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WHAT'S

NEXT?!

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SO YOU'RE ADOPTING A CAT...NOW WHAT?!

You want to be prepared!

Help him/her adapt easily by following these guidelines:

 

Before bringing your new cat home…

Cats are particularly sensitive to new surroundings and some tend to hide under a bed or in a closet for days or even weeks, until they are more comfortable. Cats are often territorial, and coming into a new home leaves them feeling really uneasy, there’s all that unexplored space!

  1. Provide a small area he can call his own for the first few days or weeks. A bathroom or laundry room works well. Furnish the room with cat amenities, such as food, water and a litter box. You’ll want to spend time with your cat, so make sure there’s a comfortable place for you to sit as well.

  2. Fill a litter box with one or two inches of litter and place it in his room where he can use it undisturbed. After all, everyone deserves some privacy when pottying, that will help with litter box aversion.

  3. Set up a feeding station with food and water bowls. Locate it away from the litter box.

  4. Provide his/her own little safe haven. If he came home in a cat carrier, that might be a good choice. If you prefer, you can buy a covered cat bed at a pet supply store, or get creative and create one out of a cardboard box. In either case, make sure the space is big enough for the cat to stand up and turn around in.

  5. A cat’s claws need to be worn down, and they do this by scratching on things. Since you prefer that it not be your furniture, provide your cat with an acceptable scratching place.

  6. Look at your house with a curious cat’s eye view for its climbing and exploring potential. When your cat is acclimated to your home, you may be surprised to find him on top of the upper kitchen cabinets, so make sure there’s nothing on display there or on other high shelves that can be damaged or knocked off. If possible, buy a cat tree for your new family member. Cats like to survey their territory, so a high perch is often a favored resting place.

  7. Look for holes or registers that leave duct work accessible and cover them up. A kitten can easily slither into one of these. You won’t want firemen in the house, jack hammering the concrete floor to extract your cat.

  8. Learn how to properly introduce your cat to other pets. Keep her door closed and don’t let your other pet race in unexpectedly.

 

First Day:

Now, you are ready for your cat’s homecoming. He/She has seen a lot of excitement, so…

  1. Take her directly to her new room. (Make sure the toilet lid is down, if she’s to adjust in your bathroom.) Ideally, you would restrict her exposure to the whole family, but naturally, everyone is going to want to see her. Remind them of the ground rules you’ve set up.

  2. Sit on the floor and let her come to you. Don’t force her. Just let her get acquainted on her own time. If she doesn’t approach, leave her alone and try again later. Some cats are particularly frightened, and she may retreat to her hidey hole and not come out when you’re around at all. She may only come out at night when the house is quiet. Give her time.

  3. Your newly adopted cat may not eat much or at all at first. It’s best to give your cat the same food she had at the shelter or in her foster home, at least at first. Keeping some things familiar will make her feel more secure. Be sure to change her water frequently and make sure that she is drinking. If your cat hasn’t eaten for a few days, call your vet to ask for advice.

 

Following Weeks:

It may take your cat a week or two to adjust. Be patient.

Within a week of being adopted

  1. Take your newly adopted cat for her first wellness visit with a veterinarian. If you have a record of immunizations from the shelter, take it with you.

As your cat adjusts

  1.  She’ll want to start to explore outside her safe haven. Make sure other pets or family members won’t startle her while she gradually expands her territory. She may be ready to play, so you can furnish some toys. Many cats like feather wands from the pet supply store, but homemade toys are often favored. A wad of tissue paper to bat around or a paper bag to hide in can be fun.

 

Congratulations! If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to having a well-adjusted feline family member.