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Sorry to bug everyone again -- not sure where to post this.

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
As some of you know, I am thinking of getting a grown indoor cat (at least a year or two old) for our family (my wife is warming up to the idea). Once we bring the kitty home, what do we need to do to "introduce" him/her to our family (3 boys ages 16, 12, 6) and house? We'll have already done the basic introductions, how are you doing, and hand-shake thing at the shelter .

Do we need to show him/her where the litter box is and food and water tray at first? What are some of the things we need to do, in order of priority, to make sure he's comfortable and adjusts quickly to his new situation?

Should we make a vet appointment right away? Should we give the cat a bath before letting it loose in our home?

Also, what do we need to be aware of to ensure that we're able to adjust quickly to a new pet in our home? Other than some goldfish, water frogs, sand crabs, and a pet tarantula, we've never had a pet wondering around our house before.

Thank you.
post #2 of 15
I get the cool job of helping people pick the "right" pet for them at the shelter.

I always advise an initial vet check within a few weeks of adopting so the vet has a guideline to go from, so you can get to know the vet, & so the kitty can have a basic exam (not all shelters get them vet checked).

I suggest you select a large room (or decent sized room anyways) in your house. Set it up with food/water/litter. Give the kitty some time to adjust - big changes in new house, new people (esp. kids seem to overwhelm cats at first). Give the kitty time to adjust - some may be adjusted within a week, some take months.
post #3 of 15
My single most important piece of advice is this:

Your new cat will not have a map to your home. For the first several weeks provide it with at least 3 litter boxes, places in areas where the cat is most active and where it decides to sleep, or escape from the comotion of your household. Once the new cat becomes accustomed to your place you can cut back on litterboxes and place one where it is convenient for you and the cat.
post #4 of 15
When you first bring the kitty home it will probally be a little scared and overwhelmed. What I like to do is what white cat lover said and just put the kitty in a large room with everything it needs and just give it time to settle down and relax a bit. You probally will want to show the cat where its food and litter box is.

As far as interducing the kitty to everyone, once the cat feels comfortable he/she is going to want to explore arround. So I usually just let my kitties do there own thing and let them come to me. Just think how you would feel if you are in a place you don't know with poeple you don't know. Then on top of that poeple 10x your size keep picking you up and trying to touch you. Most likely a stressfull experience.

I usually take my kitties to the vet a week after I get them.

Deffently show it where its food and litter box is. A kitty thats is 1-2 should know what it is for right away. I like to have one litter box per cat +1 extra. I know that is not awlays possible, but because I have 2 kitties it gives them a chance to get away from the other cat to do their business! If you have a 2 story house then I would put one on each floor of the house.
post #5 of 15
A lot depends on the personality of the cat you adopt. My first cat was wary and confined herself to the bottom floor of my house for almost a month. She also hid whenever anyone came into the house for at least a year.

However, I just adopted a five-year-old male from a shelter and planned to confine him to one room as others have suggested. It's the room where I keep the litter box, and I showed it to him right away (he never forgot where it was!) However, I left the door slightly open so that he could emerge if he wished. He immediately dashed all over the house and made himself comfortable. I stayed with him but didn't try to interact with him at all until he approached me.

I am a single person, but I note that you have children. You should make sure that the children do not approach the cat (just observe him) until the cat indicates he is ready by coming to them. This is difficult for children, but I think it's important not to stress the cat.

As a new cat companion, I know you're going to have a wonderful experience getting to know your new friend!
post #6 of 15
BTW - you are not bugging us. Folks here on this site are glad to help and you have really good questions. As others have said, doing some advance work, like you are, helps with the decision and the outcome.
post #7 of 15
Don't be worried if kitty hides for a few days. Just make sure food and water and litter are available... often times they sneak out when it's dark and quiet.

Hennessy strutted out of his carrier and owned everything in our old place, but in the new place he promptly went and hid under my bed for a few days. My new place smells of dog to him, most likely, so that made a difference.

Try a collar when kitty lets you. The bell is especially useful so you don't trip over them.

Unless the cat messes itself on the way home I wouldn't suggest a bath... It will only terrify and stress the cat and make them shed more.
post #8 of 15
I've adopted 3 cats from the shelter, and we've taken each one to the vet's office before we took it home. They can check it over, check it for parasites, give it a wormer, treat it for fleas (the newest Advantage or Revolution), generally make sure you have a keeper.

We put the cat in a room (usually our spare bathroom) for a day or two, so they know where the food and water is.

As others have said, don't try to pick up the cat every time you see it. This is very important for the kids, too. Being an adult cat will help; it's hard to resist a cuddly kitten!

I help at a shelter, too, and I enjoy helping people pick the right cat.

One trick one adopter told me: She picks the cat up, lays it on its back, and pets its stomach. If it takes it calmly, you have found a truly calm cat. Personally, I wouldn't do that!
post #9 of 15
Quote:
I get the cool job of helping people pick the "right" pet for them at the shelter.
I want your job
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
I've adopted 3 cats from the shelter, and we've taken each one to the vet's office before we took it home. They can check it over, check it for parasites, give it a wormer, treat it for fleas (the newest Advantage or Revolution), generally make sure you have a keeper.

We put the cat in a room (usually our spare bathroom) for a day or two, so they know where the food and water is.

As others have said, don't try to pick up the cat every time you see it. This is very important for the kids, too. Being an adult cat will help; it's hard to resist a cuddly kitten!

I help at a shelter, too, and I enjoy helping people pick the right cat.

One trick one adopter told me: She picks the cat up, lays it on its back, and pets its stomach. If it takes it calmly, you have found a truly calm cat. Personally, I wouldn't do that!
Not if you value your flesh! Tummy petting is something that comes AFTER the cat trusts you. I know you know that! Now if the cat GIVES you his belly - that's a different story - but it can also be a booby-trap! To Traveler - the belly is a vulnerable spot. And unlike a dog, who WANTS a belly rub when showing the belly - sometimes the cat is just giving you a message that he/she trusts... actually touching or rubbing the belly could be a problem... Some cats just don't tolerate it. I'm always flattered when a shy cat warms up to me and gives me the belly to rub. I have a big calico like that right now... took her a while to trust me - wet food and sweet talking helped... now she lays on her back, pops her kind legs open and kneads the air with her front paws while i give her tummy rubs. She also gives AWESOME head-butts. And she's a nuzzler.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveler5 View Post
Do we need to show him/her where the litter box is and food and water tray at first? What are some of the things we need to do, in order of priority, to make sure he's comfortable and adjusts quickly to his new situation?
Initially, I would give the kitty a "safe room". Put litter, food, toys, bed, etc. in this room and allow this to be a quite place where they can go and not be bothered. Have a few litter boxes in the house at first. One in the room, one where you plan to permanently keep the litter box, and maybe one other if your house is large. Also, try different types and sizes of litter boxes, as an adult cat may already have a preference to covered, uncovered... Just make sure the boxes are not too small. Many litter boxes sold are undersized. I actually use the "under bed" storage containers from Sterilite or Rubbermaid. You should probably start off with clay litter, as an adult cat is likely to be most used to this, but after a few weeks you can begin to transition to which ever litter you want to use. There are options from Tidy Cat, to Feline Pine, to World's Best Cat Litter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveler5 View Post
Should we make a vet appointment right away?
This depends on where you are getting your cat from. If you are adopting from a shelter they are likely to be up to date on vaccines and already treated for parasites and fleas. In this case, you have the option to do it on the way home, or wait a few weeks. If you are adopting from anywhere else, I would make the appointment before you bring the kitty home. You would hate to get the whole family attached to a cat just to find out there is something wrong with them. Make sure that, in either case, the cat is up to date on vaccines, wormed and treated with Advantage or Revolution. It would also be wise to test for Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Feline AIDS (FIP).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveler5 View Post
Also, what do we need to be aware of to ensure that we're able to adjust quickly to a new pet in our home?
If you are not adopting a cat that is already declawed, have the vet show you how to cut your kitty's nails. Declawing is a very inhumane procedure and can be the cause of many health and behavioral issues in your cat, so it would be best to know how to cut their nails. Cutting their nails weekly or bi-weekly will keep them from causing damage.

Provide them with a tall scratching post or "cat tree". Scratching is a natural behavior for cats, so they need a place where it is okay for them to scratch and climb. A scratching post should be at least tall enough for your cat to fully extend/stretch themselves.

When buying toys make sure there is not an parts that could easily be chewed off and become a choking hazard.

If you can, automatically put aside $10 (or more) every pay check for emergencies. Just like children, things happen. Animals get sick, they can get hurt and it can get expensive when these things occur.


And good luck finding your new family member!!
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you all.

I like the idea of placing the cat in a room by itself for the first few days or so.

I'm assuming it should be a room with a door that can be closed?
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveler5 View Post
Thank you all.

I like the idea of placing the cat in a room by itself for the first few days or so.

I'm assuming it should be a room with a door that can be closed?

I would say keep her in the room with the door closed at night, or if you will be out of the house all day for at least the first few days, but allow the kitty to roam free when you are home. Basically you want to introduce the cat to the house, the noise, the smells, the kids, etc. in such a way that it's not SO overwhelming/frightening. When you open the room, don't take the cat out and place it somewhere, allow him/her to come out on their own. Initially try to get the kids to be involved in a quiet activity, like reading or watching a movie, and allow the cat to explore the house and/or approach them on his/her own. They cat may freak out if they are crowding around or approaching before he/she is used to them. It depends on the cat with how long all of this takes. You could end up with a cat that's hanging out with the family the first day, but it could also take a few weeks, or even months.
post #14 of 15
whiteforest above stated it well.

Depends on the cat, definitely. My cat is shy and timid. I put her in a spare room with all of her things and kept the door closed. I would go and visit periodically and talk to her and pet her if she was accessible. I definitely did not want to overwhelm or scare her. She was receptive to the pets and purred and nuzzled in response.

After two days of this - and I purposely stayed home those days - she came to me on the third day. I again didn't overwhelm her but definitely returned her affections, again letting her take the lead for the most part. By day four I couldnt even go to the bathroom by myself She stuck to me like glue (she had been a thrown away at the lake pet and definetly needed love after doing without for months).

The best thing you can do for cats is give them a routine - they adore routines. Once your family is up and running with kitty - and kitty is feeling more secure - keep to the routine. I assume your family gets up in the morning and gets ready for their day eating breakfast etc. Feed kitty when you feed them or as soon as you wake if you are up first and pouring coffee. Whatever works with your own routines. If you have playtime around the same time of day and dinner at the same time, work kitty in. I have the morning, after work, dinner, and bedtime rituals with my cat. She knows what each one "means". I believe she feels comfortable with her routine and alleviates stress (if she actually has any lol). I established bedtime routines because for awhile there she didn't understand that bedtime meant "8 hrs of dont bother mum time".

I was like you Traveler before bringing Smidge home. I take pet ownership v. seriously and I also respect that pets have feelings. I appreciate that you are taking this seriously. It's also great you will bring home a homeless pet and I know it will be a great benefit for your family! Don't be surprised if you fall in love with him like we all love our cats at TCS
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you, again.
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