Congratulations! You are now or are soon planning to be a proud cat owner. This is a very exciting time, you’re soon to be welcoming a new member of the family. Just like with any new family member you’re going to want to make sure their stay with you is as comfortable as possible. Don’t worry we have you covered. We’re here to walk you through the home setup process and introduction process so let’s jump right into it.
Preparing for a New Kitten or an Adult Cat
The age of your cat does matter when introducing it to your home. Kittens are very curious, just like human babies. Because of this, you’ll want to keep dangerous objects and chemicals out of their reach. This isn’t just limited to cleaning supplies. Sharp objects need to be put away, along with small objects that your kitten could potentially choke on.
If you have plants you’ll need to check and make sure the plant isn’t toxic to cats when ingested. You’ll also want to avoid heavy chemicals when cleaning your floors and surfaces since your kitten may ingest said chemicals accidentally. You should also consider gating off stairs or other drop-offs in your house if you can. Because of how active kittens can be it is a good idea to get lots of toys for him/her to play with. These will keep your kitten occupied with safe play and minimize the chances of it going looking for more dangerous objects to play with.
Things are similar if you are bringing home an adult cat. You’ll also want to keep dangerous objects and chemicals out of their reach but in the case of an adult cat, you’ll need to fully lock these items away in a secure area. Adult cats are still very curious and can get into things they are not supposed to on occasion. Because they are adults, they can reach places they are not supposed to be far more easily than a kitten can. Be mindful of this when selecting a location for your chemicals and other dangerous objects.
Another thing you should do before bringing a cat home is doing a thorough sweep of your home, keeping an eye out for any small holes or flimsy planks of wood. Your cat may squeeze its way into small holes in your house’s walls or floors and that can be extremely dangerous for the cat. You will likely need to call the fire department to come and rescue your cat in the event something like this happens. If you find holes or loose planks or panels in your home be sure to have them sealed before bringing your cat home.
Before bringing your cat home for the first time, be sure to schedule an appointment with your local veterinarian of choice. You’ll want to get your cat its shots as well as take it in for regular checkups. You’ll also need to have a vet picked out just in case of emergencies. It’s better to have a vet already lined up than to have to spend time searching for one when an emergency calls.
If you have friends or family staying with you make sure they are aware that you are getting a cat and that they are ok with it. If you have children make sure to do a rundown of the rules and safety precautions of owning and interacting with a cat.
Remember, kittens are curious! Image courtesy of Unsplash.
Items to Get for Your Cat Before You Bring Him/Her Home
There are a few items that are essential to have in the house for your cat. You of course have the obvious like–
- A food bowl and a water bowl
- Kitty litter
- Cat food
- A cat bed
- Cat toys
But you’ll also need some items that aren't as obvious as well. A scratching post is a good place to start. A scratching post will give your cat something to scratch on other than your nice expensive furniture and is definitely something you’ll want to invest in sooner rather than later. A brush is another item that may slip your mind at first. Sure cats groom themselves but it's still a good idea to brush your cat every day or so to keep it nice and groomed. You are also going to want to get a well-ventilated cat carrier. This is for when you need to take your can with you somewhere like to the vet or even on vacation. Make sure the carrier is the right size and that your cat is comfortable inside.
Keep them comfy, keep them cozy. Image courtesy of Unsplash.
Introducing Your Cat to Your Home
Now that you have your cat it’s time to bring him/her home. It’s best to have a location in your home already set up and designated as the cat’s area before bringing him/her home. This area should have the cat's toys, food and water bowl, litter box, scratch post, and bed all laid out and ready for it. Place the cat in this area and allow him/her to get to know the environment. Depending on your cat's personality and disposition, it may take them some time to adjust to this new environment. This is normal. Give your can some time and space and let them explore around at their own pace. If you want to encourage your cat to engage with the items in its area, try sprinkling some catnip on its scratching post and toys.
If you have children, keep a close eye on how they interact with the new cat. It is best to only let one of them engage with the cat at a time so as to not overwhelm the cat and make it scared or uncomfortable.
Give your cat time to get comfortable! Image courtesy of Unsplash.
To wrap things up let's talk about a couple of things you should avoid when you first bring your cat home. If possible, avoid letting your cat explore the front and backyards for the first few weeks. You’ll want to get your cat familiar with the inside of your house first. This will increase your cat’s chances of returning to your home if it manages to get out of the house. You’ll also want to refrain from using the cat's name when issuing punishments. If you're already saying the cat’s name when you want him/her to come to you or play with you, using their name when you’re angry with them will cause them to associate their name with punishment. Keep these things in mind and your cat will be loving its new home in no time!