How To Welcome a Cat into Your Home
How To Welcome a Cat into Your Home
When you first bring a cat home, have these essentials ready: cat food, water, litter box, cat scratching post (the ones made of cardboard work really good), a few toys and a cat brush. For an extra treat, take some catnip and sprinkle it on the scratching post or cardboard.
It’s also recommended that you prepare a so-called “isolation room” for your new pet. It can just be a corner in a room if you don’t have much free space. This isolation room is where your cat will spend its first few days in its new home. It’s important that this room be kept quiet—or at least as quiet as the circumstances will allow.
Of course, you will all be excited about the new pet; if there are children in the household, they will fuss over it. Allow everyone to get to know the new cat(s), but give it space too. A kitten can be timid and easily frightened, as are some adult cats too. Watch over your new cat(s), but allow it some breathing space as well.
In the isolation room, provide a bed, food and water bowls, litter box and perhaps a few toys and a scratching post. Make sure to keep the litter box some distance away from the bed and food. You wouldn’t want to eat right next to where you defecate, and your cat surely feels the same.
But don’t situate the litter box too far away that your cat can’t find it. A distance of about six feet between the food bowl and the litter box should be sufficient. You can even shorten this distance if your pet is just a small kitten. Finally, make sure that the litter box is placed in a quiet and not-too-exposed spot. Your cat values its privacy, just like you do.
After about two weeks, when your cat appears to have settled in, allow it to go outside the isolation room and explore the rest of the house, a bit at a time. A good indication that it has settled in is when it is eating well and using the litter box, and when it doesn’t hide from people.
When the cat explores outside the isolation room, keep the rest of the house as quiet as possible so as not to alarm it. If it hears loud noises or sees a lot of movement (for example, from children running around), it may feel frightened and retreat to its room. Explain to children in the house that they need to tone things down to avoid scaring the new addition to your family.
Now, you may be curious as to what to feed your new cat, and how to do it. We shall devote a whole chapter to this important topic. Before we go into that, here are some more things you can do to ensure the safety of your cat when it first moves in:
Keep your cat indoor
Ensure that your cat stays indoors unless you want to have an indoor/outdoor cat. It is possible to train a cat to walk with a harness-type leash, but this is usually not recommended. It is wise to carry your cat around the outside of your house in your arms so that they know their surroundings. Be sure to hold your cat in an upright position when doing this, as this will make them feel more confident.
You want to walk around your property several times per day for at least a week. Once a cat knows where they live, they are generally smart enough to return home over and over again, and it greatly reduces the chances of them getting lost if they do get out of the house. I had a friend who never let her cat out, and one day the cat broke out through an improperly fastened screen window and immediately got lost and she never saw him again.
When letting your cat outside on its own the first few times, it’s a good idea to go out with them. With my three new kittens I went out with them each time the first few weeks, letting them know the house boundaries, keeping them from climbing trees and then bringing them back inside (often times they want to stay outside and play.) It can be very stressful letting your cats outdoors, but nothing in the world will give them more joy.
You can also install a cat door, which will allow your cats to go inside and outside whenever they want. My cats now go outside every day and they love playing in the forest. When you need to travel or go to the vet, be sure to use a cat carrier.
Keep your house cat-safe.
Ensure that windows are screened and doors are kept closed so that your cat cannot get out accidentally. Also, make sure that spaces in the house that they might inadvertently crawl into are closed or sealed. In particular, keep drawers, closets, washers, dryers, ovens and other appliances closed to prevent your cat from climbing inside and becoming trapped there. Before closing a cabinet or drawer, look inside first to check if a kitty is hiding there. I had a cat once that climbed into an open-air vent, and it was quite the ordeal to get her out!
Create an ID for Your New Kitten
Provide a collar with an ID for your cat. The ID should have your name, address and contact numbers, plus your cat’s name. Should your pet manage to go outside without your knowledge, or should it become lost, the finder will know how to return it through the information in the ID. You can also have the vet install a microchip in your cat, which has all of the important details available for scanning if your cat is found and brought to a shelter.
Groom your cat by brushing their fur regularly.
Groom your cat by brushing their fur regularly. Apart from making your cat look its best, this will help make its skin and fur healthy. I recommend the shed ender brush. It only costs like six bucks and is by far the best cat brush I have ever seen. Bring your cat to a grooming clinic if you need to, if only to see how the process is properly done so that you can do it at home the next time.
Grooming your cat yourself is a good way to bond with your pet. Sometimes, however, you need to have a professional do it, especially when the cat’s fur is all matted up and may need to be shaved off or when it has skin breaks or lumps that also need to be treated.
Regularly clean the cat’s litter box
Regularly clean the cat’s litter box. At least once every day, scoop the box. Also, wash it regularly before putting in fresh cat litter, using dishwashing liquid and warm water.
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Bring your cat to the vet for regular check-ups and inoculations.
This is also a good time to ask the vet about any health concern you may have concerning your pet. Also, talk to the vet about possibly spaying or neutering your cat. This is good for its health and it will also help prevent cat overpopulation. A cat that is not spayed or neutered can be twice as hard to handle as one that is.
- De-clawing your cat is an option for indoor cats, but it is something I would never personally do. If you let your cat outdoors, your cat should not be de-clawed. While a cat may do some damage to a few pieces of furniture in the beginning, you should be able to train them quite easily not to scratch the furniture, especially if you have a nice scratching post with catnip on it. A cat’s claws are its main defense and I always find it a bit sad when a cat has been declawed.
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