Tips For The New Family Member

Kitten’s First Day in the Home

These are simply best suggestions for integrating your new cat or kitten to your home. Every cat and kitten is different in how they adjust and warm up to their new environment. When first arriving home with your new feline family member, place the cat or kitten in a room that can be closed off to the rest of the home. This will allow him or her to explore a smaller surrounding that is not as overwhelming to them for a few days.

Within the first moments in the room, open the carrier and allow the cat or kitten to decide when he or she wishes to come out to explore. Leave the open carrier in the room if they do decide to explore so there is a safe retreat if they wish to go back at some point. Please see the resident pet introduction below if you already have a pet residing in your home.

Place the litter box in a corner and food and water away from the litter box.

Cats & Children

Slowly introduce family members to the new cat or kitten. Please teach younger children how to pet and hold the cat or kitten. Rough play will not only cause the cat to associate children with fear but could cause harm to the child or the pet. Animals will likely scratch the person(s) if they believe they are being harmed. They will choose to fight for their life even if the child believes they are simply having fun. It is best to supervise children during the first week with the new cat or kitten to determine if the child understands.

Kitten Proofing the Home

Once you have placed the cat or kitten in a safe room, inspect the house to determine what might be best removed or moved that may cause harm to the cat or kitten. Kittens, like children or puppies, are curious to see what they can place in their mouths, chew on, knock over, etc. They also are fascinated with strings and cords. Although most people assume giving a long string or yarn is fine to play with for a kitten, an unsupervised string with the cat or kitten is very dangerous. Many kittens and even some cats have been known to attempt to swallow and become choked with strings and yarn.

Remove bug traps, poisonous plants, and harmful chemicals away from a cat’s reach.

Keeping the toilet lid down is important so the kitten doesn’t fall into the water in the bowl.

Keep washer and dryer doors closed and remember to locate the cat or kitten before turning on any appliances that they could have entered while you were not watching. Cats and kitties are quite sneaky and are known for wanting to snuggle up in a warm environment like a dryer and are curious to see in a washing machine or dish washer.

Do not be surprised if a large inside plant has become the new litter box choice for your pet. It is best to eliminate any plants on the floor as foliage may be eaten causing illness or even death and the dirt may look just like a litter box to the cat or kitten.

Many kittens may find the smallest spaces you may never have discovered. These places may not be discovered until your furry feline finds it first. If the space is not safe for the kitten, block the entry point off after removing him or her. Remember, kitten proofing a home is only temporary. As they mature, most kittens will lose interest in hazardous places or things in the home.

Vet Visit

Visiting your vet should be a priority within the first few days of adoption. Provide the vet with the folder given at the time of adoption by Sweet Faces Cat & Kitten Rescue. The folder contains important information your vet will need to see and retain regarding the spaying or neutering of the cat or kitten. The folder will also provide paperwork with the date of rabies vaccination and dates regarding deworming and flea and tick medication administration.  Need to find a vet in your area?      Try https://www.vetary.com/

 

 

Resident Cat Introduction

Placing the newly adopted kitten or cat in a safe and secure room is important especially if there is a cat currently residing in the home. Many resident cats may feel threatened by a new animal in the home. Allowing the cats to smell each other under the closed door will help to slowly introduce the felines without any possible aggressive confrontations. Visiting the vet within the first few days also will determine if there are any potential parasites that could be transmitted to the resident cat. Offer the resident cat extra attention to ensure they are not being replaced and there is no need to feel standoffish or become aggressive.

Place food bowls in front of each side of the door. The new kitten and resident cat will associate each other’s smell with something pleasant, such as food that is being offered. After a grace period of a few days, bring the kitten out to meet the resident cat in your arms. Allow the resident cat to see the new kitten in your arms and determine his or her reaction. If aggressive acts begin, place the new kitten back in the room and try again in a few hours. If you have an old screen door, place it at the entryway to the secure room. This allows each cat to see one another but without any physical interaction. Over time, the resident cat will begin to adjust and see the new kitten as simply a member of the family. Do not leave the cats together alone without supervision until you are fully confident they will not become hostile.

Offering a cat tree or cat shelf may help the resident cat to retreat from the new kitten to have a bit of solitude.

Resident Dog Introduction

Placing the newly adopted kitten or cat in a safe and secure room is important especially if there is a dog currently residing in the home. The dog will be able to sniff under the door to determine what exactly is in the other room. After a grace period of a few days, slowly introduce the new cat or kitten to the resident dog to see how each will react. Do not leave the cat or kitten with the resident dog without supervision until you are fully confident any aggressive behavior will not occur.

Place a leash on the dog during the first visit to control any charging toward the cat or kitten. If hissing or growling of the cat occurs, attempt the interaction at another time when both animals are calm.

Remember to keep the dog away from the litter box as many will attempt to eat the litter and contents, which can cause the dog to become ill. If you decide to use a spare bathroom or bedroom as a location for the litter box, place a child gate in the doorway to keep any dogs from disrupting the cat during bathroom breaks and from eating the litter and feces. Dogs will also attempt to eat the cat’s food, which may cause digestive issues for the dog. Keep the cat’s food in a location that is up and away from the dog or in an area the dog cannot reach.

Offering a cat tree or cat shelf may help the kitten or cat feel safe if a dog is chasing him or her. Knowing there is a place to retreat may allow the cat or kitten to feel less stressed.

7 Reasons to Keep

Your Cat Indoors

Cats who live exclusively indoors live longer lives than cats living outdoors. Even cats who are allowed outdoors for certain periods of time do not live as long as indoor cats. There are various reasons why this is true.

 

  • Cats Hit By Vehicles: Cats who are allowed outdoors are at an increased risk of being struck by a vehicle. A cat may be chasing or being chased by something and not know a vehicle is coming towards them. If you are unaware of where your cat has gone even during a temporary period outdoors, you may not know the cat has been injured. The cat could need serious medical attention as soon as possible. Keeping them indoors ensures injury from a moving car does not occur.

 

  • Cat/Dog Fights: Cats are often very territorial and those who enter into another cat’s domain may increase the chance of fighting with other cats. Dogs and other animals may also attack cats regardless of how fast you believe your cat can run or climb a tree. Keeping your cat indoors decreases the chance of being attacked by other cats, dogs, coyotes or other wild animals.

 

  • Cat poisoning: Cats and even kittens may become interested in eating out of a trash can or catching a mouse roaming near the home. However, the mouse may have ingested rat poisoning causing the cat to also become poisoned if the feline eats the mouse. Poisoning can also come in the form of antifreeze from cars that can cause the death of your furry feline.

 

  • Stolen cat:  There are many people who simply wish to help a stray cat. If the neighbor does not know the cat is yours, the neighbor may simply keep the cat because they assume it needs a home.

 

  • Animal control: Neighbors also may contact animal control if they see your cat roaming the neighborhood assuming it is feral or a stray that may cause problems with their pets. Collars on cats are not always as effective as most think. Many collars may either come off during outdoor play or cause the cat to get caught and cause possible strangulation as they attempt to crawl over or under a fence or obstruction. Keeping your cat inside at all times will eliminate any chances the cat could be picked up by animal control.

 

  • Animal Cruelty: Many neighbors may attempt to be kind to your animal but some individuals are not so kind. Animal cruelty has occurred to many cats owned by individuals who allowed their pet to roam the neighborhood. Keeping your cat inside at all times will eliminate any chances the cat could be harmed by a cruel individual.

 

  • Sick Cat: When a pet that is allowed outdoors becomes ill, the owner of the animal may not know exactly what the cause may be. Not knowing the exact litter box habits, what food has been ingested, not knowing the quality of water consumed, and any consumption of poisons can cause a vet to experience difficulty properly diagnosing the cat.

References:

 

Hillestad, K. (2015). Bringing Home a New Cat or Kitten. Retrieved July 31, 2015, from http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1 2137&aid=2926

 

10 Tips For Bringing A New Kitten Home (2015). Retrieved July 31, 2015, from http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/10-give-it-time/

 

Johnson-Bennett, P. (2015). 12 Reasons To Keep Your Cat Indoors. Retrieved August 7, 2015, from

http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/12-reasons-to-keep-your-cat-indoors/