Adopting a Cat, Things to Consider Before and AfterKeith
Adopting a cat.
When adopting a cat, you will be getting an animal with an established routine and personality.
Cats from good rehoming charities will have had a complete medical check-up, and be neutered, vaccinated, treated for fleas, wormed and microchipped.
It will be costing you less on those expensive early years in a kitten’s life, and they will have learned a few lessons from life’s hard knocks—so fewer vet bills later on.
Older cats are much more content to lie back and chill out than kittens, demanding less of your attention daily.
Cats are more robust, and less likely to be hurt by toddlers rough love.
Adopting a cat is great for people with busy lifestyles who don’t have the time to to give to a kitten.
For older people, an older cat will be more placid and suited to a relaxed retirement!
There is no rule as to whether you should adopt a cat or a kitten. You need to think carefully about your home and lifestyle before choosing.
Things to consider when adopting a cat.
Check if the animal you’re considering adopting is an outdoor or indoor cat. It will be hard for a cat to adapt to a very different environment.
In some sad cases, cats have ended up in rehoming centres because of difficult lives or poor treatment. If you adopt a cat, they might come with some baggage like health or behavioural problems.
Think about your lifestyle, home, family members, and existing pets.
Just like deciding whether to adopt a cat or get a kitten, choosing a breed of cat that is right for you is a really important consideration. Although personality traits vary between individual cats, you can learn a lot from breed.
If you or a family member has allergy concerns, the Devon Rex breed might be best for you. For a household with young children, the Ragdoll breed make a fantastic family cat: unlikely to ever scratch or bite, and up for lots of cuddles and attention—even if it is a little over-zealous at times!
First week home
The first weeks in a new home can be a challenge: make sure you’re prepared by following our ‘first week’ guide to bringing your cat home.
Before they come home:
Preparations before you finally adopt a cat are just as important!
Cats are territorial, so put them at ease in their new environment by creating a safe, small space just for them. Furnish the room with litterbox, food, water, and scratching post. Cats feel safest in enclosed spaces, so create their own little haven in something like a cat carrier or cardboard box.
Don’t put pressure on the relationship!
Put the cat carrier in their new home, open it up, and then leave the room, shutting the door behind you. Letting them acclimatise in private is the best way to put your new cat at ease, but check on them later.
Time to start bonding!
When you enter the room, sit or lie down and encourage your cat in a soothing voice. Allow them to approach in their own time. Repeat until they feel comfortable in your presence.
Your cat might not eat much to begin with—which is normal—but as they acclimatise to their new home their appetite should increase. It’s best to feed them the same food they’re used to.
Try grooming or playing with your new cat to increase the bond, but don’t go in too strong! Introduce your cat to toys or brushes by letting them have a good sniff at them fist.
Time for them to start exploring!
Leave the door of their room open, so your cat feels free to come and go as they please. But ensure that doors and windows in the rest of the house are kept shut, so your cat can’t escape outside.
The cat should be acclimatising to the rest of your family as well as the rest of your house. Allow people to be introduced one by one, so you’re cat doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Teach children how to stroke them gently, and avoid picking up your cat to begin with.
Two weeks after adopting a cat
The great outdoors!
If you’re rehoming an outdoors cat, wait two weeks before letting them out. When you first let them out, it should be before a meal, so that they have reason to come home soon—for their dinner! Allow them to explore the garden for a while before encouraging them back with a treat.