Adopting a cat is a huge responsibility, and it can even be burdensome at some times. However, having a feline companion is just as rewarding as having kids of your own, and it is even more rewarding when it comes to people who live on their own. With that being said, whether you are living alone or among other family members, here are 10 essential steps to consider taking before or right after adopting a cat.
1/ A quick visit to the vet is needed
Before taking the cat home, you should first take it to the veterinarian for a checkup. If the cat is a rescue or has been a stray one from example, you want to make sure that it is healthy and safe to be living indoors. Even after the adoption is finalized, regular checkups with the vet are highly recommended for both young and old cats.
2/ Buy the essentials
Even though the essentials for some excited new owners might consist of every cute cat item available on the market, what new owners should consider buying first are a litter box (and litter), food and water bowls, and a cat carrier in case of a visit to the vet. They should also keep in mind that the cat would probably need some basic training to get used to using those unless the cat is a rescue one and has already been acquainted with those items. Another thing to stock up on is obviously cat food. Not all cats like the same type of food (whether dry or wet for example), so owners must take into consideration the fact that they might need to try out different brands of food before opting for the homemade food option. Other items might include a cat collar and a pet tracker.
3/ Prepare some cat toys
This is not an “essential” step per se (seeing how cats are pets that can be easily satisfied with a cardboard box), but it is still quite an important one. Even though cats (especially young ones) can be distracted by the simplest of things and can create their own brand of entertainment, it might get lonely sometimes. In order to avoid that, prepare some cat toys and even engage the cat in some games of fetch. In addition to that, some simple items lying around at home can offer the same amount of excitement for example paper bags or laser pointers (make sure not to use it too often though because it might leave the cat feeling frustrated and anxious!).
4/ Build a safe atmosphere
The cat might take some time to get used to its new home and might become nosey. Make sure that its curiosity won’t get it into trouble and that the environment is safe for it to roam around and explore. For instance, make sure any electrical cords or other dangerous items are safely tucked away. If you live on your own and have to leave the cat alone to get to work, double-check that that you have tightly closed the windows and locked the door. If you live in a building, make sure the cat does not slip through your feet when you go to the balcony for example.
5/ Prepare your children
Not only make sure your children are on their best behavior, but also check with their doctor to see if any of them has allergies towards cat fur. You want to avoid any scenario where a surprise allergic reaction is the highlight. Once that is taken care of, having a cat would be a great experience for the kids to learn about responsibility. If unfortunately, one of the kids is revealed to have an allergy, a home plant is a good alternative, for the children would basically follow the same steps to take care of it just like a pet.
Cats are among the domesticated animals who love to be clean at all times. Even though they do a good job taking care of themselves, there are other extra measures that you can take to help. For example, claw clipping, dental hygiene, as well as regular (preferably daily) brushing and combing of the cat’s fur would do wonders on both the wellbeing of the cat as well as the hygiene and healthiness of its coat.
7/ Give it some time to adjust
After ensuring that step number 4 is completed, it is time to give the cat the time it needs to adjust to its new home. If the cat chooses a certain corner or underside of the furniture as a hiding spot, do not try to coax it into leaving it. Let it stay there and observe its surroundings, and it will eventually come out of hiding once it feels safe enough.
8/ Build a nice, safe space for the cat
Closely related to step number 3 and the cardboard box thing, this step can help accelerate step number 7. By preparing a small empty cardboard box for example (or even an empty room if possible), you are giving the cat the chance to get acquainted with its new home without any distractions or nuisances. However, it is preferable to leave it in its carrier for some time before using the other options.
9/ Introduce it to other pets
This step can be quite stressful and even scary for dog owners for example who are not sure how both animals would react to each other. Make sure that you do not rush this and that you do not interfere if the two animals start hissing or swatting at each other. If things get too violent, however, try to break the fight by clapping or raising your voice not by picking one of them up.
10/ Spend time together
Even though cats might come off as unsociable animals, they can get quite lonely sometimes. Try to spend time with it either cuddling, playing games, or even sitting together while you work on your computer. If your work schedule is too hectic, consider adopting a second cat to keep it company.
Overall, adopting a cat is a tough task that should be taken seriously, but once the job is done perfectly, having a feline companion is very rewarding and unique.