Preparing For Kitty
Bringing a new cat into your house:
Have you been approved for adoption? Congratulations! We wish you and your new feline companion many happy years together.
Here are some essential things to make your introduction and life together successful
A room with a door
When you bring a new cat into your home, you should keep them in seclusion. On average 1-2 days is sufficient, but many of our cats are quite shy and may need 1-4 weeks to become confident enough to move around your home and become familiar with you.
Cat-proofing the room (and your house)
Tidy up the area and make sure there is nothing the cat can eat, being aware of things they might eat like loose string, hair elastics, paper clips, etc.
Secure cords (phone charger, electrical plugs, window coverings) as they could be chewed or a strangulation risk.
Put away delicate or precious items.
Minimize the places a cat can hide. Consider blocking access to the undersides and backs of furniture with a towel or cardboard. Inspect the room for any gaps in the drywall. Laundry rooms and basements are notoriously bad for small openings and gaps in the drywall.
Secure screens and consider only partially opening them or adding an additional barrier if you leave your windows open. A wire shelf cut to size and secured in the tracks can be an effective barrier. An exited cat can easily pop out a screen or open a shutter.
Many plants are poisonous to cats and some, like lilies, can be fetal within a few hours of ingesting them, even a small amount. Remove plants and dispose of poisonous plants like lilies and philodendrons. If you are ever unsure, do an internet search for “plant name & cat & poison”. When in doubt, throw it out
All cats should be feed a good quality, mid-priced, age appropriate wet and dry food. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need most of their calories from animal protein. It’s best to select a food that has animal protein as the top ingredient(s), and ones with fewer by-products, fillers and carbohydrates like corn.
AVA recomends you continue to feed the cat the food they are used to eating until they settle into the new environment – a new home is a big change without changing their diet as well. You should have at least one week’s worth of their current wet and dry food.
If you have a preferred brand of food you plan to feed the cat, it is best to slowly transition to the new food, starting with 100% current food and gradually adding more new food to the mix.
Wet food should be given everyday. It helps cats stay properly hydrated and helps avoid health problems like urinary tract infections and kidney disease.
An adult cat should eat around 1/4 to 1/3 cup of kibble (depending on brand) and 3 oz of wet food each day. Avoid an overfilling bowl to prevent overeating and obesity.
Kittens should eat as much food as they want but do not give more than 1-2 oz of wet food once a day to avoid diarrhea
Keep treats on hand to reward good behaviour and build a bond between you and your cat, but remember: treats don’t equal love and should be used sparingly.
Avoid kibble that can be purchased at the grocery store. It is generally poor quality and contains filler and byproduct. Eating a poor quality diet over a long period of time can cause urinary crystals which may require surgery and can have tragic results if not caught in time.
Cats need at least three dishes
- One for water (large)
- One for kibble
- One for wet food
Dishes should be metal or ceramic. Plastic is difficult to clean, can harbour bacteria, and cause or aggravate kitty acne. A second (or third) set comes in handy if you use a dishwasher or are not be able to wash between uses.
A litter box + 1
You will need a litter box for the secluded room, but you should always have one litter box for each cat in your home and an extra one for the house, ideally in different locations. Litter should be scooped daily
We us unscented, clumping litter. If you decide to use another type, keep a litter box of clumping available until the cat gets used to the new type. Avoid scented litter as most cats do not like it.
Don’t forget a scooper and bags! Dog waste bags are a convenient option.
Scratching is a healthy, natural and necessary behaviour for cats. It stretches their backs and chests, helps remove loose nail sheaths, and also leaves their scent behind so they feel ownership of the territory, which is key to their confidence. Plus it feels good!
Get to know your cat: does he/she like to scratch vertically, horizontally, or on an incline? All three? Does your cat prefer rope, carpet, cardboard? All three?
Tall, sturdy posts are a safe bet, as are posts with sisal rope.
If your furniture is getting unwanted scratching, try having multiple posts, rub cat nip on the post to attract the cats, and putting a post in front of the furniture can correct the behaviours.
Cat Tree/Condo and beds
A cat tree, especially one near a window can provide hours of entertainment.
Kitty Condos and Beds. Cat trees and condos offer an additional, appropriate place to scratch, but importantly, it gives them vertical height to feel confident and just to survey their domain. It’s also gives them a sense of ownership of a space in the home.
Cats also love cozy places to curl up and nap – this could be as simple as a shoe box with a soft blanket or towel or a luxurious cat bed.
Toys and Accessories
Make play time fun! Cats love to interact with their families. It helps expend their energy in a positive way (keeping them out of trouble), and also builds the bond between you and your cat. Try some wand toys that have feathers or mice on the end. Also provide some self-play toys like catnip mice and other suitable toys.
Check toys regularly to make sure there are no loose bits the at could swallow. Repair or discard any damaged toys.
Ensure you have a good cat comb/brush (or a few until you know which type your cat prefers), nail clippers for bi-weekly trims, and a sturdy cat carrier for trips to the vet.
Cat grass can be a nice treat and provide some added fibre to their diet.
Many cats enjoy loose cat nip and cat nip toys. It is harmless and enjoyable for the cat and can ask as both a stimulant and sedative. Monitor your cat the first few times you give them cat nip as it can occasionally cause aggression in multi-cat homes
Read up on appropriate play, common medical issues, healthy scratching and other educational items on our Cat 101 page