Each day, millions of homeless cats of all ages are waiting for forever families to find them, and thousands face euthanasia. June is the American Humane Association’s Adopt-a-Cat month and the ASPCA’s Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat month, so if you’ve been thinking about adding a feline friend to your family it’s a good time to review some key points before you bring your kitty home.
Adopting a rescue animal is not always easy, especially with older animals that may have a history of abuse or neglect, but with the right preparation and some tender loving care, the journey is usually well worth it. While it’s exciting to bring a new kitty home, it’s a stressful time for him or her. Cats are territorial animals, so of course they’re going to be confused, scared and unsure
coming into a new home full of unknowns.
Provide a Safe, Confined Space for Your Kitty
Set aside a confined, safe space like a laundry room, spare bedroom or bathroom for your cat to live in while adjusting to the new surroundings. A cozy bed, cardboard box or cat carrier can provide a sense of safety for your new friend, as long as your kitty is able to stand up and turn around easily. There should be plenty of food, fresh water and a clean litter box with an inch or two of litter in the room as well, but be sure to keep the litter box away from the food. After all, you wouldn’t want to have your dinner next to the toilet.
Meeting the Family Members
Sharp claws can do lots of damage. With a little encouragement and catnip, a scratching post or cat tree will help keep them away from furniture and draperies. And speaking of claws, if you have other animals in the home, it’s important to keep them separated from the newcomer and introduce them slowly. Don’t push things. They will be very aware of each other’s presence – a baby gate can help keep boundaries intact. Always keep dogs leashed when they’re first meeting the newest family member. If they exhibit any signs of jealousy or threatening behavior, correct the behavior immediately with a command like “Sit!” or “Stay!” Be extra careful with small children – they can get overexcited and squeeze or pet too roughly, causing the cat to struggle, scratch or bite out of fear.
Above all else, be patient. It might take a week or two for your new cat or kitten to feel safe enough to come out and explore, but you’ll know when they’re ready. With a little time and a lot of patience and understanding, you’ll make a friend for life. Make sure it’s a long and healthy one by scheduling a Wellness visit with your vet as soon as possible.