Very new player, very many questions

Makeshift lockpicks can be made from scrap metal with any hammering:1 item. Smash a locker and you get both, since the chunk of steel has a bit of hammering.
Make a bunch of them, they tend to break. It takes a while to get a door open, but is virtually silent, whereas the crowbar makes a CRUNCH that may draw zombies that are already close. Lockpicking also slowly levels mechanics, which is nice.

Don’t want to echo any of the same ideas as other people around here so I’ll give you some things I do.
1.Looking through bushes near a forest is a great way to get emergency food. Also ant colonies.
2. Materials are easy to get when you break and disassemble stuff. Crashing a car can get you spare parts if you don’t have tools. Also a good way of breaking into a gun store.
3. Starting out, play it safe and try to keep at range. The knife spear is great for this as you can attack using (f) to attack 2 tiles away. Personally I enjoy using vehicles to clear out towns. A vehicle is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

If you have a high cooking skill cat food is a good food for preservation(can’t go off) and only needs water and meat.

Well, that shouldn’t be.

If it’s just water and meat it should have a spoil time. And it should be basically one day.

don’t forget that lots of handy supplies can be gotten early game by just (s)mashing all the things you don’t have tools to dissemble.

Pretty standard starting advice for LMOE shelter is to go out and grab a rock, smash a locker to get a pipe, make a makeshift crowbar, then use it to smash basically everything you don’t need and build everything you can out of the scraps.

The fact you were supposed to disassemble and then make your own tools was something I was ignorant of at the beginning. Once I understood how to get early game equipment, and how to raid at night, it got easier.