When you adopt or bring home a cat, you’re probably full of excitement for what’s ahead – cuddles, playtime, and lots of petting. But before you get ahead of yourself, we’ll give you a gentle reminder that your new pet will need some time to adapt to the new environment of your home. In order to reduce stress on your new cat and facilitate his or her adjustment, we’ve compiled some quick tips to cat-prep your home.
Select A Small, Quiet Room For Your Cat
Chances are that your cat has been living in a shelter cubby or some other type of confined space. So, naturally, he or she might be overwhelmed and intimidated by the sudden exposure to your entire home. Picking a place like a bedroom or even a bathroom is a great place for him to start calling “home.”
Furnish The Room With A Litter Box, Food, And Water
Add approximately two inches of litter to a litter box and set it in a corner. This reduces the chance of any litter box problems. Then set up a water and food bowl away from the litter box. We recommend welcoming your pet with some canned wet food, which will help to stimulate his appetite. By adding these basic amenities to the room, your cat will know where to go when he needs to use any of these items.
Give Your Cat Some Hiding Places
Cats love hiding themselves away in their own little safe haven. If your new cat came in a carrier, leave it available for him in his room. Many shelters will include the cat’s own blanket, which will feel and smell familiar to him. You could also give your cat the simple and beloved cardboard box, which he is sure to enjoy. Make sure that it is large enough for him or her to turn around in. No matter what type of hiding place you give him, just be sure to situate it in a place where your cat can still see the door. This reduces the chances that someone will startle him and will help him to feel safe.
Include A Scratching Post
Cats need to wear down their claws by scratching on things. If you want to do your furniture and floors a favor, we recommend adding a scratching post for your cat. Options range from inexpensive corrugated cardboard to vertical posts that encourage your cat to stretch.
Go At Your New Cat’s Pace
When the exciting first day finally arrives, we cannot stress this tip enough. Do not be alarmed if your new feline is hiding, eating or drinking less, or is avoidant. He is simply adjusting to a new environment (and a new family). Give him or her time to explore, and try to control your urge to spend all of your time with your new pet!
Keep in mind, however, that there are some causes for concern. A study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery detailed causes and signs of stress in cats. If your cat has not been eating for several days, is overgrooming, urine marking, or demonstrating other behavioral abnormalities, we recommend contacting your veterinarian.
Like our own annual checkups with our doctors, all cats will benefit from receiving dedicated attention from a professional. More likely than not, your cat may need to receive additional vaccines and immunizations. Therefore, within the week of your cat’s arrival, be sure to schedule an appointment with a trusted veterinary clinic, like Cherrelyn Animal Hospital, to ensure the health of your new pet!