Today we’re going to talk about bringing a new kitty home and important things you can do to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Many cats are returned to shelters because a lot of people think they can just pick up a cat, deposit it into their living room and the cat will instantly be happy and bond with them.
Although there are some cats that adjust quickly with no issues, more often than not there’s a little more to it.
So you’ve found your perfect cat companion! What basic preparations should you make?
First, you’ll need to get some information from the shelter, breeder or rescue group.
Has the cat had a comprehensive wellness exam?
Is he spayed or neutered?
What shots has he been given?
Does he have a microchip?
Get the kitty’s health records, or written documentation. Many shelters don’t do comprehensive wellness exams. If this is the case with your cat try to make an appointment with your vet the day you bring him home. That way you don’t have to interrupt him with an unpleasant vet visit while he’s adjusting to your home.
Also, find out what food he’s been eating, and what type of litter he’s been using. Cat’s need familiarity and keeping those consistent will help with the transition.
Newness is stressful, and chances are your new kitty will be nervous when you first bring him home. While you’re seeing a comfortable new home for the kitty he’s seeing a scary, unfamiliar territory. To help him out create a safe, small place for him before you bring him home. This can be a small room, a closet, or an out of the way corner. Make sure it’s free from foot traffic, loud noises and anything else that may add to his fear.
Set up a litter box with his current brand of litter on one side and put a bowl of the current food he’s been eating along with a bowl of fresh water as far away as possible from the litter box. Also give him a comfy place to sleep. This can be a store bought bed or they may even prefer a simple cardboard box with a towel or blanket inside.
I can’t stress enough how important it is for the kitty to have a safe place. If a cat feels threatened it leads to biting and scratching and peeing in inappropriate places.
Before you bring him home also put away anything that can be toxic, like cleaning products, medications, house plants etc.
Alright, so you’ve got the safe place set up and you’re bringing him home. The key to a happy, comfortable transition and to a kitty who has bonded with you and your family is to let him set the pace. When you first get him home put the carrier in his safe room and allow him to come out on his own.
Unless he happens to be one of those rare cats who is comfortable anywhere, for the first couple of days keep him in his room and visit quietly, one person at a time. Just sit and occupy yourself with something else unless the kitty comes to you. Do not overwhelm him, do not pick him up, and do not force affection on him before he’s ready. And he’ll let you know when he’s ready for affection.
He’ll also let you know when he’s ready to leave the room to explore more. When he does, close off other rooms to let him explore just a little bit at a time. And keep the foot traffic to a minimum whenever he does.
Continue to let your new cat set the pace and as he becomes comfortable open up more doors and allow more of the family around him. Until he’s fully comfortable in the rest of the house always make sure he has access to, and can retreat to his safe room if he gets scared.
As long as you take things slow and gentle and go at kitty’s pace the transition should go smoothly and you’ll have a wonderful new addition to the family.
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