pit.
  • Wand Specifications: A sturdy stick with a feathery lure that can endure the mighty clutches of a fierce predator.
  • My Sage Advice: Keep the acrobatics low to prevent any aerial disasters involving your favorite vase.

8. The Shedding Seasons

A cat lounges in a cozy shed, surrounded by falling leaves and changing seasons. Nearby, a list of "10 things I wish I would have known before getting a cat" lies on a table

If you think the changing seasons are just about swapping your wardrobe, owning a cat will offer a furry perspective. Twice a year, my home turns into a fluff-filled wonderland, demanding strategic combat against the cascade of hair.

Fur Tornadoes

During spring and fall, my cat decides to “redecorate” my living space with a generous layer of fur. It’s as if a fur tornado swept through each room. The couch, curtains, and even my morning coffee, find themselves graced with this seasonal confetti.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Spring: As temperatures rise, cats shed their heavy winter coats. Prepare for lighter fluff but in larger quantities.
  • Fall: The shedding is denser, as your cat is making room for their winter coat.

Lint Roller Lifestyle

My lint rollers deserve a place on the mantel. They’re not just a tool; they’re a lifestyle for every cat owner during shedding seasons. I keep one in every room, car, and even my office drawer. Embrace the lint roller life with these tips:

  • Post-Laundry Precautions: Roll your clothes immediately after they come out of the dryer to catch any hair that tag-teamed with your socks.
  • Furniture First Aid: Invest in heavy-duty lint rollers for furniture—regular ones may not stand a chance against your sofa-turned-cat-hair-canvas.

9. Doctor Paws and the Vet Adventures

Doctor Paws examines a curious cat in a cozy vet office. The room is filled with colorful pet toys and a friendly vet ready to help

Embarking on the vet visit journey with your feline can be more epic than the latest blockbuster. Trust me, it’s an adventure that’ll test your will and patience.

Carrier Quest

I quickly learned that convincing my cat to enter a carrier is a feat worthy of a medal. Firstly, there’s the stealth approach: sneaking the carrier out from its dusty corner without any feline espionage detecting you. Then, there’s the cozy-up tactic, where I make the carrier look like the prime lounging spot with plush blankets. Alas, my cat has legendary resistance to mind tricks.

  • Strategy One: The Classic Comfort – Turn the carrier into a cozy retreat.
    • Throw in favorite blanket.
    • Sprinkle catnip.
  • Strategy Two: The Sneak Attack – Present the carrier like it has always been part of the living room décor.
    • Nonchalant placement (casual is key).
    • Strategic retreat (hide and watch).

Temperature Tales

Ah, the first time I learned about taking my cat’s temperature at the vet was an educational spectacle. You’d think it involved high-tech, non-invasive gadgets – nope, not at all. Let’s just say it’s a rather personal experience for Doctor Paws. Their face tells you everything you need to know about the betrayal they feel. But don’t worry, a peace offering of treats post-procedure will be your olive branch.

10. The Fur-midable Responsibility

A fluffy cat sits on a cozy chair surrounded by toys and a scratching post. Sunlight streams through a window, casting warm shadows on the floor

Adopting a cat comes with more twists and turns than a mystery novel at a roller derby. Let’s take a purr-sonal look at the paws-ible daily challenges.

The Early Morning Meower

Think of your cat as your personal furry alarm clock that doesn’t come with a snooze button. Every morning, my feline friend decides it’s the prime time to serenade me with “meow-sic” — their way of saying, “Rise and shine, human! My breakfast won’t serve itself.” I’ve learned that keeping a consistent feeding schedule can satisfy their hunger and might buy you a few extra minutes of sleep.

Kitty Training Bootcamp

Training a cat? More like negotiating with a whiskered entrepreneur.

Cats aren’t known for their obedience, but with patience and treats, you can teach them house rules.

I’ve armed myself with:

  • A sturdy scratching post: To save my furniture from looking like a shredded tissue experiment.
  • Toys galore: Keeping their predatory instincts entertained and away from my toes.

Remember, your cat’s behavior is a reflection of the care and training you provide.

Feisty felines can be nudged towards good habits with love and persistence.