Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to adopt a cat.
Consider where your cat is from to make it easier for you to integrate them into your home. Is she in a shelter, a cage or in a room? Did she have any other cats or was she the only one? Is the environment quiet or noisy? What was her eating habits and where did you sleep?
It can be stressful to try and change all the factors in your cat’s environment at once. You must recognize signs of stress and change her environment slowly to make your cat feel at ease. This method allows you to maintain your cat’s old routine while gradually changing it to yours.
- Preparation Supplies needed to get a new cat
- Prepare to welcome your cat home with these items
- Water and food bowls
Food (To make the transition easier, keep your cat eating the same food as before. You can then gradually change to higher-quality food if necessary.
- Collar with ID Tag
- Cat bed
- Toys for cats
- Cat brush
- Use the same litter for cat litter boxes and cats litter.
- Scratching posts or strips
- Recognizing signs that stress is occurring in your cat
It is likely that your new cat will be stressed at first. Stress can manifest as a decreased appetite, reduced grooming, hiding, lack interest in affection or attention, sleeping in unusual places, and a decreased ability to care for your cat. Stressed cats may seem quieter than usual. This can be hard to spot. Cats that are very stressed are more likely be aggressive or afraidful.
A shelter cat adopted your cat, so this will most likely be your cat’s third home. Although your cat may be happier in your home than at the shelter, it is still stressful to make a change. You should be looking out for signs of stress and make sure they decrease over time. You should consult a behaviorist to ensure that your pet’s stress levels are not decreasing each day.
The environment for your cat
Many cats fear being introduced to a new home. You will also notice a change in the smells and sounds of your home. Your cat should be kept in one room at first. This can be done in your bedroom or living room. You should ensure that your cat has food, water and a litterbox (see below) and that you spend regular time in the room with her so she is not left alone.
You should provide her with several hiding spots. You can hide her in a cardboard box with holes on both sides. A blanket can also be placed inside the bottom. You should provide hiding spots for her on the ground as well as high up. Do not disturb her when she is hiding in her place. Your hiding place should be hers, so she has privacy and can go where she wants.
In her bedroom, place a scratching board or cat tree. You can place her scent on the cat tree, by gently massaging her cheeks with a towel and then rubbing the scratching board with the towel. You will be able to transfer her scent onto the scratching board, increasing her chances of using it.
Allow your cat to adjust to the space and you. If you want to pet your cat, don’t force her to be near you. You can coax your pet to come to you by holding a toy, or sitting next to her food bowl as she eats. When she sees you, and realizes that you are a stranger, she will be able to provide all the same benefits as her former owner. She will quickly warm up to you and be open to your attention.
Once your cat has been comfortable living in the room for three days or more, you can allow her to access the rest of the house. Some cats may need to wait several weeks before they feel comfortable in their own room, and then they can have access to the entire house.
Stress can cause cats to eat less and even stop eating altogether. Once your cat has been brought home, it is vital that he eats regularly and in sufficient amounts. If you can, purchase the same food as the shelter. Try adding a small amount of canned cat food or baby foods to his food if he’s not eating.
If your cat is not eating as much as he was getting at the shelter, gradually change his diet to something you prefer. You should feed your cat only high-quality food. Mix 25 percent of your food and 75 percent from the shelter’s for the first and second day. Give him 50% of each on the third and fourth day. The fifth and sixth day, switch to 75 percent your diet and 25% shelter’s. You can feed your cat 100 percent of your preferred food on the seventh day. You should not change your cat’s diet too quickly. This can lead to upset in his system, including decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or diarrhea. Call your veterinarian immediately if this happens.
You can decide whether to feed your cat twice daily, once daily, or free choice. This means that you don’t have to leave dry food out at any time. Free choice feedings can lead to obesity in cats. It is best to feed your cat twice daily. A food-dispensing toys can be used to give your cat some of his daily ration. Your cat will enjoy “hunting” for food and you can enrich your cat’s life with food-dispensing toys. After two to three weeks, your cat should be settled in your home and ready to start playing with a food-dispensing toys.
Your cat should have a clean, uncovered litter box. You may be able to smell the litter box from your home, but it will not work for your cat. Cats can be very picky and sensitive to odors, including urine and feces. It can be very important to reduce the smell in and around the litter box. To clean the litter box, scoop it out once a day and then empty it completely every two weeks. Use mild soap to clean the litter box. Avoid strong-smelling detergents and ammonia.
Cats are often brought to shelters because they have litter box problems. The above tips can make a difference in whether a cat is house-trained or not. Keep in mind that your cat may not like the smells of the litter box.
Toys for cats
Your cat may enjoy playing with many toys. You cat loves novelty so get several toys and give them a chance to play with them. You can play with the toys together, but don’t expect your cat to take them apart. Give your cat time to explore the toys and give them a chance. Don’t touch your cat’s hands. Your cat will learn that your hands are a toy and it is acceptable to scratch or bite you.
Indoors vs. outdoors
Cat owners have to make a big decision about whether their cat can be outside. Your cat’s lifespan could be cut short by the dangers outside. You could get him poisoned, hit by a vehicle, or attacked by a dog. Many cats love being outside and will miss the stimulation of the natural environment if they’re kept indoors all the time.
You have many options to allow your cat to go outside without putting him at risk. Perches can be placed on windowsills to allow your cat to sit and watch the outside, as well as the sun. You can train your cat to walk on a leash or harness with patience. Then you can take him outside for walks.
You can also buy or build an outdoor enclosure for your cat (often called a catio or cattery). To see what others have done, you can search the Internet by searching “cat enclosures” and “catios”. C & D Pet Products sells prefab catteries. Kittywalk Systems offers many options if building a cattery seems too daunting. Cat Fence-In is another popular option to allow your cat to enjoy the outdoors. This product makes it difficult for cats to climb over standard backyard fencing.
Your cat will be able to integrate into your home successfully if you are aware of signs of stress and take steps to reduce them. Slowly change her environment. These suggestions will work for most cats but not for all cats. Your veterinarian should be contacted if your cat shows signs of stress or is not improving.