I’ve decided to Adopt, what next?
Prepare the home
Cats are territorial, and coming into a new home leaves them feeling really uneasy. There’s all that unexplored space, and who knows what may lurk there. Do it a favour and provide a small area to call its own for the first few days or weeks. A bathroom, bedroom or similar small space works well. Furnish the room with cat amenities, such as food, water and a litter tray. You’ll want to spend time with your cat, so make sure there’s a comfortable place for you to sit as well.
Fill a litter tray with one or two inches of litter and place it in his room where he can use it undisturbed. After all, everyone deserves some privacy when they need to go!! and giving it that will help litter box aversion.
Set up a some food and water bowls, locate it away from the litter tray as some cats can spill the litter when they are using the tray and you don’t want litter getting into the food or water.
Cats love to get away from it all in small places, and you can provide one for your new cat as his own little safe haven. If it came home in a cat carrier, that might be a good choice. You can also make one by cutting a doorway for her in the end of a box. If you prefer, you can buy a covered cat bed at a pet shop. In either case, make sure the space is big enough for the cat to stand up and turn around in. Cat “feng shui” probably requires that they are able to see the door to the room from his hidey hole, so it won’t be startled.
A cat’s claws need to be worn down, and they do this by scratching on things. Since you prefer that it not be your chairs and sofa, provide your cat with a socially acceptable scratching place. Some types are made of corrugated cardboard and lie on the floor; others are posts which have to be tall enough so that the cat can extend himself upward to scratch. You can encourage your cat (once it has arrived) to use the post by sprinkling it with catnip or dangling a toy at the top. He’ll get the idea.
Look at your house with a curious cat’s eye view for its climbing and exploring potential. When your cat is acclimated to your home, you may be surprised to find it on top of the upper kitchen cabinets, so make sure there’s nothing on display there or on other high shelves that can be damaged or knocked off.
Make sure all doors and windows are shut and tell other household members to keep them closed while your cat is becoming accustomed to its surroundings.
Now, you are ready for your cat’s homecoming. Preferably, bring it home in a cat carrier. It will feel safer. It has seen a lot of excitement, so take it directly to the new room. (Make sure the toilet lid is down, if she’s to acclimate in your bathroom.) Ideally, you would restrict exposure to the whole family, but naturally, everyone is going to want to see it. Remind them of the ground rules you’ve set up.
Sit on the floor and let it come to you. Don’t force. Just let the cat or kitten get acquainted in its own time. If it doesn’t approach, leave alone and try again later. Some cats are particularly frightened, and may retreat to its hidey hole and not come out when you’re around at all. It may only come out at night when the house is quiet. Give them time.
Your newly adopted cat or kitten may not eat much or at all at first. It’s best to give them the same food it had in the foster home, at least at first. Keeping some things familiar will make it feel more secure. Be sure to change the water frequently and make sure that they are drinking. If your cat hasn’t eaten for a few days, call a vet to ask for advice.
It may take your cat a week or two to adjust. Be patient.
As your cat adjusts, it will show signs that they want to explore outside the safe haven. Make sure other pets or family members won’t startle it while they gradually expand territory. It may be ready to play, so you can give it some toys. Many cats like feather wands from the pet shop, but home made toys are often favoured. A wad of a tissue paper to bat around or a paper bag to hide in can be fun.