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  • What To Do Before Bringing Your Kitten Home

    Ok, so you've decided to bring home a kitten or a cat. What should you do to make your home cat-friendly?

    Here's some things to start with....

    Make sure you have AT LEAST one litterbox per cat. (When you first bring them home, show them the box; they'll remember where it is.)

    Cats are graceful... most of the time. So be sure that anything fragile is safely put away. Don't assume a high shelf will protect your china figurine collection; wait to put it out again until you've watched your new cat for at least a few weeks and know where he will and will not go!

    Be sure to get a scratching post or scratching pad. Gently draw your cats front paws along it so she knows it's OK to scratch it. Personally, I recommend NOT using the carpetted type, unless you have no carpet in your home; I've found that a cat that thinks "carpet is for SCRATCHING" doesn't always remember WHICH carpet is for scratching. Sissel or cardboard gives a nice claw-feel for the cat, and isn't likely to tempt them into clawing anything else.

    Try to arrange at least one "high" place, preferably near a window. A little table where it's ok for them to sit and look out at the world is perfect.

    Obviously, you need food dishes and water dishes; you'll need to decide if you're feeding wet food, dry food, or some combination. Vets used to recommend dry only; now some have flipflopped and recommend wet only as they get more water that way. There's no wrong combination, but premium food, while more expensive, is generally better for your cat. Many people put out a dish of dry food they can nibble on all day, and then feed wet food once or twice a day. (If you do this, watch to be sure you don't have a compulsive eater; most cats regulate their own food intake but there are exceptions...) And make sure your cat ALWAYS has access to water.

    When you bring your kitten or cat home, make sure he has a quiet, secure "cave" they can retreat to if they get nervous. A box, a table with a long tablecloth, or even the catcarrier you brought him home in will serve. Put in a folded blanket or towel for soft bedding; it's better if it's not freshly laundered so it smells like YOU. He'll associate your smell with "safe and comfy"... It's normal for a cat to be nervous when put into a new situation; kittens will usually start exploring fairly soon (mine came out from behind the sofa after about half an hour) but adult cats can take much longer. Don't be discouraged; just give him time. And make sure the litterbox, food, and water is easily accessible from his "safe place".

    I found it worked well to introduce a new cat slowly to the rest of the house. I used a childgate; first, the kitten had access to one room; after a few days, I moved the gate and he had access to more, and then I let him have access to the whole house. (This is especially important if you have another animal in the house, or even a child; it lets the new cat get used to the sounds and smells without feeling threatened, and likewise for the pre-existing animal.

    Toys! Toys are great to lure your new cat out. But in some ways cats are like kids; buy them an expensive toy and they'll play with the box! My cat's favorite toy of all time is a 10 cent length of clothesline, dragged along the floor.

    And, you'll want a squirt bottle full of water. Trust me on this. Most cats, when confronted half-way up a curtain, won't understand "NO! GET DOWN, DAGNAB IT!" But a squirt from a squirtbottle will get most cats attention. And if they don't catch on that it's YOU doing the squirting, they'll likely not repeat the bad behavior more than a few times, even when you're not there....

    Anyone else have any suggestions?

    Cassy
    Cassy and Dante-the-Pyrit-Kittee
    Staff - Cat Care & Behavior
    Roving Staff - Cats Forums

  • #2
    Cassy,

    My next door neighbors have all new furniture & they had the cat declawed because she was ruining the furniture. I told them that next time, try scratching posts & told them how (slant them on the floor, rather than up right, put them where the cat uses its claws, etc.) and they said they'd try that for the next kitten. It is a shame the veterinarian didn't give them any other options to try. :/
    Kim Laird,Senior Manager
    The Pets Forums Management Team

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    • #3
      I'd add that it's a good idea to start your kitten on the same food he/she's been eating already. If you want to change it, do it very gradually (same for litter) like 3/4 old, 1/4 new for a day or so, then half and half, etc.. Cats don't adjust well to change of any sort.
      Karen A/Publicist

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      • #4
        Another idea is to start a savings account for your cat's future health issues. Make a habit of depositing $5, 10 or whatever you can stick in there EACH payday. If you do this religiously and never let yourself withdraw from that account unless you need it for the vet, you'll thank yourself later on down the road. Personally, I wouldn't even use that account for normal vet visits, only for unscheduled things.

        None of us likes to think we'd ever need something like that, but I learned the hard way. My cats are 5 years old and there have been a couple of times that an account like this would have been handy to have. Tux somehow ripped a claw out a few years ago, another cat I was caring for got into something toxic and had to have an emergency vet visit (and those are SO expensive!) and recently Tiger had a UTI which involved a weekend at the ER vet and a week in the regular vet with meds, catheterization several times etc. I didn't learn the first couple of times, but after this most recent ordeal I plan to go down and start an account for the cats within the next week and have money automatically depositied into it each payday. If I had done this when we first got our cats there would have been no financial concerns when Tiger got so sick, but as it was, there were a couple of days when we worried that we wouldn't be able to afford the treatment he needed to get well. A very heartbreaking experience that I don't want to ever repeat again!

        Marvie
        Marvie

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        • #5
          What an excellent idea! There have been times I wished I had a "pet's medical emergency account", I must admit.

          Cassy
          Cassy and Dante-the-Pyrit-Kittee
          Staff - Cat Care & Behavior
          Roving Staff - Cats Forums

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Marvie
            Another idea is to start a savings account for your cat's future health issues. Make a habit of depositing $5, 10 or whatever you can stick in there EACH payday. If you do this religiously and never let yourself withdraw from that account unless you need it for the vet, you'll thank yourself later on down the road. Personally, I wouldn't even use that account for normal vet visits, only for unscheduled things.

            None of us likes to think we'd ever need something like that, but I learned the hard way. My cats are 5 years old and there have been a couple of times that an account like this would have been handy to have. Tux somehow ripped a claw out a few years ago, another cat I was caring for got into something toxic and had to have an emergency vet visit (and those are SO expensive!) and recently Tiger had a UTI which involved a weekend at the ER vet and a week in the regular vet with meds, catheterization several times etc. I didn't learn the first couple of times, but after this most recent ordeal I plan to go down and start an account for the cats within the next week and have money automatically depositied into it each payday. If I had done this when we first got our cats there would have been no financial concerns when Tiger got so sick, but as it was, there were a couple of days when we worried that we wouldn't be able to afford the treatment he needed to get well. A very heartbreaking experience that I don't want to ever repeat again!

            Marvie
            That's a really great idea Marvie! Pet insurance isn't all that great, so if you can put that money toward an account of your own, it could mean the difference between being able to treat your cat or not.

            DianeP
            Diane and Cicero - Sr. Manager:

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            • #7
              Well I can't take credit for thinking of it myself, I read it once someplace long ago and stupidly didn't take the advice, but my brain filed it away someplace and when all this happened it popped back out with exclaimation points and big red letters
              Marvie

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              • #8
                Another thing is to watch out for them chewing on electrical cords--kittens chew on everything. Meerclar--who is 12--recently destroyed our ethernet cable. Luckily it didn't have 'juice' running through it, but I hadn't thought she'd be messing with it. However, it was fun to hold on to and chew, apparently. So keep an eye out, and bundle up spare cord length so it's not draping everywhere.

                Also, my cats are NUTS about rubber bands--and these are NOT good for them to eat. So make sure you keep things like rubber bands and plastic bags--which some cats like--out of sight and out of reach.

                Yasmine (made this thread a sticky, was going to start one just like it but then happened to see it).
                Yasmine; Staff: Your First Cat.
                I love the smell of espresso in the morning.
                NYT, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly Bestselling urban fantasy author www.galenorn.com
                I miss all my Rainbow Bridge Gurlz...love to Meerclar, Luna , Keeter , Tara , Circe


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                • #9
                  One of my cats just love carrier bags, both plastic and paper, especially to dive into when it is on its side and there is a ping-pong ball at the other end! I have not had a problem with this but I ALWAYS cut the handles (so it can't get caught around their necks) and NEVER let them play with plastic bags unsupervised.
                  "There are indeed monsters under the bed"
                  Ciao Ciao Spookie, sweet little grey girl (23 March 2006 - 12 May 2014)
                  And "Sabah Al-Khair" to our mischievous little tortie tripod, Luna (01 September 2015 - Gotcha!)

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                  • #10
                    First thing you should do is:

                    1.You should have litterbox for cat.
                    2.Food for Cat
                    3.Pet Cage
                    4. But most important is Pet Insurance.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by miah1234 View Post
                      First thing you should do is:

                      1.You should have litterbox for cat.
                      2.Food for Cat
                      3.Pet Cage
                      4. But most important is Pet Insurance.
                      Actually no, the most important thing is NOT pet insurance. It's providing a loving, safe environment for you cat, with plenty of fresh food and water.

                      Yasmine
                      Yasmine; Staff: Your First Cat.
                      I love the smell of espresso in the morning.
                      NYT, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly Bestselling urban fantasy author www.galenorn.com
                      I miss all my Rainbow Bridge Gurlz...love to Meerclar, Luna , Keeter , Tara , Circe


                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Pet insurance can give a person peace of mind, but if one puts aside a small amount of money each month, that normally is sufficient. Insurance is something that each person has to evaluate.

                        But before bringing home a cat, you want to child proof your home. That is because your new cat or kitten will get into and onto everything, and you want hazards out of the way.

                        And, then when your new cat or kitten is home, don't hold back on the love. And they will give unconditional love back.
                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          I did the same job when I purchased my kitten. Above tips are helpful for those who want to bring kitten at home.

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                          • #14
                            Make sure you have everything you need from food to a liter box. We had nothing for ours as we found her and had to make a mad dash to the store for stuff.

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                            • #15
                              Will Surely keep such things in mind.

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