Tips for Bringing Home a New Kitty

December 14, 2015

So you’ve decided to bring home a new feline friend for Christmas.  This is not the best time to add pets to your household.  With all the hoopla surrounding the holidays, a newbie to the home could undergo significant stress.  It’s much better to wait until after the holidays when the guests are gone and the decorations are put away to bring home a new pet.  That said, here are some suggestions to make the early days easier for you and your new cat.

Will it be an adult cat or a kitten? If an adult feline is in your future, consider any other pets in your home.  Are they likely to accept an older cat? Will your other pets eventually accept a new addition? For example our Lucy, a rather small tabby, will not accept another cat in our home. She is ok with Chico who arrived when she was a year old, but she has no use for other felines. Our son’s cat, Bella, came to live with us for awhile and Lucy never did play nice.  Bella was larger but she was front-declawed and we worried about her safety.  Fortunately, Bella was smarter and always got the best of Lucy but it did get ugly at times.  Three years later, Lucy’s attitude had not improved.  Don’t set your family up for this kind of stress.  Know your pets and how they might react.

Older cats make great pets.               Older Cats Make Wonderful Pets

Expect that an adult cat will need time to adjust to your home, your family and your existing pets. Be patient with any mistakes she might make.

The advantages of choosing an older cat versus a kitten are many. A mature feline will be fine if left alone for a few hours, whereas a kitten will find all manner of trouble to get into. Kittens need more attention and it isn’t wise to leave them alone for long. Kittens needs socialization and plenty of it! An older cat doesn’t require the supervision that is necessary for a baby. If a calm, quiet pet is important to you, choose an adult cat. Kittens tend to be rambunctious and busy.

If you are adopting (or purchasing) an adult cat, very little preparation is required before you bring her home. Buy a litterbox and quality litter, food and water bowls, a few toys and a bed and she’ll be fine, as long as you include a lot of love as your gift to your new arrival.

Avoid poisonous plants with kittens.               Kittens Destroy Plants

 

Kittens, on the other hand, require a great deal of planning before you bring one home. Go through your home and try to think like a curious kitten would. Hide all those electrical wires throughout your home. Sharp kitten teeth could chew through those cords and burn or even kill a nosy kitten. Check your house plants and any located in a room or screened porch your new baby can access. Many are poisonous to cats. You’ll find a list of poisonous plants at www.aspca.org. Visit a pet store and buy the basics of litter and litterbox, food dishes and add a scratching post to your purchases. You’ll want to train a kitten from the beginning not to scratch your furniture.  The best way to do that is to immediately remove the kitten from offending furniture and place her in front of the scratching post and hold her paws on the post while you mimic the scratching behavior.  Be sure to provide plenty of toys for the little one.

Choose the healthiest cat or kitten food you can afford.  Cats thrive on a diet of mostly canned food supplemented with a small amount of high-quality dry kibble.  The same goes for treats. Not all pet foods and treats are good for Fluffy. Remember to check the BARKS & MEOWS page at the top of this site before your shop and then read the ingredients label before you buy.

If your budget allows, purchase a tall climber for your cat or kitten.  Felines love to climb to high places and will spend a lot of time on a climbing “tower.”

One other important purchase is a solid cat carrier.  Cats and kittens should always be confined to a carrier when you leave the house.  They should never be allowed to roam free in a car, and a visit to the veterinary clinic is much safer if Fluffy is confined when there are other animals around to frighten her. You can find inexpensive, cardboard carriers or spend a lot of money on fancier models.

If this is your first pet, choose a veterinarian recommended by someone you know and trust and plan the first visit within a day or two after bringing your new kitty home.

If you have other pets in your home, plan to isolate your new cat or kitten until that first vet visit occurs and she has a clean bill of health. Then only allow her access to the other animals with close supervision in case there is trouble.  Introduce animals carefully and slowly over several days to weeks to avoid problems.

Be prepared to train your new cat. If your choice was an older pet, she may have some habits you don’t like. A quick spray of water from a bottle works with most felines to stop a bad behavior. Be sure she knows where the littler box is located and how to find her food dishes.  Kittens do well being confined in a bathroom or small room for a couple days until they get used to the new smells and people around them.  Take them out to socialize but when you cannot watch them, return them to the safe room.

Now bring that new baby home and shower her with love and playtime!

 

 

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