7 things I didn’t know as a first-time cat mum

Some of these might be surprising. Some aren’t exactly head-scratchers.

Either way, this post serves as a journal documenting my first few puzzling cat mum moments with Mateo, rather than an informative guide. So please, reserve your judgements.

cat eating meatball

1. Cats can’t eat most human foods.

Anyone more familiar with what dogs can consume might have the impression that the same goes for their feline counterparts. However, there’s an extensive list of foods that are highly cat-unfriendly, and right at the top are onion and garlic – the two ingredients present in essentially all cooking.

cat play robot toy

2. Spray bottles work like a dream.

Training a cat is not the easiest task, to say the least. Pushing your cat away when it wants in on your garlic-infested food isn’t going to stop it from finding ways to sneak a bite. I find that the most effective disciplinary tool is none other than the spray bottle.

I know. Spray bottle. Sounds... frightening?

But for some reason, it has an enigmatic effect on our fur babies, and I’m using that to my advantage.

cat carried

3. They can be so. SO. clingy.

Or as my good friend Keith puts it, “很会粘着人” (like to stick to people).

More often than not, Mateo will join me at the study table during the day time while I’m working. He’ll even nap in the uncomfortable little corner for hours just to keep me company. But the moment I get up, even just for a minute-long toilet break, he’ll follow right along and wait for me on the other side of the door.

4. They sleep wherever they want to.

This means, even if you prepare a luxurious pet bed, they might end up choosing the foot of your bed as their designated nap spot. So you might want to hold off on the fancy $103 pet bed.

5. Cats are easier to toilet train than dogs.

Fortunately, this is a point that bodes well in my favour. Having witnessed such issues with my peers and their newly adopted pets, I had worries about having to clean up after Mateo.

But when the time came, Mateo utilised his litter box flawlessly, and I was undoubtedly jumping for joy, but simultaneously thinking to myself, “Something is wrong. This is too easy.”

6. Cats get the zoomies, too!

Yup, I was right. Lurking around the corner was a very unwelcome case of the zoomies that every pet owner would be ever so acquainted with.

Not going to lie; when I first witnessed Mateo run around like he was on some crazed sugar rush, I thought he’d seen something. As it turns out, zoomies are nothing serious – they are simply little bursts of pent-up energy and can be quickly fixed with 20 minutes of playtime.

However, they are a whole lot less pleasant than they sound when they hit at 2:13am after you’ve just tucked yourself into bed. As such, scheduling playtime during the day, rather than as and when it hits would be wise.

7. You have to cut your cat’s nails.

I know this seems like a no-brainer to the average cat owner. But alas, I am not the average cat owner.

I just always assumed that this is precisely what those scratch posts are for! Don’t worry guys, Mateo’s nails get a weekly trim now.