Sunday, September 23, 2012

Adopting a Cat? Here Are Tips To Help You Prepare

After many discussions, the decision has been made to bring a cat into your family. Congratulations!

Of course you know to expect an adjustment period, while your furry friend gets used to his new home.

These tips should lead to a smoother transition for everyone.

Bringing your cat home

Make sure you have a pet travel bag or a sturdy carrier for the car ride home. Holding the cat on your lap is a very bad idea, and a dangerous one. Even if he's calm enough to sit in someone's lap, nothing will stop him from bolting the second the car door opens. It's really not worth the risk.

Find a vet

If you don't already have a vet, now would be the time to find one. You don't want to start running around when the cat's not feeling well. It's also good to know where the local emergency hospital is, just in case.

Pet sitters

If you had to go away suddenly, who would you call to care for the cat? Start thinking, and asking around. Checking out some professional pet sitters will also come in handy.


Buy supplies such as a litter box, litter, food and water bowls, scratching post, brush, nail clippers, bed and a couple of toys


Give your cat the same food he's been eating. If you want to switch brands, by all means, just do it gradually to avoid any stomach issues.

Cat proofing the house

Some cats get into everything, others don't. Since you probably don't know which category yours falls into, it's safer to be cautious until you do know. Don't leave things like rubber bands, ribbon, string, cords, or wires lying around. Toxic houseplants should be removed, and household cleaners, chemicals or medications locked away. You might also want to take your favorite glass vase off the table, just in case.

A room of his own

Coming to a new home can be overwhelming, so setting him up in a quiet room will help. If there's a closet, leave the door open a little so he has a place to hide. If not, a large box or something to hide behind/under will do just as well.

The litter box should go in one area, food and water bowls in another.

Set the carrier down on the floor, and open the door. Don't tip it, or try and drag him out. He'll come out and explore when he's ready.

Spend time with him, talk to him, but let him come to you. If he's hiding under the bed and refuses to come out, don't force him.

If you have other pets at home, it's wise to leave the cat in the room for a few days, so everyone can get used to the newcomer.


Have family members go in, one at a time and sit with the cat, allowing him to get familiar with everyone.

Some cats are happy to have a new playmate, while others just see them as invaders of their territory. Keeping him separated, will allow the resident cat time to check him out.

You could start opening the door just a little, so they can see each other and stick a paw through.

After a few days of gradual introduction, see how they do face to face. Have someone supervise to make sure there's no fighting.

It would be helpful to know in advance, how your dog feels about cats, but sometimes you don't. When the dog is out on a walk, let your cat explore the house. Once he's more comfortable, you can start introducing the dog and cat, slowly.

Keep the dog on a leash, while the cat walks around. Don't leave them alone until they've demonstrated that they're okay together, and won't kill each other.

Don't forget cats are predators, so if you have birds or other little critters, please take appropriate measures to ensure their safety. Make sure the cat isn't tormenting them, and stressing them out.

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