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- Owning a new cat is really exciting, but it can be really scary for the animal. How will you approach the cat on your first introduction and what measures will you have in place to allow the cat to feel welcome in the new home? Have about 2-3 litter trays around the home. Same with food bowls, have 2-3 food bowls placed at various heights. Some in open space, some in a quiet area. Enrichment toys, such as cat scratch posts, climbers, catnip toys, food puzzles. Keep the cat inside for at least 6 weeks so that the cat has the chance to decompress and get used to their new home and build up trust with the new owners. Keep the environment reasonably quiet. Wait for the cat to approach you. If you go in to pick up the cat or stroke the cat, this can be quite scary for a cat and it may run off. If you need to help encourage your cat, gently throw some chicken treats towards your cat, and for every other treat, let it land a little bit further away from the cat, but closer to you. Once the cat is near you, don’t go in straight away for a pet, keep dropping the chicken treats around you, on you and see if the cat will take the chicken from your hand. Spend time repeating this try and not to rush. Once the cat is feeling more confident at being by your side then you can try and pet your cat but go for the top of the head and neck area. And remember that less is more.
- How will you introduce your current pets to your new cat? If possible provide a safe, secure room away from other animals for your new cat. Allow the other animals to sniff the door area. Swap their bedding so that they each get to smell the other. After the first week (this also helps to allow the new cat to decompress) remove the current pets (do this at least once a day) ie take them out for a walk – place them in a secured room/garden and allow your new cat to explore their new environment. This will also help spread the cats aroma around the house so that the current pets get used to the smell being in other areas. Introduce the cat to your current pets one at a time, in a safe, secure environment. If you have a dog, have the dog on the lead at first, and reward your dog for being calm. Then introduce them all at the same time but allow the new cat somewhere safe to retreat to.
- How will you keep your cat happy and engaged for those first 6 weeks or if it is to be an indoor only cat? Scratch posts, various climbing posts. Various toys. Enrichment food puzzles. Boxes.Viewing spots such as wall shelves.
- How will you introduce your cat to the outdoors? Slowly. Spend about 2-3 weeks building your cat up to be in the garden. During the 6 weeks your cat is indoors, get them used to wearing a cat harness and lead, and when ready, walk around the garden together. Optional – you can also attach a ground post (often used for dogs) and attach the cat to that so he can spend some time outside. As you come back into the house, shake your cat’s biscuit box and feed your cat his dinner. Doing this every time you go out into the garden with your cat and come back in, will help encourage your cat to come back in when called. Go out in the garden with nothing attached to your cat, play with your cat and then come back in shaking the cat box, and then feed him his dinner. Be brave and let your cat out for half an hour before it’s his dinner time. This helps to teach the cat that this is his new home and that this is where he gets fed. You can have a collar on cats that says ‘ please do not feed’ as well as a pet tracker.
- A cat has scratched your furniture. What do you do? Provide a scratching post. Show him that this is his scratching post. Block off the area where the cat has scratched the furniture.