12 Ways to Get Your Home Ready For a New Cat
So, you’re adopting a new cat – how exciting! Just like people, cats need food, shelter, warmth, and love. We’re sure you have the love part covered! However, your new family member might be overwhelmed by all the exciting changes. Here’s what you can do to help ensure they are comfortable in their new home, rather than stressed.
- Cats need to feel safe. For most kitties, feeling safe means they can anticipate threats – real or imagined! Being able to observe from the top of a cat tree or around a corner allows kitty a chance to hide or remove themselves from danger.
- Cats also prefer a quiet, undisturbed place to sleep or take a break from the hustle and bustle of the house, like a cozy bed, or on top of a bookshelf, in an area of your home that is less busy.
- Your new kitty will probably be used to eating a particular food. Find out the brand of food they have been eating, as well as the amount, from the organization you are adopting from. If you are planning to change the food they eat, take time to transition to the new food gradually. For tips on how to change your cat’s food, check out this article.
- Cats prefer to eat and drink in a quiet place. Bowls with small amounts of food should be placed in a number of different places around your home. Toys that act as feeding puzzles are really useful because kitty can interact with their food and can’t eat too much at one time. Check out Food Puzzles for Cats to learn more.
- Cats need fresh water available throughout the house. Food and water bowls should be placed away from each other, rather than side by side. Change the water daily and clean the bowl or water fountain frequently.
- Litter boxes should be easy to get to, not hidden away. They need to be scooped at least once a day – no feline likes an unflushed “toilet” any more than we do. The ideal litter box does not have a hood or lid, as that makes the cat feel trapped. It should be about 1.5X the length of an adult cat. Underbed or gift wrap storage boxes work especially well. Litter should be similar to sand or soil – unscented clumping clay litters are generally accepted by most cats.
- Scratching posts or wall mounted boards must be sturdy, and they shouldn’t wiggle too much or move when used. Losing their balance when they are really getting into a scratch might make a cat choose a chair or sofa. Position the scratching post or cat tree in a part of your home where the rest of the family spends their time.
- Cat trees by the window provide a bed, a vantage point, entertainment, and a scratching surface all in one.
- Choose safe toys without hooks, or small bits to swallow, and supervise the use of wands with long strings. Some felines have a preference for certain kinds of toys, such as toys that resemble birds or mice. Switch out toys to keep them exciting, leaving out only one or two at a time.
- As the saying goes, cats are curious. They like to investigate, so it is up to us to make sure that they don’t get into things that could harm them. That means not leaving hair elastics, ribbons, wool, or wires around to be chewed or possibly swallowed. Cleaning products and medications should also be stored where they can’t get into them.
- In order to get your new kitty home safely, you need a carrier. Carriers with a removable top are best, as they allow you to get your cat in and out of the carrier without scaring them. The carrier should be placed on the floor behind the front seat in the car, where it will be secure in the event of an accident, as well as away from airbags.
- Prepare a room that will be just for them for the first few days. In this room, you should have a litter box, food and water bowls (placed in separate areas of the room), a scratching post, and a place to perch and hide. This room will help your new kitty feel safe as they adjust to their new environment.
Last but not least, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Most cats usually have at least some of their vaccinations before you adopt them, but it’s still important to bring your cat for their first visit with your veterinarian. The veterinarian will do a physical exam and make suggestions for any preventive care your cat may need. Visiting the vet while your cat is happy will help make it a positive, lasting relationship.
Getting ready to welcome a new cat home is exciting! Make sure to join us on Facebook, where we share tips, advice, and answer questions about cats every day!