Bringing home a new kitten or cat is an exciting time for everyone involved but it is also important to be prepared to help them settle in as quickly and easily as possible. To make this process easier for you, we have a created this handy checklist to ensure you are prepared for the big day and have everything you need for your new cat.
A Cat Carrier – Make sure you have something safe and secure to bring your new cat home in. They may be scared so a secure locked carrier is the safest way to stop them potentially escaping, it will also need to be used for future vet visits. If you have a carrier that has been used before, ensure it is thoroughly cleaned to remove smells of another cat.
A blanket / bed – For kittens especially it is sometimes useful to take a blanket with you to collect them, this blanket will be the first smell they will associate with their new surroundings and should be then kept with them as their own. In some kittens it can act a security in their new environment.
Food – Ask the breeder or rescue centre what food the cat is currently on, use this food for the first few days while they are settling in, once settled you can gradually introduce a new food if needed, never suddenly change a cats food.
Bowls – For the food and water! If you already have an existing pet in the home, the new addition will need all of their own supplies, it is not suitable for them to share and can induce behavioural problems. Also, always purchase separate food and water bowls rather than conjoined bowls – cats prefer to eat and drink in different locations.
Feliway – Feliway is an artificial pheromone recommended by cat experts and Veterinary Surgeons. Feliway (available as a plug in diffuser and room spray) produces a smell which can only be smelt by cats helping them to feel safe and secure in their environment. Feliway is an essential when creating a multicat household, rehoming an older cat or a nervous / timid cat. Feliway is also designed to help with unwanted scratching and spraying.
Litter tray and litter – Again it probably best to find out the type of litter the cat is used to, as some may find a change stressful. Multicat households need one litter tray per cat and these should be kept in different locations in the home. Try to decide where you want the litter tray to be kept and try not to move it; this may cause confusion to your cat.
Toys- Toys are essential for cats to learn and stay mentally stimulated, they also help to ensure mischievous kittens do not find their own entertainment. Try a variety of different toys and see what you cat prefers, try to keep them on rotation so they do not get bored with them. Spend time playing with your new cat with these toys, this will increase your bonding with them as well.
Introducing a cat into your family is a fun and exciting time and most cats adjust very quickly. For some the process may take slightly longer, especially those that may have been rehomed. During the first few weeks try to avoid additional stress around them and never use negative reinforcement or punishment (with any cat, kitten or animal), soon they will adjust to their new forever home and become one of the family.