Bringing a brand new cat home is such an exciting time for pet owners. This excitement is compounded for first time pet owners. It is nearly impossible to be 100% prepared for your new companion’s arrival, but we will do our best to make sure you are on your way.
So, what are your goals in preparation for a new cat? Well, first and foremost, you want to provide a safe environment for the feline. Second, you want the feline to have a clean, healthy environment and thirdly, you want your new, four legged companion to feel comfortable. Being prepared with these goals in mind is the difference between a successful transition and a transition disaster. In this article you will learn everything you need to know about preparing your home for a new cat.
Environmental Tips for Your New Cat
The very first thing that you will need to do in preparation for a new feline, is to look at your house in the eyes of a curious felines. Have you ever heard the expression, “curiosity killed the cat?” Well, you won’t believe just how accurate that old saying really is. Open register vents, holes in the wall or duct work, and easy access to the furnace are all possible places a feline may mistake for safety. Felines naturally find small spaces comforting, so when she is in an unfamiliar place, she’s going to run to the nearest hole possible. That includes kitchen counters, shelves, closets and any other place that cat can fit into around the home. Therefore, before bring Fluffy home, make sure all holes are sealed, closets are closed and doors are installed in rooms that you would rather not pull Fluffy out of.
It’s natural cat behavior to climb, which usually ends up being on the shelf with all of your breakables. Before bring a new cat home, make sure your breakable items are either in an enclosed shelf or stored away. That way you won’t have to start off your cat-owner relationship by scolding Fluffy for breaking one of your favorite figurines.
Felines, especially young felines, have a tendency to chew on inappropriate objects that can be fatal to a cat. Electric wires, toxin plant and ant bait, are just a handful of examples veterinarians are presented with when a poisoned or electrocuted cat comes into the clinic. So, do your best to remove temptation by cover your exposed electric wires with tape and rugs/carpeting, remove plants from easy to reach areas in the home and never leave ant bait traps around the house.
Most important to remember on behalf of your furniture is the cat’s need to scratch. Because of this need, a cat’s claws need to be filed down, which is usually done on a tree, but inside your home Fluffy makes due with your living room couch. To avoid ruined furniture, distract Fluffy with a scratching post or pad. You can buy these or make one yourself, and encourage the act of scratching by sprinkling a bit of cat nip on it. Of course, you can always have Fluffy declawed too, but we really only suggest declawing if the cat will NEVER leave the home.
Making a break for it:
A new cat is in a new environment with new people, smells and sounds, so you should expect Fluffy to run at the first chance she gets. Prepare for this behavior by placing screens of your door and making sure all doors latch completely. Sometimes Fluffy is just too fast to catch and slips through your fingers, right out the door. That is why you cat should ALWAYS be wearing a collar with an ID tag, so when she is found she can be safely returned to you.
The Air: Keeping your home clean will actually help your cat stay healthier. The biggest health concerns vets face for indoor cats is air contaminants. Cigarette smoke, perfumes, air fresheners, insect repellent, hair spray and chemicals used for cleaning can all cause damage to your cat’s respiratory system. Try to avoid using any of these products inside the home or use them with proper ventilation. An air humidifier is also a great addition to the home to really keep these air contaminants at a minimum.
The Floors: If you have young children in the home, you will likely have little bit of their snacks on the floors and in the carpet. A cat may find these sweat treats tasty and gobble them down. Human food is not only bad for cats, but it can be toxic. The best way to avoid a toxic situation is vacuuming and sweeping at least once a week. Keeping a good vacuuming routine will also help when flea season comes around and those pests enter your home.
Household Comforts & Feline Necessities
A place of her own: Cats, especially a new cat, will want a place all of her own. A room kind of away from everyone is the perfect place to set up a bed, water and food for Fluffy. For the first couple days you will also want to set up the feline’s litter box here too until she feel more comfortable roaming around the home. After a couple weeks, you can move the litter pan and food dishes to an area that are more convenient for you, but make sure Fluffy knows where they are.
- Identification Tags
An ID tag should include your name, address and phone number.
Your cat’s collar, equipped with ID tag should be worn at all times.
- Litter Box
- Cat Litter
- Litter scoop
- Cat Food and water dishes
- Cat bed
- Scratching post or pad
- Cat brush
- Cat toys
Bringing your cat home for the very first time takes a bit of preparation, but being prepared is a whole lot better than not being prepared. Taking some time to look at your home through the eyes of a curious cat will give you the opportunity to remove possible temptation. Removing breakables that Fluffy could knock off the shelf and plants that could send Fluffy packing for the hospital, are easily things you can do to keep your new cat safe. Preparing your home for a cat can be the beginning of a healthy, happy relationship with your cat.
References: Humane Society, Pet Finder