Tips For A Smooth Transition When Bringing Home A New Cat

Louie

Louie

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Click on Friday's Pet Gallery to see a close-up of each cat

Whether your new cat is coming from a shelter, a home, an urban street or a country barn, the first 24 hours in your home are special and critical. Before you bring a new cat into your life, it helps to understand a little bit about how cats relate to their world.

For the cat, territory is of paramount importance. A cat views his territory the way most of us view our clothes; without them, we feel naked and vulnerable. Place us naked in a room filled with strangers and

most of us would try to hide! It is common for cats, regardless of whether they come from homes or streets, to hide in a new territory. Very sensitive or under-socialized cats often hide for a week or more! You know that this cat is now a member of the family, but the cat doesn’t.

You can help make the transition to a new home smoother and easier by providing some privacy for your new cat. If possible, start by preparing your home before you bring in the cat. Choose a room for the litter box; a bathroom works well. Set up the litter box with one to two inches of litter, and place it in a corner, if possible.

Now create a safe haven for the cat to hide in. You can buy a covered cat bed but a cardboard box turned upside down with two “doors” cut in it will work nicely. Why two “doors?” Many cats seem to feel more secure if they have a second “escape” route. Get a box big enough for the cat to stand up, turn around, stretch out and lie down in — but keep it cozy! Place the box next to the wall or in a corner where the cat can see the door to the room. You don’t want the cat to feel trapped. Place a sisal, cork or corrugated cardboard scratching post next to it. Finally, clear off a shelf for the cat to perch on to view his new world.

After you have prepared the bathroom, cat-proof every other room of your home. Are there raised surfaces for the cat? If the answer is “no,” make some! Cats need to be able to jump up and survey their territory.

Do you have valuable mementos that are easily broken? Put them away until your cat is happily moved in. Check out all the nooks and crannies. Are there places that could be dangerous for the cat to explore or hide in? If so, block them off. Finally, put a scratching post or pad in every room.

If circumstances require that you bring in the cat before your home is ready, keep him in his carrier until you have his room set up! He will be fine in there for a while longer. Opposite the litter box, place a bowl of fresh water. After the room is set up, place the carrier next to the “safe haven.” Close the bathroom door before opening the carrier. Do not pull the cat out. Allow him to come out on his own and begin to explore his new home. Now, leave the room. Yes, leave … remember you are giving him time to acclimate. Go and prepare a small amount of a premium quality cat food. Quietly place it next to the water bowl.

Do not reach for the cat! Let the cat come to you. If he doesn’t approach, come back in 15 minutes. Do not be surprised if he doesn’t eat. It is common for re-homed cats to show no interest in eating, often for several days. Pick up the leftovers and leave. Come back in a couple of hours with a fresh meal of the same high-quality food. If the cat is openly soliciting affection, eating and not hiding, you can open the door and give him one more room. Do this slowly until you have introduced the cat to all the rooms in his new home.

Remember to let the cat set the pace. Be patient. It may take weeks for the cat to comprehend that this foreign turf is his new territory.

Kitten and cat food needed

The Humane Society of Central Arizona is in desperate need of kitten food. Purina Kitten Chow is preferred, but any kind will do. We also need pate’ wet food for cats and kittens.

The HSCAZ shelter is located at 602 W. Wilson Court, just south of Main Street off McLane Road. Hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed Sunday and holidays. Stop by and meet the pets currently available for adoption.

RIVER

River is a playful kitten who loves kitty toys! He gets along well with other cats, especially if they will play tag with him. He is outgoing, affectionate and eager to find his loving, forever home.

POLLY 

Polly is an easygoing girl who likes to do her own thing. She is friendly with people and would do best in a quiet home. She gets along best with other cats who are calm like she is.

ECHO 

Echo is super-affectionate and loves people. She would be ideal as the only cat in the home, but could live with another cat who is easygoing and will give Echo her own space. Echo enjoys naps and will gladly cuddle up beside you on the bed.

CHRISSY

Chrissy is an easygoing girl who loves to explore in a safe, outdoor enclosure. She has lived with dogs and kids. Chrissy is a sweet girl who likes to do her own thing, but still loves to get attention from people. She is spayed, current on vaccines and will be microchipped.

LOUIE 

Louie is a handsome guy who loves to explore. He gets along well with other cats and can often be found curled up for a nap with one of his buddies. Louie likes to meow and talk to you. He is outgoing, affectionate and will make a great companion for a loving family.

MAGGIE 

Maggie is a gorgeous girl with topaz-colored eyes and a soft white and grey coat to compliment. She is very affectionate and gets along with everyone. She loves to be petted and will crawl into your lap for some TLC.

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