Sad Kitten in a Cardboard Box

Important Info For A New Adopted Cat

You just adopted a new cat? Here you can find out what are some of the first steps you need to go through to take good care of it!

Starting Out

Here are a few important tips for a start.

Supplies Checklist

  • Cat carrier
  • Food and water dishes
  • ​Food
  • ​Brush or comb
  • Litter box and scoop
Cute Kitty Smiling

Cat Proofing

  • Prepare a comfortable room with your cat’s supplies
  • Get rid of anything the cat could get tangled in
  • ​Keep the toilet lid closed
  • ​Keep all doors and windows closed
  • Keep an adult cat indoors for at least 3 weeks
  • Keep a kitten indoors until 10 days after all vaccinations

Going Home

  • Put the cat in a sturdy cat carrier
  • Don't let him loose in the car because he might panic or get out when you open the door
  • He will probably sound like he is being tortured inside the carrier, but don't give in

Arriving Home

  • She won’t be in a good mood
  • Take her to a prepared room away from people and other pets
  • Provide food, water, toys, litter box, a scratching surface

The First Few Days

The First Week

  • Keep the cat in “his” area for a few days
  • Spend time with him
  • ​If he’s hiding, don’t force interaction
  • ​Sit on the floor, talk to him, offer him treats
  • Let him sniff all your stuff and snoop around
  • Don’t introduce him to other pets or people too soon
  • Introduce him to people and other pets slowly
  • Ensure he can always get back to his room if he is nervous
  • ​Just give him whatever food, water, and companionship he wants
  • Eventually he will find his place in the home
Cute Kitty Begging

About Kittens

Kittens are socialized by their moms. Mom feed them and cleans their bum until she decides it is time to show them the food bowls and the litter pan.

Kittens who are handled a few times a day during their first seven weeks are more likely to develop larger brains and great personalities. Eyes are usually open by two weeks.

Momma Cat Hugging Its Kitten

You can adopt your kitten at 10-12 weeks though many people give them away younger than that. Kittens weaned too early are likely to suck on blankets, pillows, or your shirt as adults and may not have the best social skills.

Your kitten should have its first visit to the vet at 10-12 weeks for an exam and vaccinations. Around six months the kitten should be spayed/neutered and have a second set of shots.

Rules For Children With A New Cat

  • Don’t squeeze the cat, pull their tail, or pick them up by the neck
  • Don’t chase the cat or lunch at the cat
  • ​Cats don’t like loud noises or sudden movements
  • Never disturb a cat who is eating

Rules For Everybody With A New Cat

  • Speak to the cat in a quiet gentle voice
  • Approach slowly and quietly to avoid making the cat feel nervous or threatened
  • ​Sit and wait for the cat to come to you
  • ​Hold out your hand for the cat to sniff
  • Try scratching the cat on the top of her head or under her chin
  • ​Most cats don’t like their belly being scratched – they find it threatening
  • Signals to back off and give the cat some space:
  • Hissing or long meow
  • ​Ears back or flat
  • ​Tail twitching
  • ​Refusing to make eye contact
  • Flattened down body
  • Refuses to sniff your hand
  • Walks away

    New Cat With Other Pets

    Handle the beginning carefully for the best success. It can take a week to a month to work through the introduction. Be patient. Click here for advice on integrating cats with dogs or other cats.

    Cute Puppy and Kitten in Grass

    Feeding

    • Canned food once or twice a day provides nutrition and moisture
    • Dry kibble can be left out all the time and helps keep teeth clean
    • ​Kitten food for bone growth and developing the immune system
    • ​Adult food after 12 months
    • Senior food after 7 years – less calories, less protein, supplements for bones, and enhanced smell
    • You’ll have to compromise if you have cats of different ages

      Foods To Avoid

      • Milk – cats are lactose intolerant and milk will give them diarrhea
      • Dog food
      • Human food – has too much additives, sodium, fat
      • Bones and raw fish – they can have cooked fish with bones removed
      • Tuna full-time – okay for a treat but doesn’t have all the nutrition they need

      Indoor/Outdoor

      Gone are the days when Fred Flintstone kicked the cat out for the night. Cats are safer and will live longer if they stay indoors.

      Cat Sleeping in a Bed

      If you can build them an enclosed pen attached to a window, they will get to enjoy bird watching and smelling the outdoor smells, but they don’t need that.

      Risks For Outdoor Cats

      • Getting lost
      • Being hit by a car and dying by the side of the road
      • ​Being attacked by dogs, coyotes, other cats
      • ​Neighbors who hate cats in their gardens
      • Feline leukemia, cat HIV, rabies, toxoplasmosis
      • ​Fleas and the diseases they can bring including flea allergy
      • ​Eating garbage, rat poison, poison plants
      • Cold and hot weather
      • Crawling into a vehicle’s engine and going on a long trip

      Make Your Indoor Cat Happy

      • Scratching posts
      • High perches, window perches, cat trees
      • ​Bird feeders near your windows
      • ​Lots of toys and active play with you
      • Another cat
      • ​Enough litter boxes – and keep them clean
      • Grow or buy cat grass
      • Teach them to use a harness and leash so you can go for walks (but never tie them outside)
      Kitten Falling Asleep in Its Cat Litter

      Litter Box Training

      This is easy. Kittens learn this from their moms. If your cat is not using the box there may be a physical or psychological problem.

      • Location – privacy is important
      • Litter type – there are many types. Most people prefer clumping but it isn’t necessarily good for the cat (intestinal blockages or breathing problems from inhaling the dust or licking it off their paws)
      • Litter box – some cats prefer covered ones and others don’t. Make sure it is big enough
      • Cats are clean – scoop it daily and give it a good clean every couple of weeks

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