Thank you for adopting one of our cats. It is a kind, caring thing you are doing, to welcome a cat into your home, a cat that may never truly have known what a home really is before. We wish you many happy years together.
Below are a few suggestions to help you help your cat transition into its new home. Obviously, we don’t endorse any particular product, but below are suggestions for things members of the team have used with their cats.
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A cat’s Wishlist:
Feliway Plug-in diffuser- helps with anxiety, lessen stress.
Feliway Spray – spray bedding a few days before arrival
Broadreach Nature Relax and Calm Care. A non-sedative to help reduce stress/aid transition.
Verm-X treats – supports intestinal health & balance
A sturdy cat carrier for safe transport
Please consider investing in a robust cat carrier that is top loading – it’s easier to handle getting the cat in and out, otherwise you risk getting scratched. Please DO NOT attempt to make a carrier yourself, as cats are great escape artists. Some useful additional advice can be found here: https://www.cathealth.com/behavior/travel/2129-choosing-a-cat-carrier
Tilted feeding bowl – good for posture
Fortiflora probiotic – to help settle the stomach.
We would also suggest: a scratching post; a variety of stimulating toys; igloos or different types of bedding; cat tunnels or climbers. And obviously you will need several feeding bowls so that you can give the cat a clean bowl each meal, plus a couple of water bowls throughout the home. Water should be changed daily.
You may also want to try a hooded litter tray, which can help minimise the smell of used litter. Consider introducing the cat to it gradually – first leave the tray open, like a normal tray, then put the cover on, but leave the flap out. Once the cat figures that it’s safe to go in the tray, and uses the tray with the hood on, consider putting the flap on. Be prepared that the cats might not like the flap on, and might not use the tray, which could result in small accidents around the home. If you sense the cat might not get the hang of the flap, perhaps just leave the hood on without the flap, or try again the next day.
Example of cat hooded litter tray:
And good quality cat litter.
In most instances your cat will be brought to your home. On rare occasions, we may ask you to collect your cat from a meeting point. Whichever the situation, you will need a secure cat carrier for handover. You need to hand it to the driver, who will put your cat inside your carrier inside the van – so there is no chance of them escaping. You can then carry your cat safely into your home.
If you have purchased Feliway spray, spray the carrier and bedding a day or two before your cat arrives. This will help to reduce their stress at being transported and finding themselves in a new place.
- Once inside your home:
For the first day/night, place the carrier in a quiet room, away from the main living area. Tie the door to the carrier open and retreat, allowing the cat to come out when they are ready.
Have clean, fresh water available and a little food, plus a clean litter tray. Make sure the food is on the opposite side of the room to the litter tray.
IMPORTANT: Please make sure all doors to the outside world and all windows are shut and remain shut. If you have a cat door, this must remain locked for a period of 4/6 weeks. You will need to be extremely vigilant for the first few days and weeks because a nervous cat will take any opportunity to escape.
Your new companion may be very nervous and shy in those early days. They may sleep for longer periods than you would expect – please don’t be alarmed. In those first few days they will be recovering from the sheer exhaustion of being on transport – they may well have hardly slept.
They will also be finding their new surroundings, and you, very stressful. It is at this point the diffusers and supplements will help them to learn to relax and de stress.
Please be patient and give them time to acclimate. Let them come to you when they are ready.
Keep your cat indoors for a period of 4/6 weeks when they first come to live with you, until they are totally settled and confident around you.
- Introducing your cat to resident pets.
If you have other cats, it’s probably best just to let them sort themselves out. Possibly keep your resident cat(s) away for the first night, but after that allow them access to one another. Our cats are used to other cats, and may even welcome being with other cats in their new home.
If you have a dog/dogs, leave the cat quiet for the first day and night, or longer depending on the confidence of the cat.
Use a baby gate to stop your dog(s) accessing the cat while it becomes acclimated. If your dog(s) shows curiosity, but is calm and non threatening, reward with a treat and praise.
Consider “swapping scents” – either take an item that has the scent of one resident animal and put it in the same room as your new cat, or move the animals between rooms safely, without them seeing each other. Some people suggest that you put a used cat litter tray where the dog(s) can get used to the smell, but you may not wish to do this! Dogs can be tempted to chew the litter and can get sick.
When you are ready to introduce your cat to your dog(s), introduce each dog one at a time, on a lead and under your control. Treat and praise your dog if it reacts calmly and does not attempt to chase your cat. If they don’t react well, continue to keep them separate with the use of a baby gate or any other secure separation means, that would allow them to see each other in a safe environment.
Always ensure your cat can get away from your dog. They may jump to higher ground or go to a different room and jump up out of the way. Do not let your dog(s) chase a cat.
During the 6 weeks inside you can train your cat ready for the day when they go out.
If you are going to try them on a cat specific harness and lead, you can get them used to it indoors. Start by playing with the harness with your cat, and then slowly try putting it on them for very short periods. If they like treats give them a treat when they are wearing a harness.
Get them comfortable wearing the harness before you then add the lead. Again, play with them with the lead first, to get their scent on it. And when you first attach it, do not try and move them with it. Just give them time to get used to you holding it.
Once they are comfortable being walked around the home, then you can take them outside on the harness and lead.
During this 6 weeks you can also train them to link a specific sound to food. So, for example, each time you put food down, you can shake a jar of pennies. Or the Go Cat box. Then you can use this to call them back once they start going outside.
When it is time to allow your cat access to the garden, take them out on their cat specific harness and lead and spend time with them in the garden. Do this for a period of a week or so until they get used to the garden, the smells and noises.
When you do finally let the cat outside, do so without the lead and harness and ensure the cat is wearing a well-fitting, quick release collar with a tag that has your contact details on.
Let the cat out near to their normal feeding time and supervise them in the garden. If they go over the fence, leave them for a moment or two and then call them back and feed them. Have some high value, strong smelling food available to tempt them with such as sardines or prawns. Rattling their dry food or banging feed bowls may even encourage them home.
Continue to let them out near to their normal feeding time and supervise them in the garden for a few days or longer, until you feel confident that they will find their way home.
If your cat will not accept a harness and lead, you can still follow the above, but you will not have the same control.
If you do not have a cat door, please ensure there is somewhere safe and dry your cat can take shelter if they are shut outside when you go out for any length of time. As preference, try to ensure your cat is indoors, with access to a litter tray, if you are going to be away from home for several hours.
Make sure your cat is in the home overnight. Sadly, many cats are run over and killed on roads at night.
It is also a good idea to introduce your cat to your neighbours, or at least let your neighbours know you have a cat and what they look like. That way, if a strange cat appears in their garden, they will know it belongs to you and will not be tempted to feed it!
An indoor only cat:
If your cat is not to be let outside, you will need to provide mental and physical stimulation. Climbing towers are great, as are tunnels, and toys that encourage activity, such as a feather on a pole.
Having said that, cats often enjoy just looking out of the window and you can provide as many igloos and soft blankets as you like, they will, no doubt, choose to sleep on your pile of clean washing 😀
When your cat is due to visit the vet, try and put cushioning such as a blanket in the cat carrier before putting the cat in – perhaps even a blanket with their scent on, or some calming spray, to try and help keep them calm. Once the cat is in the carrier, consider covering the carrier with a blanket, to help keep the cat calm. If driving to the vet, secure the carrier with a seatbelt, and drive gently. Any walking you do with the carrier needs to be slow and steady, with as little swinging motion as possible. Some more advice can be found here: https://icatcare.org/advice/taking-your-cat-to-the-vet/
We sincerely hope you enjoy life with your new companion.