Welcoming a new cat or kitten into your home is an exciting event. However, as with any new experience, prepping your home for your new furry family member can be daunting. Now is the peak season for finding kittens and adult cats available for adoption as it is the peak of the kitten season. And of course there are always wonderful adult and older cats all year round in need of an forever home.
Cats make excellent pets, especially those who live in apartments or other areas with limited green space that would be needed for a dog. Cats are also an excellent option for people with limited mobility who need company. If you’re considering opening up your home to a new cat, here are some tips to make the transition easier – for both you and her.
1. Prepare your home in advance
Before you pick up your new cat or kitten, make sure you have everything you need with the proper supplies. Here’s a quick checklist of things to do and buy:
• Crate or transport box to bring your new cat friend home safely
• Food bowl and suitable food for your kitten or adult cat
• Water bowl
• Quiet area for placing food and water
• Litter box, litter box and litter (if you have more than one cat, provide one box for each cat so they have enough space)
• Cats are very curious, so remove any breakable items from shelves or tables that cats may access
• Make sure there are no ducts, HVAC registers, or other dangerous holes – or cover them up.
2. Select a “start room”
When introducing your cat to their new home for the first time, choose a room to isolate them for a few days so they can slowly get used to the new sights, sounds, and smells of your home. It should be the same room where your litter box is kept so that they know this place from the get-go. Make sure you provide your new furry friend with clean water and food.
After a few days in the starting room, gradually open more rooms in the house so that your cat can explore the area. As you introduce them to other animals in the house, do so very gradually. First, get them used to each other’s smells by swapping rooms for several days before allowing supervised face-to-face interactions.
3. Offer them a cozy hiding place
Cats love small, closed places where they feel safe and secure. You can leave a litter box open or provide a cardboard box or covered cat bed. Make sure the box or shipping container is big enough for the cat to stand up and move around in. Lay out a soft blanket or towel to make the box comfortable.
If possible, position the box or carrier so that it faces the door to the room. That way, they won’t be startled by people or other pets.
4. Make your first appointment with the vet
After adopting a new cat, it’s always a good idea to have it checked out by a veterinarian as soon as possible. You want to get a feel for health problems and any special care that may be required immediately. If your cat was adopted from a shelter, there may be recommendations for veterinarians in your area.
5. Let them come to you
A new cat will likely be nervous at first. Give them time to get used to their surroundings without rushing them or making them too affectionate. If you are calm and quiet, they are more likely to come out and visit. Teach your children to wait patiently for the cat to come to them and they will be rewarded in time. If your children are not used to cats, they should be supervised for the first few weeks.
You can gently get your cat to interact with a fun feather toy or tempting treat, and it won’t be long before she’s ready to socialize – and show you how happy she is to be in her welcoming new home Life.
Are you ready to adopt a new cat or kitten? Learn more about how to support animal rescue efforts, care for or adopt a new pet: www.PetSmartCharities.org.