Thank you for adopting a cat from the Parma Animal Shelter!
Adopting a cat is a major responsibility. It’s no different than having a child. It’s true. Just like you would for a child, you have to provide a safe, warm and loving environment, medical and tender loving care, and food and water, for your cat.
If you’re adopting a cat for the first time or you’re considering adopting a second cat from the Parma Animal Shelter, you may have questions about what to do before and after your bring your furry friend home.
Keep reading to learn what to expect when you adopt a cat and bring him or her home.
Get and Keep Your House Ready After You’ve Adopted a Cat
Whether you have adopted a cat for the first-time or you’re a seasoned pro, there are important factors to consider before and after you bring your cat home, such as:
- Lock up all medicines and household cleaning agents.
- Close toilet lids and make sure the fireplace is tightly screened.
- Secure unscreened windows. Secure screens in other windows.
- Close all garage and appliance doors. A warm dryer or a car engine may entice cats in search of a warm place to nap.
- Immediately place opened tin or aluminum cans behind closed doors or in containers with secure lids as they can cut a cat’s tongue if they lick it.
- Set rodent and ant traps out of a cat’s reach.
- Clean up easily swallowed small items such as marbles, bits of fabric, small parts from toys, etc.
Keep the following plants away because they’re poisonous to cats:
- Easter lily
- Common or cherry laurel
- False Jerusalem
Prepare for the Trip Home and Arrival When You Have Adopted a Cat
Cats should be confined in a carrier anytime they are taken in a car – a loose cat in the car can be hazardous as they can panic or try to explore the vehicle.
Since most cats hate to travel, after the ride home from the Parma Animal Shelter, the cat will more than likely not be interested in playing. Put the cat in its carrier into a quiet room, such as a small bedroom or bathroom.
Set up clean bowls with food and water and prepare their litter box – but not too close to the food and water!
Open the carrier and let the cat exit on its own. You can decrease its stress level by leaving it alone to explore its new room for a few minutes.
To make the cat’s transition to your household as comfortable as possible, plan on leaving the cat in this limited area for the next few days. This “safe place” will allow the cat to become accustomed to the sounds and smells of its new home.
After a few days, allow the cat out of its special room for supervised visits into the other areas of the house.
Since cats vary in terms of how demanding they are as pets, let yours guide you to the level of attention it wants, whether it’s your hand for petting or your lap for sitting. Be patient with your new pet as they adjust to their new home – it will be worth the wait.
Cat Diet and Bathroom Habits
Feed your cat a name brand dry cat food. Cats are “grazers” and should always have a bowl of dry food available.
Change their water daily. Moist food is not necessary but can be used as an occasional treat. Do not give your cat people food or milk!
Cats are clean animals and prefer to have waste removed daily or several times a week from their litter boxes. The box should be located in a safe, secluded area as cats value their privacy. Clean the box completely once a week.
Cat Grooming and Security
Most cats will spend hours grooming themselves but sometimes they need a little help. Find a pet comb or brush that they like and use it at least twice a week, even if just for a few minutes. Watch for signs from your cat that it has had enough brushing and allow it to leave.
While petting your cat, use the opportunity to examine its eyes, inside its ears and all over for debris, cuts, discharge from the eyes or nose, rashes, lumps, etc. Observation of you cat’s physical well-being is key to catching illness or problems early.
Get into the habit of checking that drawers, closets, and cupboards are uninhabited before you close them. Keep the dryer and washer doors closed.
Cat Training and Entertainment
Cats will need guidance in what is allowed in your house, such as scratching a cat post and not the furniture, staying off counters and table tops.
You never want your cat to associate your voice or hands with pain, therefore, Do Not hit or yell at your cat!
Use “remote discipline.” Make the cat believe their behavior is what is scaring them.
This can be accomplished by shaking a can of coins or marbles to startle them when they are doing something inappropriate (but don’t let them see you doing this). Or you can use a small squirt gun filled with water, but don’t spray it in their eyes!
Provide your cat with an interesting INDOOR environment. They love to play and appreciate simple toys such as ping-pong balls and paper bags. Put a perch in a window for them to look out.
Be a Responsible Cat Owner
You’re probably thinking, “How hard can it be? Cats can take care of themselves.”
Living with a cat may not involve much work but it doesn’t mean a total hands-off policy, either.
Being a responsible pet owner is as simple as keeping your cat indoors, providing them with companionship and having them spayed or neutered and meeting their basic needs of food, water and veterinary care.
Keep your cat indoors! They have been domesticated for almost 4,000 years and have no need to be outside. There are many reasons to keep them in, such as:
- Roaming cats are considered a nuisance as they can get into garbage cans, use flower beds and sandboxes for litter boxes, cause traffic accidents, and add to the pet overpopulation problem if not “fixed.”
- They also have a devastating effect on local wildlife, killing hundreds of small mammals and songbirds whether they are well fed or not.
- The most important reason to keep your cat inside is for its own safety. Outside they can face disease, cat fights, dog fights, poisons, parasites, cruel people and the biggest cat-killer of all, traffic.
If cats have their owner’s love and attention and lots to do inside, they won’t miss going outdoors.
Adopting a Cat is a Lifetime Commitment
Beyond the above essentials regarding adopting a cat, the rest should come naturally and you can look forward to 10-15 years, even more, of companionship from your new friend.
Remember, a pet is your responsibility to love and care for from the day they arrive, and until the day they die.
It’s up to YOU to provide your cat with a “lifetime guarantee.”
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Over to you. What tips do you have for before and after adopting a cat? Share in the comments.