I often get asked about what I think are some of the things a person should consider when adopting a new cat, so I put together a list of tips that are pretty universal and can apply to anyone anywhere.
- If you are bringing a new cat home for the first time you can set up a space that they can call their own, cats are about territory so this will give them a sense of comfort and security while they adjust. Set up the space with everything they will require: bed, litter, food and water dishes, toys. Of course it should also be spacious enough for you to be able to spend time in bonding with them. This initial set up is temporary while your new cat acclimatizes to their new surroundings.
- Once your cat is ready to move beyond his temporary space be sure to set up the litter in an accessible, quiet low traffic area, if you like your privacy I guarantee you your cat does to. Consider using the 1+1 rule (one litter box per cat plus one extra), and always remember to scoop at least once per day. Keeping food dishes separate from the litter is always advisable.
- Provide items like covered cat beds, boxes, window perches and climbing trees or cat towers so they can get up high, or away from it all if they choose. Cat towers are a great way to give cats extra space when you have other pets in the home and they can also double as scratching posts.
- Scratching posts will encourage your cat to scratch where it is preferable, there are options and styles to suit every budget and taste. It’s good to remember that scratching is a natural tendency for cats and they use their claws for climbing, marking territory and defense. Learn how to trim your cats nails and start when your cat is young, if you adopt a kitten. Ask your vet to show you how to do it properly and safely if you don’t feel comfortable or are unsure. I do not believe in declawing cats, some countries and cities have even banned the practice, and advocate for alternatives such as Soft Paws and implementing tips like these.
- Do your research and talk to your vet when it comes to nutrition, there are many brands on the market and tailoring a diet to your cats specific needs should not be an issue. This topic is vast but I will touch briefly on what I find common, the wet vs. dry scenario (I have always fed my cats a mix of both). The wet provides the necessary moisture which aids in a healthy urinary tract, providing enough water to your cats diet is vital, not enough of it can cause problems like urinary tract issues “urethral obstructions cause tremendous pain and suffering and can result in death if the bladder ruptures…it is also extremely painful. Many of these cats, understandably, develop litter box aversions secondary to associating the litter box with their pain.” For detailed reading on proper nutrition and the benefits of wet food check out this in-depth article here at CatInfo.org.
- Once you bring your new family member home, let them adjust at their own pace, or in the room that you provided. Adjustment periods will vary from cat to cat so be patient, and if you have other pets be sure to supervise introductions. Using playtime to bond and help build confidence is also another great way to encourage a smooth transition. If you are looking for creative ways to keep kitty entertained check out some of these inexpensive and interactive game time toys.
Other things to consider
Choosing a veterinarian is something you should put on your list, if you have never had one before. Asking people you know is always a good way to get a referral and checking out new clinics before making the first appointment is also advisable.
Pet Insurance may be something to consider as it can provide that extra peace of mind when it comes to your cat’s health and cover unforeseen or unexpected health problems. I have a client whose cat developed and was diagnosed with cancer and because they had purchased pet insurance when they adopted her the insurance company covered the majority of the cost, which turned out to be in the thousands.
A general search for insurance in your country is advisable and using a search form like Pet Insurance Review to help you evaluate what is out there is a good place to start. Talk to people who have it, your vet and be sure to inquiry directly with any company you are interested in. You will need to consider things like cost, coverage type, exclusions, and your cats needs before purchasing.
If you live in the UK the choices are broad and include companies like Pet-Insurance.co.uk If you are interested please do be sure to check them out.
All the above tips are guidelines only and I encourage cat parents to do their research – adoption is forever so ensuring you are properly informed will help guarantee a lifetime of health and happiness for your new feline family member. 🐱