Bringing a new kitty home is an exciting experience! This post will help you prepare with everything your new family member will need.
Preparing the home:
Some cats break the rule, but felines naturally find a change of scenery to be extremely stressful at first. In nature, they are easy prey, so when they move to a new space, their instincts may kick in. This can lead to your cat getting in trouble or accidentally escaping if you don’t “kitty proof” first. We’ve heard so many stories of kitties pushing window screens or going up the chimney on the first night.
Here’s some tips for cat proofing:
- Making sure screens in windows don’t have any holes in them, and can’t be pushed off easily.
- All unsupervised access to the outdoors should be closed. This could be pet doors, chimneys or open windows with no screen.
- Look around the house. Does anything look potentially harmful for a cat? Check around for plastic wrappers, cat toxic plants, loose strings, etc.
- Check for gaps underneath kitchen cabinets, or places where your kitty could get trapped and not be retrieved easily. Block these areas before the kitty arrives.
The safe room. Your cat’s “Home Base”:
It is best to introduce a cat to one room at a time, ideally only showing them a new room once they’ve acclimated to the first one. Even if your house is small, this is highly beneficial to reduce overwhelm and to help them feel safer.
Think of where you’ll want the litter box to be. This is usually a good room to establish as the safe room because the cat will know very well where the litter box is and where he should go once he’s introduced to the rest of the house. Bathrooms or bedrooms are good home base rooms.
This room should have a litter box, water, food and perhaps some toys and a comfy blanket. Additionally, make sure there’s no hiding spots where you wouldn’t be able to easily retrieve your kitty.
Signs that your cat is ready to explore a new room:
- Not hiding anymore
- Relaxed body language, no hissing or walking low to the ground.
- Walking or laying on top of the furniture, as opposed to hiding underneath it.
- Walking up to greet you when you enter the room.
- Eating their meals normally
- Using the litter box
If your kitty looks upset or scared in any way, just give them a few more days and they'll soon start showing positive acclimation signs!
Sometimes it’s good to bring the cat back to the safe room for the first few nights if they seem nervous and uncomfortable while exploring the rest of the house.
It may take some work and patience, but your kitty will soon be comfy and happy at home!
Hooray, it’s time for SHOPPING!
You’re going to need a carrier! There’s different sizes, so remember how large or small your new kitty is. If you’re adopting a young cat, get a bigger one so you can use it later when they’re fully grown. We highly suggest getting one that you’ll be able to use later on for vet visits, travel and moving. We do not recommend a cardboard one, as many cats can break out of them very easily and it’s not safe, even for the trip home. This is our favorite carrier:
It is always a good idea to check with the rescue or foster what kind of food your new kitty has been eating so far. And if there’s a specific brand you’d like to feed them, make sure to get a few cans of their current food and slowly transition to the desired brand. Switching foods gradually will ensure your kitty doesn’t arrive at a new home and get a stomach ache all within the same day! Having the same food will also reduce stress for your kitty. If you need ideas on good wet foods for after they've acclimated, this is one of our favorites:
Cats use scratching posts not only to sharpen and file their nails, they also use them to stretch their amazing little muscles! We recommend you get your kitty a tall scratcher (sisal rope is usually the preferred texture) as well as a couple of other shapes to keep them entertained and away from the furniture. It would also be good to get one cardboard scratcher to give your cat options. They also like sitting on the cardboard scratchers. It’s good to have a couple of different ones around the house to keep your cat happy and uninterested in that couch :)
Here’s some ideas on cool scratchers and cat furniture. But this is our favorite!
If you’re concerned about your new cat scratching your furniture, we recommend getting a spray called “Boundaries”.
You can spray it on the couch, chairs or whatever furniture item you don’t want the cat to become fond of, and it’ll keep him/her away. Spraying their cat furniture with a catnip spray to attract them will be the purrfect “no to this, yes to that” approach, which works well on cats.
Food and Water bowls:
Cats usually benefit from wider and more shallow bowls than other pets. We’re serious, their whiskers are very sensitive. There’s a real thing called “whisker stress” which makes some cats avoid their food bowls if they’re too deep. LOL!! These are some bowls that we like!
It’s a good idea to have the litter box in a quiet area of the house with easy access. Cats don’t like litter boxes being moved around, so we recommend thinking about placement and trying to stick to that, at least for the first few days until they’ve become familiar with your house.
As far as litter, our recommendation is to ask the rescue what litter your kitty has been on, because that’s one big thing you don’t want to surprise them with! Kitties can be very specific with their litter, and the least thing we want is to confuse them. If you have a specific kind that you wish to use, you can transition the kitty gradually over the course of a few days, keeping an eye out for any complaints from your cat.
A lot of people use clumping clay, which works fine. Whatever you get, just don’t try the scented ones. Many cats dislike them because the scents are too strong. Just scoop it often and you will both be happy :)
Toys & Bedding:
We recommend having three kinds of toys:
- Wand toys or teasers.
- Kickers. These are great because they’re usually the perfect size for them to bite and kick them, something they’d do with prey in the wild. They LOOOVE them! We offer super cute ones at our store, by the way :)
- Fake mice and crinkle balls, to bat around.
- A brush. We recommend one that’s called the Furminator. It’s amazing for once a week brushing to reduce shedding. A regular slicker brush for daily grooming is great to have as well.
Shopping is very fun, but save a little bit for after your kitty has arrived. Cats have different personalities and enjoy different things. Getting to know your kitty’s preferences first will help you shop for things they will actually enjoy and most importantly, use!
Welcome home, kitty!