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What To Do When You Bring A Cat Home?

When you bring your first, second or fifth cat along, it's essential to plan ahead of time. Before deciding to bring a new cat to your home, please note the following:

Is your house big enough for all cats to have an appropriate territory?

Are any of your current cats suffering from a chronic disease where the added stress of a new pet may cause additional health problems?

Are any of your cats now suffering from behavioral problems such as improper marking?

Once you have thoroughly considered all of the considerations above and can add a new feline family member, the following parts will help ensure a seamless transition and integration with other family members and pets.

Tips on Bringing A Cat Home

Prepare a safe place for you. A secure beginner space or shelter for a new pet would provide the cat with the peace and security it wants when being familiar with the smells and sounds of your house. The starter room may be of any size but must have a stable door and ceiling.

Cat-proof your place and give the baby a place to hide. 

New cats are always shy, and they tend to hide. Boxes or blankets over seats provide them the perfect hiding places when they first get home. If you have adopted a shy cat, we suggest removing large furniture pieces from homes, such as beds and closets. It's a lot better to deal with a cat sleeping in a box than a cat hidden under the bed.

Let your new cat get to know you. 

Start with your scent. Try placing a t-shirt or item of clothing that includes your perfume in a secure room.

Equip your space with cat food, water, and a litterbox. 

Place the cat food and water in a bowl on one side of the room. Make sure that the open litter box stays on the other side away. Shyer cats don't eat much in the first 24 to 48 hours and may develop temporary stress diarrhea. If your cat hasn't eaten in 48 hours, try some extra tasty treats such as canned tuna or salmon. If this is not a success, you will want to contact your veterinarian for advice.

Offer a new post to your new pet. 

Put a brand new scratching post, at least one meter high, inside the safe space. Scratching is an expected and soothing behavior for cats. Make sure that the scratching post is new. The other cats' scents must not stress your new cat as it first adapts to its new surroundings.

Give your pet a couple of cat toys for fun. 

Provide your new cat toys such as mice and balls in a secret space while you're not home.

Spend more time with your new kitten. 

In the beginning, sometimes visit for a brief amount of time. Engage specifically with your new cat in the way of play or petting. Play on the phone with your new friend. Keep in mind that an anxious cat will growl, hiss, twitch its tails, or draw its ears back. The only response is to whisper, followed by giving the cat some time alone.

Allow them to transition to a safe space. 

Once you have developed a trusting bond, the cat is happy to start exploring the home. Make sure to start this phase when you're home to oversee it. Close most doors so that the cat begins its orientation in steps. So many new rooms can be stressful and terrifying at once. If you've taken a timid cat, don't let it in the basement for weeks. Most of the basements have multiple secret places—some unavailable to humans.

Let them discover the nest. 

Remember, integrating with the rest of the house depends on your new cat's attitude and your existing pets. Often the integration process will start in just two or four days, but sometimes it's easier to wait a few weeks. Keep in mind that shy cats can require a longer time of integration.

Cat Care 101: Introducing A New Cat to Your Cat

If you have adopted or rescued a timid cat or kitten to provide companionship for your resident cat, it might be better to accompany them more quickly. Shy cats tend to accept other feline companionships easily. They would be unfortunate on their own, so we suggest that transition occurs very quickly (1-3 days) unless there are significant issues.

Phase 1 – Introduce scents.

Successful introductions will take time: Do NOT, and we reiterate, do not attempt to incorporate a new member to your resident cat directly upon arrival. You will irreparably disrupt the new relationship and cause terror, frustration, hostility, spraying, and litter box issues in a new pet and a resident cat. Successful introductions will take time.

Let the cats sniff out the whole situation: Let the scent become the first introduction of both cats under the safe spot flap. Within two to four days, the exchange of bedding between the fresh and the resident cat begins regularly. It helps the cats to get to know each other's scents.

Phase 2 – Following and stalking cats.

Let the sniffing continue: If you don't see cat violence symptoms like hissing and groaning, then confine your resident cat to a room while allowing the new cat to explore the house for a few hours each day for a few days.

Phase 3 – Allow cats to see each other.

Organize a meeting of your cats. Place your new pet in the carrier and place the carrier in your home outside the secure spot. Enable the cats to look at each other and smell through the door of the carrier.

Are there any signs of aggression? Keep the visit brief and get the new cat back to its safe room. Repeat this step 2 to 3 times daily if possible until the cats seem to be more familiar with each other.

Phase 4 – Let the cats meet each other.

Let them come together at their own time. If there are no signs of violence between cats, leave the door to the safe space to open a crack. It will encourage the new cat to discover and visit your resident cat. Supervision is essential to ensure the welfare of all cats.

In case of provocation, use a spray bottle filled with water or a convenient towel. Often avoid severe threats and violence immediately, as a severe battle will destroy good integration and partnership chances.

If the introduction strategy is not going smoothly for several weeks, consider installing a low-cost screen door from the construction supplies shop. The screen's door encourages the cats to get to know each other by sight and scent while keeping both parties safe. Let each cat take turns in their safe space.

Phase 5 – Completion of the process of introduction.

For the next few months, you might find some mild hissing, swatting, and temperamental behavior. It's a common occurrence since cats are known to be hierarchical by their design. You must create and affirm an order within your home. 

The five stages described above give only tentative timelines. Some integrations can occur faster or slower, and integration depends on the personalities of the cats involved. Remember, you know the best of your cat (s). Use common sense and diligence to integrate a new pet or cat.

Cat Care 101: Introducing A New Cat to Your Cat

The amount of time taken to combine cats with dogs effectively depends on the animals' prior experience. E.g., the dog may have had a previous interaction with a cat, or the cat may have had previous contact with a dog. Since cats and dogs are accustomed to being with other animals, adaptation can be faster.

Phase 1 – Let cats smell dogs.

Follow the measures described above in Phase 1 on introducing a cat to another cat.

Phase 2 – Show them their new space.

If you don't have other pets in your household, lock the dog in one room. Let the cat explore the rest of your home for one or two hours per day. Do this step until the cat is acquainted and relaxed with the layout of your home.

Phase 3 – Allow them to meet.

Show the dog to the cat: When the cat is used to your house, let the cat explore your home but keep your dog on the leash and have dog treats ready in your wallet. Let another human know where the cat is to reassure and lead it to the dog.

Sit down to talk to both pets: Keep the dog near you but try to treat the puppy. If your dog insists on a toy, reward your dog with a treat. However, if you notice the dog is about to stand to walk towards the cat, correct the dog slightly with the leash and treat them. If at any point the dog does not respond to your commands or the cat's stress level seems to be high, remove the dog from the room. Keep continuing this procedure until the dog responds to you and then ignores or accepts the cat. This method allows the dog to learn that cats are not prey, toys to be hunted, or threats.

Watch and observe: Never leave the dog and the cat unsupervised until you are entirely confident that they have set up a mutual, trustworthy, and respectful friendship.

Make sure the cat has some room of his own for a while: Once both cat and dog are familiar with each other, the cats want a room away from the dog. Place a baby gate across the door of a room in a house where cats or cats want to hang out or buy or build a tall cat tower so they can retreat when needed.

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