Adopting a cat often marks the beginning of a wonderful friendship. Despite what internet memes say, cats can be our best friends if we let them. However, signing the paperwork and getting your cat from the shelter is just one small part of the work ahead of you.
Cats are territorial creatures. Any sudden change of surroundings can cause high levels of stress, which is why you need to be delicate when introducing your new kitty to your home. Here are a few ways to make your cat feel welcome and comfortable in its new home.
Give Your Cat Time
Moving from one place to another is a big deal for many cats. Some are quick to adapt to the new environment, but others take time – sometimes weeks if not months. Giving your cat time to adapt is crucial. Let it find its own pace and don’t force it to play with you or other members of your family.
You must give the cat its own space. Whether it’s a whole room or just a part of one, it needs to be in control of territory. Don’t be alarmed if your cat spends most of its days hiding in its favorite spot.
Your job is to set your new friend up with everything it needs. Place a litter box in its room but don’t place the food/water cups in the same place. You can put this a little way away, thus encouraging your feline friend to leave its comfort zone. Naturally, don’t go too far or you’ll achieve the opposite effect.
Learn Its Tastes
Cats, much like us humans, have a taste of their own. You’ll learn that your cat likes some foods, but not the others. Figuring out which food is the best for your cat can take some time, but it’s an important part of setting up a quality, healthy diet. We suggest experimenting with dry and wet foods to find what your cat reacts to the best.
No matter what you do, don’t force your cat to eat a specific type of food just because it’s cheap. Unfortunately, it’ll introduce dietary issues into your cat’s life.
Get to Know the Cat at Its Own Terms
Once the cat has relaxed a little, try interacting with it. Sit on the floor and try calling the cat over. You need to allow the cat to come to you by itself. Forcing the cat to snuggle with you will only cause it stress. Not to mention the damage this type of ‘bonding’ does to your relationship.
Letting the cat open up to you at its own pace is key to forming a long-lasting bond. This is especially important if you’re adopting a cat that has had a stressful life. Cats that have been abused as kittens will take a lot more time to open up and trust their owners.
On the other hand, cats that come from a loving family are much more likely to start bonding after a few days of getting to know their new home.
Limit the Risks
Cats like to explore. Leave your cat to its own devices and you’ll find it sneaking into all kinds of tight spaces and crevices in your home. Because of that, you need to do a survey of your home and see if any places could potentially prove to be dangerous for your cat.
Although no one expects you to remodel your home, you should get rid of the obvious dangers that could harm your cat.
Give it Something to Scratch and Play With
There is a sizable percentage of cat owners who are surprised when their new cats scratch up the couch or the sofa in their living room. No, your cat doesn’t hate you, it simply has a natural urge to file down its claws. The best way to deal with this is to get your cat a scratching tree or a scratching post.
This simple piece of cat furniture is an awesome way to contain the issue. As soon as your kitty tries it out, it will forget anything else it might have scratched before.
On a similar note, give your cat something to play with. All of us get bored at some point, so does your cat. Cat toys can be simple or complex, but you need to get one (or two?) for your kitty.
Just like any relationship in life, the one your form with your cat takes time and patience. Do everything correctly and you’ll gain a friend for life. Owning and taking care of a cat is an amazing experience that will definitely add value to your life.