Here is a little help for new cat owners, please read as you may find some information useful even if you are an experienced pet owner
All cats and kittens are different, some will fit into your household almost immediately and some may take much, much longer. The most important thing you can do is to be patient.
Don’t be in a hurry to greet your new cat or kitten, let them come out of the carrying box in their own good time. Remember that some of these little soles have never been inside a house in their lives, all they may want to do is hide.
Please ask eager friends and family to wait a few days before visiting, as the newcomer will need a little time to settle.
You may want to consider restricting your new cat or kitten to just one or two rooms at this stage. You can gradually introduce new rooms one at a time.
Make sure you show the newcomer where the litter tray is, and keep reminding them until you’re sure they have the hang of it. Try not to move the tray around, and stick to the same litter for a while or else you may find you have one very confused kitty on your hands!
All cats need a period to settle in, and time to feel secure in their new homes. We recommend that you do not let your cat out into the garden for at least two months. In the case of some very nervous cats it will need to be much longer than this. After all, you want your cat to come back, don’t you?
In the case of kittens it is very important that you do not begin visits into the garden until after they have been neutered. Cats can reproduce when they are just 5/6 months old!
Here are a few ideas that may help.
1) Let your cat out just before a meal. When its time to come back inside, the sound of dinner being prepared may be just the thing to bring him running.
2) Make sure you supervise your cat at first. He will be less likely to want to go over the fence if you are there to play with.
3) When its time to come in don’t be tempted to chase your cat around the garden. If he won’t come when called, use a bribe. If there’s a treat waiting your cat will want to return indoors.
4) Don’t leave your cat outside if you are going out to work all day. If the weather becomes very hot or it begins to rain or it may suddenly become very cold, your cat will need to be able to shelter. He will also need food and water.
5) Dusk and dawn are very dangerous times of the day, so your cat should not be allowed out, except during day light hours. Of course it goes without saying that your cat must be kept in at night too, so don’t throw that litter tray away, unless you want to be awoken in the night for toilet duties
5) If your cat goes out, it is important to have some form of I.D. a collar is the most obvious choice, but make sure it’s not too loose or too tight, and that it will come off if it gets caught on a branch, for example. Make sure it has your contact details on it. Your cat should also be microchiped, which is an excellent backup.
Sometimes we may home a cat or kitten on the understanding that it is not allowed out at all, this might be for one of several reasons.
1) He may have never gone outside in the past, and it may not be in his best interests to change the habits of a lifetime.
2) He may have a virus, which must not be passed on to other cats.
3) He may be a very nervous cat or kitten that perhaps would be too afraid to return home.
4) It may be that you can offer a good home but live in a flat or on a main road, which would not be suitable for an outside cat.
Whatever the reasons, if you agree to keep your new cat or kitten indoors then you must keep to this agreement. If you don’t and something happens to your cat then you will have let everyone down, especially your precious little pet.
If you move home this might be a good time to review the agreement, but please speak to someone at the charity to make sure.
Before any of our cats or kittens leaves us it is our policy to vaccinate them against flu enteritis & Felv. If they are with us long enough they will have both their first injection and their second injection three weeks later. Occasionally they leave us before the second jab is due and it may be the responsibility of you the new owner to take your cat back to our vet. But don’t worry we will explain the details to you, if this is necessary.
From then on you will need to take your cat back to your vet every twelve months for his booster. This is very important even if your cat doesn’t go outside because some of these diseases are air-borne.
FLEA AND WORM TREATMENTS
Your cat or kitten should already have been treated for these parasites as a matter of course when he first came into care. So there will be no need to begin preventative treatment until just before he goes out for the first time. Unless of course you have other pets that already go outdoors, and then you should continue to protect your new cat or kitten from the day it arrives
We recommend that you use a veterinary product and not an over the counter treatment. They may be less expensive, but they are a false economy if they don’t work effectively. However, Frontline & Drontal are now available at places other than your vet & they are both excellent products.
You should continue to use flea and worm treatments all year as fleas survive in our homes during winter thanks to central heating.
Please don’t be tempted to use a second treatment such as a flea collar, ‘just to be on the safe side.’ This could be toxic to your little cat.
If you already have another cat(s) you need to carefully introduce any new comer to the household.
There are several things you should be aware of.
1) Do not let the newcomer meet your other pet(s) for 2/3 days, this will give him time to settle, it will also allow him to begin to smell more like the home around him.
2) Because cats rely on their sense of smell a great deal, for the first few days try swapping your cats blankets around. Allowing the cats to understand that there are others in the area.
3) For the first meeting place your new cat or kitten in a carrying basket, dog crate or similar and allow your existing cat to enter the room. There may well be some hissing to start with. It may be a good idea to close any outside doors until you know your cat has calmed down.
4) Continue this type of introduction until things settle down between the cats. Then, in time you can try without the protection of a physical barrier.
5) Remember, this process could take a week or two, if you rush things and it goes wrong, it will take much longer to progress.
Kittens and young cats can be into everything, and even as they mature some still get them selves into trouble. Here are a few of the hazards your cat may encounter.
• Any household cleaning product, but especially those which cloud in water.
• Anti-freeze. Cats are attracted to this lethal substance.
• House plants, cut flowers etc. The Christmas rose and Lilies are especially toxic; one little nibble can kill a cat outright.
• Hot plates, kettles, open fires etc. Cats love to climb up chimneys!
• Electric cables, which can be chewed or pulled.
• Toilet seats left up. Kittens have been known to drown in toilets.
• Baths. Remember to add cold water as it runs just in case your kitten tumbles in.
• Toys with lengths of elastic or cord, should never be left for your kitten to play with. These have been known to wrap tightly around neck and paws with disastrous results.
• Small items from toys etc, which could cause choking.
• Needles and thread. If swallowed would mean an emergency visit to the vet.
• Bee and wasp stings, especially in the mouth.
• Kitchen appliances such as washing machines, tumble driers, dish washers. Cats have been known to climb into these warm places or even get mixed up with clothing. Causing almost certain death.
• Granulated coffee, chocolate, cigarettes, alcohol, and plastic bags.
If in doubt, think along the lines of having a toddler running about.
THINGS YOU WILL NEED
There are certain essential things you will need to buy for you new cat or kitten; here is a list to help you.
• A sturdy cat carrying box, one that will be big enough for your cat to stand up and turn around in even when he is fully grown. It should be made of plastic or wire. A cardboard one wont last 5 minuets and your cat can easily breakout of it.
• A litter tray. We would recommend one with a hood as it does stop litter from being scattered all over. It should be big enough for a fully-grown cat to use, because as we said before your cat will need to use it at night.
• Litter and a scoop. We suggest to begin with you use a the same type of litter your cat has been using whilst in care, later you can change litter type gradually if you wish.
• A cosy bed.
• A scratching post, tall enough for a fully-grown cat to stretch on.
• A large water bowl. Cats should have access to cool drinking water at all times.
Each cat or kitten has its very own likes and dislikes, some are easy to please whilst others soon have you twisted around their little claw when it comes to meal times.
If a meal is refused please don’t be tempted to offer your cat an alternative meal right away, it may be that your cat isn’t hungry. If one particular type of meat is constantly refused then stop buying it.
You will be advised what type of food your new cat or kitten has been eating whilst in care, if you want to change, that’s fine but do it slowly to prevent tummy upsets.
We usually recommend that you offer both wet (tinned) food and dry (biscuits), as wet food ensures your cat gets enough water each day and biscuits can be good for the teeth.
Milk is not advised unless it is the special cat milk, which is available on the market, this has the lactose, which can upset cats tummies, removed.
If you store opened tins of food in the refrigerator, you should remember to bring the food back up to room temperature before offering it to your cat.
Kittens should be fed up to four times a day, gradually reducing this to twice. If your cat or kitten is greedy then you may need to restrict the amount of food you put down at one time. Otherwise it is safe to leave both wet and dry food down all the time, allowing your cat or kitten to ‘graze’. Of course water should always be available.
KEEPING IN TOUCH
All the cats that come into our care are precious to us. Our fosterers put a lot of time and love into what they do. Please keep in touch and let us know how you are all getting along. A phone call, letter or e mail is always much appreciated. If you don’t always hear back from us it’s just that we are very busy, but rest assured we are always very grateful.
Remember if you move house to let us know so that we can update our records.
And please also remember that if your circumstances change and you are no longer able to keep your adopted cat please get in touch with us.