We can't let Adopt a Shelter Cat Month pass by without mentioning it!
And our connection with the petMD Cat Care Center gives us a perfect excuse to discuss loads of things that'll help new cat parents be good cat parents.
Here are five things to help ensure a smooth transition for your new family member:
1. Provide Safety
In petMD's article on introducing a new kitten to your home, they mention "kitten proofing" it. it's very similar to the way you'd "baby proof" your house when you bring that new child home from the hospital: make sure that anything that can do them harm, such as electric cords, rubber bands or thread is safely stowed.
Anything they might topple that could harm them - whether it's because it contains a harmful chemical, is made of breakable glass or simply because it's a heavy or sharp object - also needs to go.
|Potential hazards here: heavy falling objects, shattered glass, and poison!|
Seriously, adult cats have been known to chow down on thread, costing a certain pet parent hundreds of dollars in emergency surgery fees.
2. Provide the Necessities
Water. Food. Litter. A place to scratch. A place to sleep.
Water is an absolute necessity, and because some cats are more finicky than others, we recommend getting a water fountain. Running water tends to encourage cats to drink more and the aeration provided by a pump and filter keeps it fresher longer, too.
We talk plenty about food over here! Good nutrition can pay off big as your cat reaches his golden years, and since cats are obligate carnivores, that means meat, meat, meat!
Let's talk litter for a minute. Cats are creatures of habit (see #4 below). So start off by using the same litter they were using before you adopted them.
Faraday made it quite clear to me that he disapproved of his new litter the day we brought him home. That boy had attitude from Day 1: he hopped into his new litter box, squeaked at me (yeah, he squeaked back then!), waited until he had my full attention, then deliberately stepped out of the litter box and squatted next to it.
|*smug look* Yeah, I totally won that one!|
3. Provide Entertainment & Enrichment
Faraday and Maxwell both heartily approve this talking point.
And they want to leave you with two words.
There are lots of simple ways you can keep a cat entertained, and they don't have to be terribly expensive or complex, either. Just take a look at this simple idea - all you need are a few dixie cups and some treats.
4. Go Slowly
Doctor Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University, and one of the highest-functioning autistic persons in the world, tells us that animal cognition and autistic cognition are very similar.
One of the things this translates to is a high resistance to change. (Hah. Just ask Maxwell about that. He refuses to stop eating dry food. Grrrrr.)
5. Recognize Special Needs
There are so many senior cats in shelters, and they're not so easy to place in homes.This is why I liked seeing petMD's article on how to bond with a senior cat. It mentions things such as a litter box with lower sides that an arthritic kitty can more easily get in and out of, and ensuring that food and water are at ground level.
Some cats lose sight or hearing as they age. We understand all about hearing-impaired kitties, and can tell you that adopting an older cat with one of these conditions is no big deal. (oh, and did we mention? Go, you! for adopting a differently-abled cat!)
But as the petMD article on senior cats mentions, you can help them out by sticking with a stable routine. Familiarity (and in the case of fading eyesight) furniture that doesn't move!) can be a huge help.
Are you planning to add a feline family member to your home sometime soon? Tell us in comments!
Our thanks to the folks at ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™ LightWeight litter (50% lighter and with 7 day odor control, guaranteed!) for sponsoring such a wealth of information for our four-legged family members.