Preparing to Adopt a New Cat

Preparing to Adopt a New Cat

Whether you already have a cat in your household, or you are getting a cat for the first time, being prepared will help ensure things go smoothly.

First Time Cat Owners Check List

First and foremost, you will need the basic necessities:

  1. Food and water bowls
  2. A collar (with an ID tag with your phone number on it)
  3. Litter box with kitty litter and scoop
  4. Food - If possible, this should be the same food your cat is currently being fed (In the beginning, it’s easiest to keep as many things the same as possible, including food! Then, once your cat feels at ease in their new surroundings, you can slowly transition them to the food of your choice)
  5. First aid supplies - including antimicrobial spray, anti-diarrheal liquid for cats, and a good probiotic powder for any upset tummies
  6. Grooming Supplies, including a brush or a comb, and nail clippers
  7. Toys to engage your cat and entice them to play, including climbing towers and scratch posts
  8. A cat carrier
  9. And of course, a comfy bed

Preparing Your House for a Cat

Most importantly, you need to make your house is escape proof by making sure all windows and doors are properly secured. Talk to all family members about the importance of keeping their new cat inside and safe, as well as the importance of being aware of where the cat is upon exiting and entering the home.

Create a few spaces where your new cat can have their own space. This is especially important if you have small children and/or dog. Gates work well in this situation as it allows the cat to come into the room, if and when they feel comfortable.

Adjusting to a new environment may take some time, and it is not unusual for cats to exhibit a lack of interest in food during a stressful time like this. Having a high calorie nutritional supplement can be extremely helpful for stimulating appetite, and encouraging your cat to eat. And adding a natural calming supplement to your cat's diet is a great way to reduce any stress and anxiety they may be feeling.

Have a Health Plan

Find a local veterinarian and schedule an appointment sometime within the first few weeks of bringing your new cat home. 

This first vet visit should include an exam, and basic blood work is always helpful so that you have a baseline on overall health.

If the cat you are adopting does not already have one, get them microchipped in case they accidentally get out. Having a good picture of your cat on hand is super helpful as well. Although we don’t like to think of it, the reality is that over 10 million cats and dogs go missing in the US every year, and in all instances, time is of the essence. Being prepared to act quickly will significantly raises the likelihood of retrieving your pet.

Related Blog: When a Cat Goes Missing

Bringing a New Cat Home to Your Cat

You already have the necessities, and know the ropes, so how hard could it be? 

Surprisingly, introducing your cat to a new cat can be tricky, and the first step, before making a commitment should be assessing your current cat and their personality. Are they interested in other animals, will this cause them stress, or will having a companion bring them happiness and joy.

As you know your cat best, this will probably not be a big decision. Once you’ve decided to move forward with adopting a new cat, it may be tempting to get them together right away, but experts advise against this

The Importance of a Slow Intro

Taking things slowly in the beginning is important. Make sure each cat has their own private space, including their own beds, and their own litter boxes. Place toys or blankets in their beds, and after a few days, swap these items, placing them in the other cat’s bed. This will allow them to get used to each other’s scents while still in the safety of their own space.

Once both cats are showing relaxed behavior, you can allow them to see one another by keeping a door between them slightly open, or using a gate. From there, when they seem comfortable, you should begin to allow them together, but only while supervised. If either cat is exhibiting signs of stress, or if any altercations arise, you should separate them right away and use a barrier until they seem ready to interact again.

Although this slow introduction may seem tedious, and even unnecessary, cat experts all agree, this method is the most effective in developing trust between your cats, and ultimately a friendship and a bond that will enhance both their lives in many ways. 

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If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.

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