Thursday, June 18, 2015

5 Tips for New Cat Parents - with help from petMD #sponsored

This post is sponsored by petMD and ARM & HAMMER™, and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about The petMD Cat Care Center, but A Tonk's Tail only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. ARM & HAMMERand petMD are not responsible for the content of this article.

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!
And don't think you can ignore this if you happen to be adopting an adult cat. (oh, and by the way: Go, you! for looking past the kittens and adopting a deserving adult!)

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!
Message received, dude!

3. Provide Entertainment & Enrichment
Faraday and Maxwell both heartily approve this talking point.
And they want to leave you with two words.
WAND Toys.

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.)

Uh...sorry, Momma...
This also means that introducing a cat into a new home should be done very slowly. It could take weeks to properly integrate a cat. And in some cases, as with Ryker and Allie, it can take 6 months or longer.

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.


  1. Great things to know and remember.

    Our peeps furst kitty came here at age 7...and he sure knew how to make mischief, intentional and by accident. He even knocked a big portable radio off the shelf...almost clunked the 2 year old on his head...sheesh that was a scary suppertime. Groucho even spooked himself that time, and the toddler? After that all radios were called 'O-na-na-Boom!' (He had lots of his own words, MOL!)Only the high chair suffered a bump, so all was well. Same kitty broke a mantle clock, too...we would take ovfur your blog is we told that tail...

    And even now our 10 year old had since a 7 week old...chews cords, and right in front of the peeps.OMC:(

  2. Very nice tips! I am glad we added a kitty to our home a few months ago. I missed having one. Thanks for the coupon too. I use that same cat litter, but didn't know there was a lightweight version too.

  3. These are awesome tips! My human was so worried about kitten proofing my new home when I first came here... but I survived anyway, MOL!

  4. Great tips! It's so hard to think of everything when humans are excited about a new kitten, but it helps things go smoothly when you do.

    We *love* Faraday's smug look!

  5. Thanks for all the good advice. Mom is always in hopes of adopting another cat. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  6. That is great information! I've never brought a kitten into my home, always adult cats, but there's always so much to do to get ready for their arrival! There's nothing more exciting either :)

  7. my favorite tip for new owners is to get a scratching post *at least* as tall as your hip.. the taller the better, and put it in a socially significant area of the house. Most people go out and get those knee high scratchers which are barely good enough for kittens to use, cats want something big and stable, which is why they end up using your sofa or your bed.

  8. Cats are such fun, always entertaining, and secretly rule the world. ♥

  9. Those are great tips for new cat pawrents. When we adopted Goro, he tried to go into places that we never expected. So we did additional kitty-proof as he discovered those places. Go slowly is important. Some kitties just click as soon as they come new home, but others take time to adjust. Goro was the former and Niko was the latter :-)

  10. Great info for every cat pawrent! Well done! Mommy feeds me the same canned food I ate before I came here. I stuck my nose up at anything else but crunchies!

  11. I've never followed the rules for "pet integration." I just toss 'em in and let them sort it out. It's always worked perhaps because I've never had fewer than three cats. I'm probably the world's worst cat mom

  12. Wow, we surprised ourselves by learning a LOT from your post! Thank you! We would not have thought about the litter issue, or the slow adjustment period.

    AND: such fabulous photos of Faraday and Maxie. Where's Allie today?

  13. Those are pawsome tips for new cat pawrents, and great reminders ! Purrs

  14. guys...grate tipz & thanx for takin de time ta post thiz !!! with seniors havin passed thru N seniors livin heer now; we liked de suggestionz in # 5....but wood like ta say raized dishes werk better for uz seniors...leest heer in trout towne they about chest level we due knot hafta "scrunch down "

    Heerz two a longnose whiptail catfish kinda week oh end ♥♥♥

  15. Excellent post! And wonderful tips!

  16. Excellent information about making a kitty feel comfortable as a new member of your family.

  17. You forgot #6, get them a nice dog to hang out with and learn from. I bet my cats would be lost without us dogs hanging around ;)

  18. Thanks for the great tips. It's really needed to be prepared mentally before adopting a pet. Whether it's a cat or a dog there are some minimum things to be considered. The first and most vital thing is to find a good vet at your place to deal with any health issue of your pet Pet Hospital chatsworth then after need to be conscious for its diet, shelter and other needy things. Glad to find such great info. I am going to have one kitty soon hence making my preparation. Really useful for me it is.


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