It’s National Adopt a Cat Month, and if you know anything about us at Essington Road, you know this is right up our alley. Dr. Adam is a self-professed cat guy, and over the years we’ve had more than our fair share of felines pass through our doors on their way to new homes. For those of you looking to adopt a new cat this month, we’d like to send you a hearty congratulations on making one of the best decisions of your life! We also thought a little advice on how to start your new friendship off on the right paw would be timely, so we’ve outlined a few tips on bringing home a new cat below.
Prepare the essentials. Your new cat will need some basic supplies, and having them ready to go before bringing her home will make for an easier transition.
Litterboxes and litter. You’ll need a couple litter boxes (even if the cat will be going outside, they usually need to spend a few days in the house before doing so) to place around the house until she is in a solid routine, when you may be able to reduce the number of boxes. Start with some basic, large, open boxes placed in private (but easily accessible) areas. Start with an unscented, clay-based litter (the grey ones); some cats are picky about litter, but cats have a natural affinity for clay-based options. You can try other types later on, once she is fully settled.
Food and water dishes. Ceramic or stainless bowls are best; try to avoid plastic as they harbor microscopic food particles and bacteria. Place them in an area away from the litter and where your cat will have a view of her surroundings.
Food. If possible, use the same brand, formula, and flavor she was eating before you brought her home. After a few weeks you can gradually transition her to what you want to use long term. If you have to buy something different, go for a chicken and rice-based food that is relatively bland. Get a single option and keep it consistent to avoid upset stomachs. Canned food is generally a better option than dry at the start.
Beds. Give her a few spots to rest in her new environment. Offer a couple options that are elevated and a couple that are private (covered cat beds or teepee-styles) so she can choose where she feels most relaxed.
Provide a soft landing. For the first few days, he’ll appreciate a quiet introduction to his new home and life. Start him off in a limited area of the house for a couple days, then gradually open up more areas to him. Likewise, introduce new people gradually and quietly – the neighborhood kids can meet him soon enough, but for now, keep it to the immediate family so he doesn’t get overwhelmed. If you have other pets, also stage those introductions (check back for our next blog article, all about introducing cats into a home with other pets) to make sure they are successful.
Get a checkup. We know, we know—we’re the vet, so of course we recommend this. But really, it’s a good idea to get your new cat (or kitten) in to see the vet within the first week of being home. Rescue groups do a great job caring for the cats in their facilities, but depending on how long your new friend was with them, there may be additional vaccines or parasite treatments that need to be performed. It’s also a good way to get an initial “state of the union” on her health – does she have any infections that can be given to other pets or family members? What about a heart murmur or dental disease? All of these issues are common in cats and hitting the ground running with a plan will avoid heartache later on.
We can’t wait to meet your new additions! You can always share pictures with us by adding the hashtag #animalsofERAH to photos on social media, or by emailing them directly to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always happy to talk about your new addition before he comes home, too, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions before the adoption!