We adopted the Three Irish Cats over Labor Day Weekend in 2015. It’s hard to believe we’ve had them almost two years!
Our cats all came from the Humane Society of Charles County, and they already knew each other. Aine and Emmett – then named Pantha and OJ — shared a cage, and Seamus (then called Rascal) lived next door. When the cages were open in the free-roaming cat room, staff told us, Seamus would hang out with the kittens next door.
Aine, Emmett, and Seamus came into a house with no pets. Our cat Aoife had died a few months before, and all of her toys and furniture had been put away. To prepare for the Three Irish Cats’ arrival, my husband and son made run to Petco for the litter boxes, food, and other supplies we’d need for our new family members. They got everything set up at home while I volunteered at an event at the shelter.
Our cats’ transition was fairly easy, though Aine hid for several weeks, only coming out to eat. Cats are different, and they can be finicky creatures when it comes to moving to a new home. Our friends at Petco have shared this helpful infographic that can help you welcome your new cat home.
This is the first of three infographics we’ll share this week about welcoming a new kitty into your home:
Part 1: Gathering supplies
Part 2: Cat proofing your home
Part 3: Preparing your home for a cat
Bringing Your Cat Home: How to Prepare for an Easy Transition
Adding a new cat to your family? Congratulations! Your new friend will be a wonderful and beloved companion, but there are a few things you should know before you bring your kitty home. Read on to learn how to create a harmonious and happy home for your new pet and your family.
Before you bring your cat home, stock up on supplies. That way you can focus on getting to know them and making sure they’re comfortable. Here are some important items to help you care for your cat and make them as happy as possible during the first few days in a new environment.
If possible, find out what kind of food your cat has been eating. Continue feeding the same food initially; if you’d like to change to another food, make a slow transition. A sudden change in diet can cause stomach upset or diarrhea. Add the new food to the old food in small but increasing amounts each day over a 14-day period. For more information, read How to Transition Your Dog or Cat to a New Food.
Food and water bowls
Pick up a couple sets of food and water bowls so you can rotate them for cleaning and always have a clean pair on hand. Consider buying several water bowls to place around the house and/or a water fountain too so your cat always has access to fresh, clean water.
Treats can go a long way toward making friends with your new cat, or reinforcing good behavior.
Collar and ID tag
Even if your cat is microchipped, it’s still a good idea for your pet to wear a collar and ID tag in case they escape your home. Choose a breakaway collar so they don’t get hurt if their collar gets caught on something. Pets in new environments can get scared and bolt; a combination of a microchip and ID tag can help ensure your pet returns home quickly and safely.
Make two separate cozy and inviting spaces for your new pet to cuddle up. Put one bed in a quiet, isolated place and another where the family spends most of their time. This way, your cat can choose where they want to be.
Cats vary in the types of toys that entice them. Try a couple of different kinds to find out what your cat enjoys. There are more types of toys for cats now than ever. Choose from balls, teasers, tunnels, scratchers, toys that chirp or squeak, interactive/puzzle toys, teethers for kittens, plush toys, treat-dispensing toys and more. If you have a kitten, catnip-filled toys may not be enticing until he is about one year old. Remember: Your pet may not feel like playing with toys at first. Allow some time and you will soon see a playful side emerge once your cat feels more comfortable. Never leave toys with strings unattended (some cats may accidentally ingest the string).
Grooming is a great way to bond with your new cat and help them maintain a healthy coat and skin. Choose grooming tools that are appropriate for your cat’s coat, including a brush, comb and nail clippers. Remember that a soft touch is key; a cat’s skin is extremely sensitive and you want grooming to be a pleasant experience. Try getting your cat used to nail trims at home from the start.
A good rule of thumb is to have one litter box for each cat in the household, plus one extra. Put the litter box in a convenient yet private place that’s away from high-traffic areas. Aim for a large box for an adult cat and a smaller box if you’re bringing home a kitten.
Cats can be finicky about the litter they prefer, so it’s a good idea to find out which cat litter your cat has been using and stick with that brand at first. If you wish to change the litter you use, slowly transition by mixing the old brand with the new a little at a time until the box is full of the new brand type.
You may consider a cat tree (you can even find a cat tree/scratcher combo) to give your cat an elevated spot from which to survey their new domain. Cat trees provide a secure observation tower that’s safely away from whatever’s happening on the ground.
Wednesday: How to Cat Proof Your Home