Adopting a cat is exciting, but if you aren’t prepared for all that is involved, you could quickly find yourself in over your head and unready for the task that lays ahead of you. You see, cats are quite sensitive to new surroundings, and it’s not unusual for them to hide away in a cupboard or under the bed for weeks when they are adopted by a kind new family.
Here are some tips that will help you to avoid the pitfalls of adopting a new cat and make it a success (almost) from the off:
Because cats are so territorial and because they often find it tough to come into a new area where they don’t know their boundaries, and they don’t know what potential threats lay in waiting for them, it’s a really good idea, before you bring your new cat home, to create a little safe space for your kitty. You can do this by filling a small area, such as a laundry room with everything that a cat needs to feel happy and safe, such as a litter box, scratching post, bed toys, and of course food and water dishes. Your new kitty will immediately recognize this as a safe space and hopefully, start to settle in straight away.
Give Him Privacy
Ideally, you should locate your cat’s litter box in an area where he is not constantly being watched because even cats like to have a little privacy when they go!
Keep Food Away from the Litter Box
It’s also important that you locate your cat’s litter box as far away from his food and water bowls as possible because no one wants to go where they eat.
Investing in a cat carrier makes sense not only because it will be the safest way for you to bring your cat from the shelter to your home, but also because cats feel a lot more comfortable in smaller confined spaces when they’re just getting to a new place, and cat carriers are the perfect place for this.
Small cardboard boxes, placed in your cat’s safe space, are also great places for him to hide and relax when he feels like he needs his own space too. They also make great beds, although buying your cat a really comfy bed from the pet store is probably a better idea – just make it a covered one – it will ensure that he’s really comfortable and feels safe.
Cats have claws, and those claws need to be worn down to comfortable levels, for the benefit of the cat and also for your safety. Declawing cats may be legal in some places, but it is basically the equivalent of cutting a human’s fingers off at the knuckles, so it is a really bad idea to do that. Providing lots of scratching posts, cardboard boxes, and toys that your incoming arrival can use to wear their claws down then is sensible if you don’t want to end up with huge chunks ripped out of your couches and other unfortunate furniture.
Cats are notoriously curious and they, as I’m sure you know, love to climb, which is why it is so important that you take a cat’s eye view of your home before bringing your kitty home. Look at all of your shelves, cabinets, curtains etc. and make sure that there are no important objects that could be knocked over, or which your cat could hurt himself on. If there are, find a safer place for them to live, so that your cat and your things won’t get hurt.
Cats also love getting into small spaces, as I mentioned earlier, so it’s also important to look for any holes in your walls, including ductwork, that your cat could get stuck inside. A call to the fire service to free your cat is the last thing you want to be dealing with as a new cat mama or daddy!
Brief the Family
If you have a family, make sure that you brief them on how to look after rescue cats. Let them know they shouldn’t startle the cat, they should give him some space, and they should not leave any unsafe objects lying around or doors open that could let the cat escape or get stuck.
When you bring your cat home, you should treat him with this product to protect him against fleas, and if he hasn’t already been neutered, you should organize that ASAP because it is important that you don’t contribute to the unwanted cat problem. If your cat has any other known medical needs, ensure that you pick up a prescription for those too.
Once you get him home, take your cat straight to his designated cat area and sit calmly in a spot close by. Let him be the one to approach you – if he doesn’t seem interested in doing so, leave him for a while and try again later.
It’s important not to overwhelm you cat, so even if the whole family want to come and see him, try and get them to hold off until he trusts you, then introduce them gradually. You might find that your cat does not want anything to do with you or anyone else for many days – don’t let this put you off. Keep visiting and keep feeding, and eventually, he will come around. However, if he doesn’t eat or drink for a while, you may want to consult a vet.
It’s not a good idea to let your cat out until he has settled into your home and made friends with you and the family, or you run the risk that he may not return, However, when he is integrated to the family, and he’s showing signs of wanting to get out, you can start carefully letting him explore.
Prepare, have patience and act with love and pretty soon your adopted pussycat will be a beloved member of your family.