So, you’ve made the decision to adopt a new pet. Good for you! There are so many deserving animals in rescues and shelters that need loving homes. Once you’ve made the decision to adopt, the work begins. A little pre-planning will make your and your new pet’s transition easier.
Your pet will expect you to set the expectations during the first few days of his stay with you. What you do to welcome your new pet into your home will make the transition easier for both you and your pet. He or she is relying on you to be the leader. So here are a few ideas from the experts to help everyone with the transition.
Your cat will expect you to set the expectations during the first few days of his stay with you. What you do to welcome your new pet into your home will make the transition easier for both you and your pet. He or she is relying on you to be the leader. So here are a few ideas from the experts to help everyone with the transition.
1. For the cat, territory is of paramount importance. A cat views his territory the way most of us view our clothes; without them, we feel naked and vulnerable.
You can help your kitty find their way in your new home by offering them a special place while they acclimate to their new surroundings. Whether you have a cat or this is your first, offer your new cat a place of their own such as a bathroom or bedroom with their own food and water bowls and litter box. This allows either your first cat to acclimate or both cats to smell each other in a non-confrontational setting. A few days living near each other can help when the two are introduced face-to-face.
2. Find a space for your new cat to hide in. You can decide how much or little you want to spend. Cats love to climb and the ‘cat carpet towers’ are great. However, you can offer cardboard boxed turned upside down with two doors cut into them for a hiding spot as well. Why two “doors?” Many cats seem to feel more secure if they have a second “escape” route.
3. Just like you need to prepare for a puppy or new baby you’ll need to prepare for your new cat. Most cats love to have a bird’s eye view of things. Being on top of a desk or table offers security. Be understanding if they need to learn that the kitchen table or countertops are not appropriate places to hang out. It is up to you to teach them where their spots are.
4. Cats have a way of finding nooks and crannies to hide in and they must be safe in getting to those spots. If you have mementos that are special to you, put them away during your cat’s transition to your home. You can block off the pathways to the spots where you do not want your cat to hide.
5. Put a scratching post or pad in every room. Cats like to scratch and giving them surfaces that are specifically for them, they will be less likely to use your furniture or curtains. You will have to test out what type of surfaces work well for your cat. Some like carpet stands where others will use cardboard boxes. Sprinkling the toy with cat nip will help them find the toy and help them start using it.
6. Once you bring your cat home, take him to his safe room as soon as it is ready. Close door to his safe room before opening the carrier. Do not pull the cat out. Allow him to come out on his own and begin to explore his new home. Now, leave the room. Yes, leave…remember you are giving him time to acclimate.
7. Do not be surprised if your new cat doesn’t eat. It is common for re-homed cats to show no interest in eating, often for several days. Be certain to have fresh food and water in the safe room. If your new cat doesn’t show signs of wanting to interact with you right away, come back in a little bit. Once your cat is eating and engaging with you, you can start to introduce him to more and more rooms. Eventually he will have access to the entire house.
8. Remember to let the cat set the pace. Be patient. It may take weeks for the cat to comprehend that this foreign turf is his new territory.
9. Take your new friend to your vet for a check-up. Take the records from the rescue or shelter where you adopted him and let your vet do a thorough check up. Ask your vet any questions about their food recommendations, vaccination schedule and other needs for your pet.
10. Enjoy your new cat. Whether you have a new kitten or a senior cat, know that you have started on a friendship that will be special, for both you and your new family member.
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