Congratulations! You’ve adopted a cat! Cats are particularly sensitive to new surroundings and some may hide under a bed or in a closet. For some, a few days or weeks may be all the adjustment time they need. For others it may take longer. They key is patience and understanding. You can help your kitty adapt more easily by following these tips.
Prepare for your cat:
· First, prepare to welcome your feline home by making sure you have some basic essential items on hand. Food and water bowls, food, litter box and litter, cat carrier, and if you can, a scratching post. Again to ease its transition, find out which food your pet is eating in the shelter. After the pet has settled in, you can gradually switch to a food of your choice. In the beginning, it may also be helpful to use the same type of litter the cat has been using.
· Cats are territorial, and coming into a new home leaves them feeling really uneasy. To start helping your cat feel comfortable, provide a small area to call his own for the first few days or weeks. Prepare a quiet, closed-in area, such as a laundry room, a bathroom, or a small bedroom away from the main hustle and bustle of the house. Prepare the chosen room with food, water, litter box filled with 1-2 inches litter, a few toys, something comfy to lay on, and a scratching post. You will want to spend time with your cat, so make sure there is a comfortable place for you to sit as well.
· Cats love to get away from it all in small places, and you can provide one. If he came home in a cat carrier, it is a good choice. One can also be made by cutting a entrance hole at the end of a large box. Or, you can buy a covered cat bed at a pet supply store (some cat trees have cubbies). In either case, make sure the space is big enough for the cat to stand up and turn around in. In addition, the cat should be able to see the doorway from his cubby, so he won’t be startled.
· A cat’s claws need to be worn down, and they do this by scratching. Since you prefer that it not be your furniture, provide an acceptable scratching place. Some items are made of corrugated cardboard placed on the floor; others are posts tall enough so that the cat can extend himself. You can encourage the cat to use any by sprinkling it with catnip. You can also install sticky tape to corners of upholstered furniture to dissuade the scratching.
· Look at your house with an eye for climbing and exploring potential. When your cat is acclimated to your home, you may be surprised to find him on top of cabinets and high shelves, so make sure there’s nothing there that can be damaged.
· Look for holes or registers that leave ductwork accessible and cover them up. A kitten can easily slither into it. You will not want to tear up floors or ducts to extract your cat.
Now, you are ready for your cat’s homecoming:
When transporting, be sure to confine him in a sturdy cat carrier. The cat carrier he came home in can be a nice safe hideout in the room you have already prepared. Block the door open to provide a cave in which he can feel protected.
Allow your cat to get used to his room for the first few days, being sure to spend plenty of time with him. If he is hiding under the bed, or in a closet, do not force him out. Instead, try talking to him quietly while enticing him out with some special kitty treats. Let your feline set the pace. Over a few days, slowly introduce the new addition to the rest of the family, including any other pet, always being sure that kitty, if he feels nervous, has easy access to "his" room and safe haven. It may take a while, but eventually your cat will know he is finally home!
Within a week of being adopted, take your newly adopted cat for her first wellness visit with a veterinarian. If you have a record of immunizations from the shelter, take it with you.