You look at the illegally tiny fuzzball looking around his new home, a mix of curiosity and caution plastered on her face as he tentatively sniffs your sweat-filled trainers (why, he keeps rubbing her cheeks over them! Help has my cat gone mad), the lumpy velveteen green couch that’s survived three moves, four breakups, and an infinite amount of munchies on Netflix nights (he’s standing on tippy toes and scratching the couch, guess he approves of it, too). He tries to jump on the couch for further investigation, only to fall short and tumble back onto the floor, his paws flailing in the air as he falls in disgrace. (Have I got a defective kitty? I thought cats could jump!)
Such questions are normal with first-time cat owners. After all, you want your kitty to be happy and healthy, but it’s all new to you. This guide will alleviate your concerns, help him adapt quickly to your new home, and settle in as a family member.
1. Toys, Toys, Toys
Before bringing your cat home, purchase a variety of cat toys for your cat, and scatter them throughout the apartment. Doing so ensures the cat will sniff them all with half-hearted curiosity, give you your first look of “you have disappointed me, human,” and proceed to bat and chase after that coffee stained, crumpled receipt from Starbucks that took up residence in the corner of your living room 3 weeks ago. Cat 1, receipt, 0.
2. Play With Your Cat Before Bedtime
Cat behavioral expert Jackson Galaxy from Animal Planet advise playing with cats for 15 to 20 minutes, about one and a half hours before bed to tire them out, which allows you to get a good night’s rest, undisturbed. However, as all cat owners know from battle-hardened experience, this buys you, at best, an hour or two of sleep, at which point your cat’s zoomies clock resets, and he is ready to go again.
Between the times of 1 am to 5 am, you might notice indicators of zoomies reset by: surround sounds of frenzied dashing and leaps at imaginary enemies coupled with odd chirps and trills, scrabbling claws running across hardwood floors bouncing off the apartment walls, and the use of your body as an obstacle course while he trains for Cat Olympics. Strangely, for a creature so nimble and agile, he would often miss and step all over your body obstacle course during training but recovers her nimbleness once you are awake.
3. Learn to Ignore Your Cat for a Good Night’s Sleep
If the previous advice doesn’t work and you do not wish to be disturbed during sleep, veterinarians recommend that you shut the bedroom door and ignore the loud, piteous cries and frantic scratching outside your door when your cat realizes there’s a closed-door preventing entry. Hold firm and ignore him. Doing so regularly ensures your neighbors hear the sounds of torture emanating from your apartment, conversations coming to an abrupt halt when you walk past them on your way to work, and your Surprised Pikachu face when you turn up at your neighbor’s annual Fourth of July potluck with your famous Mac ‘n’ Cheese, only to find out you weren’t invited this year.
4. Have a Designated Sleeping Spot for Them
If your cat likes to sleep in your bed, use aids – such as a blanket, to indicate that is their designated spot on the bed. However, the so-called experts have never consulted a cat on such matters because, as any well-mannered cat knows from The Art of Catting: Proper Etiquette for Cats, that spot is an indicator that it’s your spot; they should respect your space and take their rightful place in the center of the bed. After all, humans seem to like to confine themselves in small and tight things, judging from the fashion trends popularized by celebrities and fashion influencers.
5. Preparations Before a Bath Minimizes Stress
Bathing cats can be stressful for both kitty and first-time cat owners. Experts advise wearing rubber gloves to prevent scratching and fill a sink with 2-3 inches of lukewarm water for their bath. Using a small sink instead of a shower stall signals to your cat that this dramatically increases their chances of freedom. The gloves also indicate that your upper arms, torso, face, and legs are an empty canvas to unleash the full expression of their inner Jackson Pollock.
If all else fails, look to your
furry overlord cat for cues, and follow the cardinal rule: Do As He Commands.