Deciding to adopt a cat can be a rewarding and exciting time for families and individuals. To ensure as smooth a transition as possible, there are several things you should consider upon bringing their newest feline family member home. Dr. Robyn Jaynes, a veterinarian and pet care expert at PetSmart, shares her tips on how to best welcome home a newly adopted cat.
Select a vet: You should identify a veterinarian early on, so they can begin regular checkups and vaccinations. Choose a vet in close proximity, for convenience and quick response in case of emergency. Ask neighbors or relatives who live close by and have cats for recommendations and referrals.
Go slow: Coming into a new home can be overwhelming, so it's important to give your cat the space and time to get comfortable. Pick a room or area of the house you can section off for your new cat to make his or her own. Slowly increase exposure to the rest of the house and your two- and four-legged family members over the first few days, giving the cat time to get comfortable and slowly integrate into the rest of the household.
Make time to play: Cats instinctively like to climb, scratch and chase. You should purchase toys, furniture or scratching posts for around the house that let their cat practice these natural behaviors without being destructive. Toys filled with catnip can be particularly helpful in drawing cats away from other items in the house to their own toys, and cat furniture is available in all sizes to address their climbing instincts.
Watch the water: Cats are finicky when it comes to drinking water so purchasing a water system that filters water can be an easy solution to prevent dehydration. This tip is especially important early on, when a cat may be stressed in his or her new environment and might not drink or eat normally. Specialty retailers have hydration systems available that filter water automatically, continually providing fresh-tasting water for cats. If an automatic water filter solution is not available, you should be sure to freshen the cat's water at least daily.
Find their preference: It's important that a cat maintain a healthy diet, and choosing a food that your cat will enjoy eating that also provides quality nutrition is important. You may need to try a variety of options, including wet and dry varieties to find the right choice for taste and nutrition.
Litter box success: While cats are finicky about their food and water, they are equally or in many cases, more finicky about their litter boxes. Cats need to feel comfortable using this space. Select a quiet location that your cat can easily access, and you may need to try a couple different types of boxes, as well as litter brands, to allow your cat to select his or her favorite litter, encouraging consistent use from the outset. Regardless of the box and litter type, it is important that the box be kept clean, and it's best that in multiple-cat families, there are multiple boxes.
To learn more about cat care, stop by your local PetSmart store to speak with a pet care expert, or visit petsmart.com.