So you’re adopting a new cat! Now what? Besides cat-proofing your house before the new furry family member arrives, here are some things you’ll need to do in order to ensure kitty’s health and happiness.
Take New Cat to the Veterinarian
Within a day or two of bringing your new cat home, take him to the veterinarian for an exam and any necessary vaccinations. Your vet can also recommend an appropriate diet and any flea treatments your new cat will need. Remember to always use a carrier when transporting your kitty.
Set Up a Quarantine Room
When you first bring a cat home – especially if you’ve already got cats in your home – you should put the new kitty in a ‘quarantine room’ for 10 days to 2 weeks. Basically, this is a small room with an easy to clean floor. A spare bedroom or large bathroom will work perfectly. Put a cat bed, a litter box, food and water (not near the litter box), a scratcher, and some toys in the room. Confining a new kitty in a small room will give her a chance to get used to the sights and smells of her new home without overwhelming her. If you’ve got other pets in the house, quarantining also gives your existing pets the opportunity to get used to their new fur-sibling safely, and prevents the spread of illness should your new kitty become sick.
Initiate a Schedule
It’s a good idea to have a set schedule for feeding, playtime and cuddling your new feline friend. Cats are creatures of habit, so a set schedule will provide much-needed structure. When you go to bed, turn on a nightlight as a cue for your cat. This will also help your new cat navigate her new room in the dark.
Handle Kittens Every Day
Handle your kitten gently multiple times a day! This will help him get used to being held and touched by humans. It’s important to handle your cat’s paws, ears, around the eyes, and mouth as if you’re doing a veterinary exam. Cats that are used to this will easily allow you to trim their nails, clean their ears, and are typically easier to handle at the vet’s office! The more you (and others) handle kittens when they’re young, the less likely they are to respond with fear and defensiveness when they’re older.
Gradually Let Your Cat Into the Rest of the House
If you’ve been keeping kitty in a quarantine room, gradually and slowly expand his territory by letting him explore other rooms while you supervise. If you’ve got other pets, introduce them very slowly and don’t leave them unattended together until they get to know each other.
Change Diet Slowly
When you first bring your cat home, you should continue feeding the food he or she is used to. If you want to change the diet, do it gradually by mixing increasing amounts of the new food with decreasing amounts of the old food. If you change a cat’s diet too quickly, he will most likely get an upset stomach and diarrhea. Cats get most of the moisture in their diet from food, so if you’re feeding an all dry diet, consider also giving your cat some high-quality wet food or provide a water fountain to encourage him to drink water.
To welcome home your new cat, follow these guidelines and remember to always treat your cat like a furry little family member!
Have you recently adopted a new kitty? Tell us!