Adopting A Cat For The First Time? (Part 1 Of 2)

Coming home to a furry friend to play and cuddle with is every cat lover’s dream. But playing with them and actually taking care of them are two totally different things. There are a lot of responsibilities that come with adopting a pet. But with advice and guidance from actual cat owners, you should be in good hands.

A picture of a cat sleeping so soundly on its sleeping couch.
Taking care of a cat requires you to pay attention to their needs, wants, health and moods.
Image by KatinkavomWolfenmond from Pixabay

How It All Began

On February 2020, I received a message from my friend in Penang, asking if I was still looking for a cat. She said that her friend was looking for someone to adopt a female British Shorthair kitten that was about three months old. She sent me a photo of the kitten and I fell in love with her immediately. I didn’t want to let this opportunity slip by so I did everything I could to convince my parents to let me own a pet. The gender of the cat doesn’t matter to me but at the time, my friend informed me that it is a female.

Cat Care 101: The first picture that Atiqah's friend send of Abu
My new cat, at about three months old, still in Penang, waiting for me to bring her home.

Preparing For The Cat’s Arrival

Once my parents gave me the green light to adopt the cat, the next step was to bring her home. I had planned to drive up to Penang and pick her up, but my work schedule got in the way. My friend offered to drive to Kuala Lumpur to send her here, but she had other plans at the very last minute. Thus, I resorted to using a delivery service for pets called Pet Taxi Malaysia. Once I set up the date for my cat’s transport arrangement, I did what everyone would do when they get a pet – choosing a name for it. Luna was the name that I thought was perfect for her.

1. Cat Care Supply List

Getting all of the supplies for your new furry friend is so important before it even arrives is to avoid any panicking. I asked my mum who had already owned a cat for five years, she emphasised on getting the essentials first:

  • Litter box, litter and litter scoop
  • Dry food for kitten
  • Water bowl, food bowl
  • Wet food for kitten (a variety to see which one it might like, but don’t buy too much at first)
  • Some toys to keep them entertained
  • Treats (to entice it to come closer to you)
Atiqah's two little sibblings with my mum's cat, Cumi during Hari Raya.
This picture was taken in Saudi Arabia where my parents and my two younger siblings are currently staying in. The little fur-ball there is Cumi (pronounced Shuu-mee), my mum’s cat, who is adored by everyone in the family.

So I went to the nearest pet supply shop, Pets Value Mart Melawati, taking into consideration of what my mum advised. The store had almost everything that I needed, and the shopping was a breeze with one of the staff’s help. He gave lots of product recommendations as well as good advice. “The cat will surely be terrified at first so give it a few days to adapt.”

Cat Care: Welcoming Your New Furry Friend Home

It was D-Day, the day Luna was coming home from Penang. Imagine trying to keep track of my cat’s whereabouts, informing my friend about the driver, and letting my sister know that the driver has arrived while I was working in the office.

Cat Care 101: A driver from Pet Taxi Malaysia coming to pick up Abu from Penang to go to Kuala Lumpur
The moment when the driver from Pet Taxi Malaysia came to pick up Luna from my friend’s house in Penang to Kuala Lumpur.

1. Give It Space And Don’t Chase After It

I drove home after work with my heart literally beating out of my chest. When I reached home, my sister told me that it had ran out towards the curtain in the living room. Worried that she would get injured or stuck, we had to chase her to the back room where her temporary space was prepared. Chasing her was a mistake since this made her go into hiding under a shelve at the back room. I did everything I could to get her out but she wasn’t giving in. But after a few hours of waiting, she finally came out with the most adorable look I’ve ever seen!

Cat Care 101: Abu finally coming out of his hiding to reveal his cute face to Atiqah.
The first night with Luna, which took hours of calling out to lure her out of the back room.

2. Giving My Cat Affection

The next day, I decided to try to pet her. I was so eager to pet her so I sat down right in front of her on the floor and slowly inched towards to her. When she didn’t budge, I slowly held out my hand in front of her to see her reaction. At first, she growled softly at me which hinted to me that she didn’t like it. So I backed my hand away and tried again after a few seconds.

During this whole time, I was on FaceTime call with my mum. My mum saw Luna and told me it is a male. That was the moment when I carried him to my lap and learnt that Luna is indeed a male. But that whole plot twist didn’t affect me at all since I was finally petting her… or rather him. I was laughing the whole time thinking that maybe he hated us calling him “Luna“. My dad became the life saviour for suggesting the name Abu and it suits him so well.

Cat Care 101: Atiqah trying to move closer to Abu in attempt to pet him
Moving slowly towards Abu, trying to pet him as he cautiously eyeing me for any suspicious behaviour.

3. Making Sure It Eats And Poops!

My mum advised me that if I wanted to let him out to the other parts of the house, I need to make sure that Abu knows where his litter is. To confirm that, he has to either pee or poop in his litter box. And I noticed that on the first day, he didn’t eat any food from his food bowl. I came home from work with lots of worries. But was soon relieved to find out that he had his first poop in his litter box! Never would I have thought that there would come a day when I would get excited over a cat’s first poop.

Atiqah's first witness of Abu eating his meal.
The moment when I witnessed Abu taking his meal. My worries disappeared when I saw for myself that he’s eating.

Letting It Explore Around The House

The final step to welcoming your furry friend is to let it explore the rest of the house. Abu‘s first exploration was at four in the morning due to me not being able to sleep from his constant meowing. He went into every room, sniffing around and getting familiar with his new home.

Atiqah's cat, Abu, sitting in front of the window, enjoying the sun rise view with his shadow reflecting on the floor tiles.
It was early morning when the sun had risen up and Abu was sitting right in front of the window with his silhouette reflecting on the tiles.

In the next part, we will share about Abu’s first visit to the vet, leaving him home alone and keeping his mood in check. In the meantime, if you love dogs and would like to adopt one, do check out a similar story by Hayley Lim, in Shelter Dogs Only Want Some Compassion and Love

About Atiqah GHAZALI

Grew up overseas in a melting pot of global culture to expat parents, Atiqah is well read, and expresses herself best through writing, art and photography. Architect by qualification, but makes a living as an interior designer.

One Reply to “Adopting A Cat For The First Time? (Part 1 Of 2)”

  1. Pingback: Cat Care: Abu's Finally Settling In, What's Next? (Part 2 Of 2) - Espoletta

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