Here are some tips to making sure your newly adopted kitty acclimates into their new home successfully!
For those of you who may be bringing home their first kitty, here’s a list of supplies we suggest.
- Litter – Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat or any dust-free, unscented litter is best
- Kitten food- Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain Free Healthy Kitten dry and Merrick Purrfect Bistro Pate canned (chicken or turkey) Feed 1/2 can 2-3 times a week separate from the dry to help keep the kitten hydrated since they tend not to drink as much water as an adult. Have dry food and water available at all times.
- Adult food – Merrick dry and canned for adult (or senior if applicable)
- Litter pan – If adopting a kitten make sure that the litter pan is not too big. A big adult size litter pan can be an issue since they are used to small pans with no cover. Be aware if you have a big adult size pan it could be an issue so change to a smaller one till they are a bit bigger.
- Cat carrier – A hard plastic sided with a metal door is the best. If adopting a kitten, make sure you get a carrier big enough to accommodate them as an adult. Always double check that the metal door latches are fully in the locked position before transport.
- Scratch post or scratch pad – You don’t need to show a cat how to use a scratching post, they already know! Holding your cat up to the scratching post and forcing her to drag her claws on it may actually frighten your kitty and teach her to avoid the scratching post completely. You should, however, reward your cat for proper scratching etiquette with praise and a yummy treat to reinforce the good behavior. You can also encourage your cat to investigate the posts by scenting them with catnip or hanging toys at the tops of the posts. Place posts in areas where the cat will be inclined to climb on them. Finally, don’t throw away your cat’s favorite scratching post when it becomes unsightly. That’s when they’ve broken it in! Many cats prefer shredded and torn objects because they can really sink their claws into them and they’ve marked it as their own with the scent glands in their paws.
- Nail trimmers – If you have trouble trimming nails or need to learn how to trim them, you can bring the kitty to Petco any Saturday between 11am and 3pm and a TEARS volunteer will help you for no charge. We recommend trimming nails once every 3-4 weeks.
- Eye wipes – Some cats may require eye wipes to keep the fur around the eye clean. Use only a wipe especially for eyes, with no perfume. Do not use paper towel since it might scratch the eye and cause an eye ulcer.
- Flea prevention – If you have dogs in your home, you may need to consider flea prevention for your kitty. Always get flea prevention from your vet, as store bought items may cause serious health issues.
- Toys – Don’t forget the toys! Feathers on sticks, balls, stuffed toys… have a lot on hand to see what grabs your kitties interest. Sometimes cardboard boxes or paper bags are favorites. Watch out for foil toys or toys that can come apart. Just a little piece ingested could cause a blockage and/or death.
DRIVE HOME **Do not take the kitty out of the carrier in the car, wait until you are inside your home! Introducing your new cat to their new home and also to your current pets can be very overwhelming to the new addition. Taking things slow and allowing them to get comfortable in a small space at first is key! Follow these tips and you should be successful in moving the new one into your family…
- While in foster care, kitties stay in a room (bathroom or bedroom) and are used to being in small areas like the cat condo at Petco. A whole house is a very big area and they can feel overwhelmed. Try putting them with dry food, water and litter pan in a bathroom or bedroom that you use often that you can go into and spend time with them so they can’t run and hide or another room. They will feel more secure and get used to you coming and going. They will gradually become more curious and comfortable, so best to let them go at their own pace.
- Have the litter pan set up and immediately place the kitty in it. This way they know where it is. Let them smell around and walk out when they are ready.
- Keeping the new kitty in a separate room at first is also recommended when there are other pets in the house. Introduce each pet slowly to give everyone a chance to learn about each other. The length of time really depends on the individual pets so just watch and wait during the introduction period.
- All kitties need to be seen by your vet in the first 10 days of adoption for their wellness visit. A change of environment can be very stressful for some kitties and may weaken their immune system so just keep an eye on them make sure they continue to eat and drink, and if at all worried take them to the vet sooner. We sometimes see cats break with upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections or have diarrhea simply from the stress of moving from one home to the other.
- Make sure everyone in the home (especially children) understands the importance of keeping the kitty inside. Doors to the outside cannot be left open! If you see your kitty has a tendency to dart towards open doors, try using a water squirt bottle to teach the cat to stay away from doors or keep them in an area of the house away from doors leading outside so they stay safe.