Adding a New Feline to Your Home
Introducing a new cat into your household can be a wonderful thing but it also can become a nightmare, so lets make sure that doesn’t happen shall we. Having cats all my life, below are the lessons I learned along the way.
Before you bring them home, have an area ready for them with food, water and a box. Have a cat toy or teaser ready to distract them. Usually a small room like an office with a closet is perfect. Some cats may come out of their shells faster than others, especially kittens, and may be ready to explore the rest of the home right away. That is fine if you have no other pets in the house, you may want to curb that if there are, discussed later in this post. The point is to let each cat take the time they need to get to know your home.
Litter Box Training
One of the first things to do is litter box training. This is an important thing for cats at all ages. Let them try to drink and eat, distract them for a little while then keep them in the litter box until they potty. This may take a few hours and they’ll hop out, then you’ll have to gently put them back in. Don’t loose patience and keep it stress free on your cat. This process is most important for kittens, and if an older cat just doesn’t seem to want to go, sometimes just them knowing where the box is located is enough for them. This pretty much guarantees they are litter box trained. Their instinct to scratch and bury their waste is so strong it only takes once to do this. If they have any accidents after that it’s usually one of two things: their box is somewhere that scares them (like a laundry room) or they are having territorial issues. Reviewing shows from “My Cat from Hell” by Jackson Galaxy address this problem and many different solutions. I’ll be posting about that at a later time, so be on the look out!
Introducing to the Rest of the House
Once that is accomplished give them some space and if they are ready, they can start exploring the rest of the home. The thing about cats is they need to own their space. Placing some cat furniture in prominent social areas (living room, office, and/or bedroom) that they can own for themselves will save your current furniture from damage and help prevent any territorial issues, especially something that allows the cats to get up high to survey their area. This can be a cat tree, shelving that allows them to get up high, a cat highway, etc. Here again I’ll reference Jackson Galaxy as he has been a front runner in encouraging proper cat furniture as a way to solve many behavioral problems. For more information on Jackson see my related product review page.
Introducing them to other animals is important. Introductions should be made slowly and in as positive manner as possible. It is recommended that you can even keep cats separated for a day or two shifting them around around so they get used to each others sent. If they don’t seem to be warming up to each other and conflicts arise try feeding them on opposite sides of something that doesn’t allow them to see each other but lets them smell each other, so they get a positive association.
Also, playing with them so that they are too tired to fight with each other also helps. Cats are kind of funny in that they will let each other take turns playing with the same cat teaser, waiting for the other to stop playing or the toy to come closer to them.
Be cautious with dogs, even cats that have been around them. If the dog is excited try getting them to calm down and sit or lay down so the cat feels safe to approach, or your dog may end up with a scratch on the nose. Not the end of the world, but I’m sure a sore nose is not fun and could make your dog apprehensive.
Please feel free to comment on your own strategies when introducing a new cat to your home. The more ideas the merrier! Also, please ask questions, suggest topics, or even reach out to submit an article of your own if you wish and I am more than happy to read and consider it.
A Final Tip for NEW Cat Guardians
A big thing to understand about your cat for any new cat owners, particularly those who are more experienced with dog is that CATS ARE NOT DOGS! Do not expect them to think, behave, or act like a dog. They are true, independent carnivores that need to own and understand their territory. They want to be apart of the family, but more importantly they want to CHOOSE to be part of your family. They are a creature that is both predator and prey at the same time so they are on high alert in both ways: finding food and not becoming food. They speak a different language and breed differences are just as important in cats as they are with dogs.
Once you truly understand their language and needs, you’ll have no trouble keeping your feline happy and they will make you happy too!
Life, Love, & Cats!