Bringing Home a New Cat

Congratulations! You adopted a cat from the Delaware County Providence Animal Center .

No doubt you’re looking forward to years of happy companionship. But what do you do now?

Be prepared

Before bringing your new furball home, outfit your home with all the supplies you could possibly need:

  1. Always use a cat carrier when transporting your pet.
  2. Outfit your cat with a breakaway collar and visible ID that includes your name, address, and telephone number. Your newly adopted cat also has a microchip, which also ensures you will get him/her back, should you get separated.
  3. Feed your cat a nutritionally balanced diet and provide fresh water 24/7. Educate yourself on your cat’s nutritional needs, or ask your veterinarian for advice on what and how often to feed your pet.
  4. Keep the litter box clean. Cats are naturally fastidious, and most will instinctively use a litter box; you just have to show yours where it is. Scoop the box at least once daily and periodically wash it with dish liquid and hot water. Because cats also value privacy, place the litter box in a convenient but quiet spot. Also, cats are creatures of habit and if you suddenly switch to another litter or don’t keep the box clean, he may not use it.
  5. Groom your cat often. All cats, whether long- or short-haired, should be brushed regularly to keep their coats and skin healthy, prevent matting, and reduce shedding and hairballs. They also need to have their claws clipped to keep them from growing into their paw. Grooming is a good opportunity to discover any lumps, fleas, injuries, etc., and bond with your kitty.
  6. Make time to play and provide entertainment. Cats often entertain themselves, but regular play sessions with your pet will provide him with the physical and mental stimulation he needs and strengthen the bond you share. Give him toys and scratching posts to distract him from your household goods. Cats love to play and will appreciate simple and inexpensive toys. Ping-Pong balls and opened paper bags (remove the handles) can provide hours of fun. A comfortable perch by a window can become your cat's very own entertainment and relaxation center. Rotate toys to maintain your cat's interest in them. You might want to invest in a kitty condo or cat tree—a structure typically covered in carpet or sisal (a rough material cats love to scratch) where your cat can climb, stretch and hide out to his heart's content, and watch the world go by. But the best two things you can provide your cat with are love and playtime.
  7. Most cats can be taught not to scratch the couch, eat plants, or jump up on the kitchen counter. With repeated, gentle and consistent training, your cat will learn the house rules. Don't yell or hit him. Use a squirt gun, whistle, or other noisemaking device to startle (not scare) your cat if you catch him doing something you don’t like. (A little stomp on the floor works very well for some cats). Remember to provide a suitable alternative to meet his needs, for example a scratching post, cat grass, and a kitty condo.
  8. Upon arrival
  9. After the ride home, he will, most likely, not be in the mood for fun. To make his transition to your household as comfortable as possible, select a quiet, closed-in area, such as your bedroom or a small room away from the main foot traffic, and provide him with a litter box, food and water, toys, and a scratching post.

Let your new pet become acquainted with that limited area for the first few days. Be sure to spend plenty of time with him in that room, but if he’s hiding under the bed, don’t force him to come out. If necessary, sit on the floor to talk to him and offer treats. Let him sniff all your belongings and investigate all the hiding places.

The first week
Over a few days, slowly introduce him to the rest of your house, including the other pets and household members. Make sure he always has access to “his” room so he can retreat to it if he feels nervous. It will take a little while, but he'll eventually start to feel comfortable at home.

Cats vary in terms of how demanding they are as pets, so let yours guide you to the level of attention he wants, whether it's your hand for petting, or your lap for sitting. Provide him with the necessary creature comforts, and give him the companionship he seeks, and he'll be content.

Be loyal to and patient with your cat. Make sure your expectations of your companion are reasonable, and remember that most problems have a solution. If you’re struggling with your pet's behavior, learn how to solve problems with humane and effective techniques. We here at Providence Animal Center are here to help, so never hesitate to call or email us!