Wednesday, August 19, 2020

so you want to adopt a cat

**a post by the mom

With people being home more - for who knows how long - the rescue has noticed more people deciding to adopt. Some have experience, some do not. So I got thinking about what do you need to get started. The basics? The high end stuff?

 First is picking the cat. I always suggest going to a rescue and letting the cat pick you. Our rescue is still doing adoptions by appointment so people are seeing pictures. Which is great but may not tell you whether that cat likes you or not. Go in, sit down and play. See who decides you are their new person. And think about your lifestyle - are there kids, is there a lot of activity, is it fairly quiet? Ask questions - I promise that staff or volunteers will be happy to help you make a match.

Before you bring your new cat home, you need some basic supplies. Food, dishes, litter, litter box, scoop, scratcher and some toys. Start basic, see what you cat likes and go from there. There are good litter boxes, but I don't like the ones with the hoods. Think about odors getting trapped in there and your cat may stop using it. I actually use large storage containers with one end cut half out for entrance/exit. For dishes try to get ceramic or stainless steel. Some cats do react to plastics and end up with acne on their chins. A basic cardboard scratcher is a good place to start until you discover what your cat prefers.

make sure you have some good comfy beds too
(this is actually a baby bed)

There is a variety of cat furniture in this house. On the far left are Kitty Kasa boxes. Then a tall scratcher. There are now two here and they are both about 36 inches tall. The most important thing when I look at tall post scratching posts is the base - you have to make sure it is stable (see below). Some cats will run and hit it. Goldfish likes to hang off of ours. It has to be sturdy and heavy enough not to tip over. The stand that Goldfish is standing on above is made by Vesper. Of course there is also the ever popular cardboard box as well.

The ability to stand and scratch is an important feature for a post scratcher. Some have larger platforms on top for cats to sit on as well.

Another thing that I recommend is leaving your cat carrier out in your main room. I know - it may not go with your furniture. But...cats are pretty smart. If the only time the carrier comes out is when they go to the vet, they will disappear every time they see it. This creates stress for every vet visit plus if there is an emergency you will have to chase your cat. If it is out, they may actually use it as a den and it becomes comfortable. Our round Sleepypod is out on my coffee table all the time. There can be any cat in it at some point. While these carriers are expensive, they are crash tested and the great part with the round one is that the top zips off (which makes it great at the vet).

They do make shorter scratching posts. I use them for the kittens. My adults find them WAY too short. 

As for toys, start with a variety to see if you can find a favorite. Something round to be chased (Daiquiri loves foam balls), crinkly mylar toys (Goldfish loves these), spring toys to be bounced around, and a wand toy for chasing around (make sure these are put away when you aren't playing to avoid your cat chewing on the cord). There is a round trackball toy in the kitten room that I've seen Chanel play with as well. That one is more kitten sized but they do make larger ones. 

For home set up, I suggest kittens get their own room for at least a week. They have tiny brains and need a chance to learn where things are located and adjust to new surroundings and noises. As you let them have more space, just make sure you have "kitten proofed" your house. They can get into and under so many things. Keep doors closed if you don't want kittens in a space. 

Adults should adjust better but keep in mind their personality. If they are more shy, the new cat may appreciate a quiet space in while they adjust. Again make sure you check for escape or traps and keep doors closed for certain spaces. A TV or radio for noise will help too. But if you are home, leave their safe space available but let them out to explore as well.

I know it is exciting to get a new cat home, but also let them adjust at their own pace. Find some high value food or treats to make yourself more appealing. Some cats will walk into a new home and it will seem like they have always been there. Others will find a place to hide and come out on their own schedule. Have patience. 

More than anything, have fun. Enjoy your new companion. Make a life long commitment to their health with good food and vet care along with a safe space. You get back what you put into the relationship.


  1. The other thing is that folks need to relax; Rome wasn't built in a day, nor will your cat companion get 100% comfortable in a few days! And they can feel your anxiety, so let go of your preconceived notions about cat behavior, and learn to love the new furry person in your home as they are!

  2. rited a grate post; N her covered all de bases :) thiz should bee like a "hand out" bee for...then again...when sum one brings a new cat home =^..^=

    984 pawz UP !! :) ☺☺♥♥

  3. What great pictures to go with a superb column !

  4. Great advice. And we agree with the Eastside Cats. Once you bring your new fur friend home, be patient. It takes a little time to adjust to new surroundings.

  5. Awesome post, Jeanne! All new adopters need to read this!

  6. It's so important for people to really think things through when they are bringing a kitty into their home. I'm glad you did this post.

  7. Great post Jeanne! This should be a handout at adoption centers.

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  9. Excellent article. There is very much to do and prepare for in adopting a cat; many people don't realise it until they are in the midst of things, and discover they aren't ready.


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