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Yay! You have a new cat! Or maybe you are about to get a cat and you are just planning ahead (good for you). Either way it is important to create a smooth transition for your new family member. These are our steps to help your new cat fit in right away!
Let Them Chill
Once your cat comes home you will want to give them some space. Make sure they know where the litter box is (put them right next to it immediately) but then let them explore. Give them places to hide. A cat bed or tree are good options but when my kittens came home they were happy to run back in their “cat box” from the shelter when they got overwhelmed.
I am also a big proponent of Feliway and other pheromones products. They are an easy way to help your cats feel a little calmer. I always spray it in their carriers to help calm them down and I think it is also great to put a difuser in a place wherever they spend a lot of time (ours is in the litterbox area)
Take Them To the Vet
Once you have finalized the adoption or otherwise brought your cat into your house you will want to take them to the vet. It is important to find a vet that is compassionate, highly trained and also in a practice that is cat friendly. Most shelters will advise you to go to the vet in the first two weeks. If your cat is not already spayed or neutered make sure to get to your vet as soon as possible.
It is important to see the vet to get a baseline of you cat’s health. You should bring any paperwork, including immunization records, that you have from the shelter or previous owner. You will talk to the vet about general and past health, feeding, litter box habits, and future vaccines and appoinments. Depending on the history they may also do blood work, stool sample or occasionally, depending on the age, get a urine sample.
If your cat does not already have a microchip it is imperative that you get one for your cat. In the unlikely event your cat gets lost and does not have a collar on they can be scanned when found and your contact information will be linked to the chip. Animal control, vets and some local police departments have chip scanners. While you think your new cat will never get out they might.
Right after we moved five years ago Nemo got out while I was bringing groceries through the garage one evening. We could not find her for eight days. We live in a small suburb and using the Nextdoor app people kept seeing her in the neighborhood but no one could catch her. Eventually someone reported her to public safety as wandering around a construction site.
Nemo is a sort of a weird cat in that she responds to whistling by meowing and coming to you. Luckily I was able to wander the area whistling and eventually she popped out a bush ready to go home. Long story short- microchip your cat because if someone else had been able to catch her they could have scanned her and returned her to us.
Set The New Cat Up For Success
The next step is easy: love your new cat! Make sure you have food, litter, some toys, a treat or two and a comfy place to lay and they will be okay. Depending on their personality and history they may jump right into your lap or take a while to adjust. As always make sure you are patient and respect your cats boundaries. Adopting a cat is a process and it may take a little bit of time for you to find your vibe together but cats are amazing, lovable companions and a great addition to any home.