Have you recently adopted a new cat, or are considering adopting soon? Congratulations! Adding a cat to the family is one of the best decisions you will ever make. Not only will you save the life of a deserving cat by giving it a loving forever home, but you will also have the opportunity to create an amazing bond. Now that many are self-isolating and quarantining at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are looking for ways to feel less lonely at home and make a difference in the animal community, whether that be through fostering or adopting. If this situation sounds familiar to you, consider these 5 ways to prepare your home for a new cat.
If you don't live at home alone, definitely plan on talking with your family or roommates before adopting a cat. You all will want to agree on what cat to adopt, how you will care for your cat, and house rules to make sure you and your cat are safe. Consider who will be responsible for different tasks, such as feeding and cleaning the litter box, whether there are any places in the house that are off-limits, and changes in your lifestyle you will have to be mindful of. For example, do you usually leave a back door open for fresh air? You may need to change this behavior if you don't want your cat wandering outside by itself.
Do you have pets in the house already? Preparations for both small and large animals are super important to keep your current and new pets safe. If you have a smaller pet, such as a bird, hamster, or lizard, make sure their enclosures are secure and not on a surface that your cat can easily knock over. Have a cat or dog at home? Animals can be territorial and not appreciate the presence of a new interloper. With careful planning and patience your pets can get along, but you have to be intentional about their introduction. For tips on how to do this successfully, check out are article "Introducing a New Cat."
Before you bring your cat home, you will also want to make sure you have all of the basic supplies ready so your cat is safe and comfortable. New cat starter kits often include:
- Nutritious Cat Food
- Food and Water Bowls
- Litter Box, Scooper and Cat Litter
- Fun Toys (balls, mice, wands, feathers, etc.)
- Scratching Posts
- A Cozy Bed or Blanket for Sleeping
- Grooming Tools (nail clipper, hair brush, toothbrush, etc.)
- Cat Carrier
- Hiding Spot (such as an open box or large paper bag)
As your cat gets used to its new home, it may want to explore its new territory. While this is a great sign of your cat's newfound independence and confidence, there are a few things you will want to do before you let your cat roam free. Make sure you move anything you don't want knocked down or broken. Close any unwanted holes or hideaways you want to keep your cat out of, including securing doors, drawers, and cabinets. Keep toilet seats down. Make sure access to outside is not available, and any dangling strings or wire (such as in window blinds) are stored safely. Remove any plants that may be poisonous to your cat, or any other toxic materials for that matter.
Although cat-proofing your home is good to do before your cat begins to explore its new surroundings, having a safe haven to call its sanctuary in the first few days and weeks is imperative. Many cats can become overwhelmed by the new sights, smells, and sounds of a new home, so having a smaller space to explore as it acclimates will help your cat feel secure. A bathroom, small office, or bedroom can work as great places to keep your cat while it warms up to you and your family. Just make sure to balance the urge to constantly interact with your cat. and its need for space to adapt. With patience and love, your new cat will be part of the family in no time!
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