Does Your New Cat Know the House Rules?
Congratulations, you’ve just adopted a new cat! What sort of gear do you need to keep your feline friend happy and healthy? The list includes litter and a litter box, bed, food and water bowls, a carrier and an ID tag. Another important thing to remember is to check with the shelter or breeder where you adopted the cat to check on his/her current diet and eating habits. Cats can be particular about food and it can cause digestive problems if you change the type of food you feed your new pet.
If you have other pets, it is important to introduce the new addition correctly. Confine the new arrival to a specific area, being very careful to limit the amount of exposure to the other pets in the home. Gradually increase the space available and exposure time the new arrival and the established pets.
Is your new addition a kitten? If so, there are some basic “rules of the road” to enforce that will prevent problems later.
- Be sure there are the correct number of litter boxes for the number of cats in the home. The rule of thumb is one box per cat plus one additional box. Be sure the boxes are in easy-to-reach locations and provide a level of privacy for the cat(s).
- Offer plenty of toys and interactive playtime to satisfy her instincts. If she attacks your ankles or tends to bite when you pet her, redirect these behaviors to a feather wand or other toy she can clutch and sink her teeth into.
- Provide posts and cat trees for scratching, climbing and playing. Posts and cat trees will satisfy a cat’s natural instinct to climb and jump, sharpen your claws and help protect your furniture.
- Reinforce good behavior and redirect unwanted behavior. Cats often like to “counter surf”, a way to prevent this is covering the counter with aluminum foil (cats hate the sound of the foil and how it feels on their paws). Another trick is to put pennies in clean, empty soda cans and line them up on the counter. Your cat will be startled by the sound the cans makes when they fall.
Adding a feline to your home can be a plus, but be sure they know and obey the “house rules”.
Information from this post derived from Cat Fancy magazine, April 2010 and The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Cat, Cat Breeds & Cat Care by Alan Edwards