You’re lucky – you’re bringing a new cat home. Or maybe you’re thinking about adopting a cat for the first time and you’re planning for what will happen once you get them home. Either way you have come to the right place!
So far, I have adopted 4 different cats. In each case they had a life, and a little baggage before they met me. I wish I had sought some cat adoption advice prior to bringing the new cat home as it would have made things easier on both me and the new cat. Here is a list of my 7 top tips for cat adoption that will help your new kitty feel comfortable in their new forever home.
Let Them Bring Luggage
If you’re lucky enough to be able to take or purchase some of the cat’s things from their current home – do it. When we adopted our current resident cat, Laila, we did so directly from her previous home (not a shelter). Their kids had allergies so they had to say goodbye. Their loss was our gain.
This adopting situation allowed us to purchase some of Laila’s things. In fact, she was free and all her luggage was $100. We got a large cat tree, cat bed, blanket, many toys, etc.
This was well worth the $100. The value of the individual items is well over that. And, more importantly, Laila has many familiar things surrounding her in her new, strange home. Her baggage smelled familiar which automatically made her feel better.
Each cat is different. Most will be standoffish at first. The main thing you need to know is you need to be patient. Let the cat come to you. I know you’re excited but your new cat is likely feeling overwhelmed. Don’t add additional stress by fussing and getting in his or her face.
It can take up to 2 weeks for a cat to feel comfortable in a new home and with new owners. They will come to you on their own time – I promise.
Cats are jumpy in a stressful situation like a new home. Try to be as quiet at possible while they are adjusting. Sudden, loud noises will likely cause fear so try to minimize them as much as possible. Talk in soft calming voices and your new kitty will thank you.
Find a Vet
Your new feline friend will need a visit to a vet. Ideally within the first week or two of life at their new home. Do the leg work in advance. Ask around for vet recommendations. You want a well-regarded vet but you also want them to be as close to home as possible. Cats generally hate cars so don’t subject them to long car rides if you don’t have to.
Cat-Proof Your Home
You want your new cat to be comfortable so it’s important to remove any chance of them getting into something they shouldn’t. They can get yelled at, get hurt or get sick – all things you are trying to avoid in the initial getting to know you phase.
Make sure there are no poisonous foods or plants within the kitty’s reach. Remember they can jump high. Cats love elastics, string, ribbon, basically anything long and stretchy or dangly. Anything that falls in this category should be put safely away. Ensure all cleaning products and medicines are out of the cat’s reach too. Lastly, you’ll want to try and protect your furniture from scratching as much as possible. Try using blankets or furniture covers on couches and chairs. It won’t protect them 100% but it will help.
If you are adopting a cat from a shelter or a family where you can’t arrange to get their stuff, go shopping! Get the essentials until you learn your new cat’s preferences. You don’t want to spend money on things they don’t like.
Here’s what I would buy:
- One package of dry food – don’t buy a lot because believe it or not, cats can be picky.
- A couple of tins of wet food
- A food bowl and a water bowl
- 2 toys that are completely different – again, you want to learn their preferences.
- A cat tree, ideally with a scratching post built in
- A litter box, litter and scoop
- A cat carrier – we like the soft sided ones
- A collar
- Nail clippers
- A brush if your cat has long hair
Make a Dedicated Cat Space
Set aside a space – it doesn’t have to be big – that is only for your new cat. Somewhere to hide like a box on its side would be nice. Add blankets, the toys and anything else you think your cat would like. This will definitely help them feel safe.
Leave the cat alone in this area – at least for now. Let them be comfy. Like the patience mentioned above, let them come to you.
I’m so glad that you are adopting a new cat or adopting a cat for the first time. Congratulations! If you follow the tips for cat adoption and cat adoption advice above you will start off on the right foot. You new cat will feel happy and at home in no time.