If you know you want to adopt a cat, make sure you have all the supplies needed for your cat to feel at home before you adopt. This will include basics such as a cat carrier, litter box, litter, food and water bowls, cat food, toys, etc. If you already have a cat and are bringing another one into your home, make sure to have separate items for the new pet. Cats can become very territorial about their belongings and you could cause unneeded competition or fighting between your pets if you try to force them to share immediately.
Cat Proof Your Home
From poisonous plants to exposed cords, there are many hazards that can be harmful to your new pet. Before you adopt, make sure you cat-proof your home. Get rid of hazardous plants, pack away fragile items that could easily be knocked over by a curious cat, haves screens in doors and windows so your cat can’t get out and hide cords that could be chewed on by your pet.
Create a Safe Space
When you are introducing a new cat into your home, start small. If you just let the cat loose from the start, your home may seem a little too overwhelming for your furry friend. For the first few days, create a smaller space for your pet to live in such as a laundry room or spare bathroom. Make sure to furnish this room with what your cat will need such as a litter box, food, water and toys. As they become accustomed to this space, slowly begin to introduce other spaces to them.
Identify Your Cat
When adopting a cat it is important to make sure they are identified. Especially when they first arrive to a new home, they may be scared and wanting to run away. When a pet is adopted from the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, it is already microchipped. However, if your cat is not microchipped, you should stop in and get this quick and easy thing done as soon as possible. The whole process only takes a few minutes and no appointment is needed. It is one of the best ways to ensure that if your pet gets lost, it is returned safely to you. In addition, make sure to have a collar and identification tag on your cat.
Introduce New Cats Slowly
If you already have a dog or cat, introduce your new cat to them slowly. First step would be to let your new pet interact with your old pet slowly. Let them sniff noses, touch each other, but no full-body contact. When you are not home, you should continue to keep your pets isolated from each other. Once everyone is comfortable with this step, open up the isolation room to your pets. Don’t make a big deal out of it, but just let them happen upon each other. Watch from the sidelines to see how they interact. Your older pets may follow around the new ones, which is a typical territorial behavior. With time, hostilities will lessen and cats will start to get along. Just be patient and continue to work with them. If a full cat fight occurs, go back to step one and extend this process for a little longer. The slower your transition, the easier it will be for everyone involved.
Do you have a question for Brian? E-mail him at AskBrian@hsdayton.org. Brian Weltge is the President and CEO of the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. The Humane Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to building loving relationships between people and pets. Founded 112 years ago, it is the largest and most established “no-kill” animal welfare agency in the area. It focuses on pet adoptions, eliminating pet overpopulation, providing education and ensuring the humane treatment of animals. For more information about the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, call 937-268-PETS (7387) or visit www.hsdayton.org.