Adopting a shelter cat is a wonderful experience. But, bringing home a new feline friend requires a great deal of preparation. Most shelter cats need to adjust to a new home. The following tips will help your new kitty feel more comfortable as a house cat.
#1 Create a private area
Animal shelters can be noisy and somewhat chaotic for a cat. Set up a private space in a bedroom to allow your cat to slowly get used to the space, odors and sounds of your home. Your bedroom should include:
- A litter box appropriate for the cat’s size
- A blanket or bed for the cat to cuddle and sleep on
- Food and water bowls (placed away from the litter box)
- Enough space for people to sit and spend time with the cat
A frightened cat may prefer to hide in a cardboard carrier. An inverted box with one side cut out will also work well.
#2 Protect furniture
Cats can do serious damage to wood or upholstered furniture. Here are a few tips to keep your furniture safe:
- Install two-sided tape on the corners of furniture
- Place corrugated cardboard scratching surfaces in every room of your home
- Place a scratching tree near a large window
If for some reason the cat still gets to the furniture, you can always have them professionally upholstered and then put covers over them.
#3 Clear off shelving
Cats like to climb. A shelter cat may choose a high vantage point when first exploring a new space. Clear off shelves and countertops before bringing your new kitty home. Make sure you adhere the bookshelves to the wall so it doesn’t fall over when the cat gets on it.
#4 Check small spaces
Cats can fit into surprisingly small places, especially young kittens. Check your home for any cat- or kitten-sized holes. Cover holes with furniture or any other low-sitting items like shoeboxes or shopping bags.
#5 Prepare the family
Educating every member of the household about how to treat and respect the space of a shelter cat will help everyone adjust (including your new kitty). Give your shelter cat adequate time to adjust before you introduce other pets or small children.
Adopting a shelter cat is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. Following the tips above will ensure a smooth transition for your cat and your family.