Adopt a Cat > Adult Cat
TIPS ON ADOPTING AN ADULT CAT
Bringing your new cat home
When you collect your cat from the foster home you should travel with your new companion in a secure cat basket. Some cats prefer to travel with the basket covered with a blanket to help calm them. On arrival at your home put the basket in a small room in which you have already put a little food, drink, a litter tray and some play things. Leave your new pet there for a couple of hours to take in all the strange smells and noises. Your home will be totally alien and they will need time to adapt, to feel their way around and to accept it as home. Some cats will seek out safe spaces where they can hide if they feel unsure.
Provide a warm safe bed which is enclosed on three sides - a cardboard box is ideal lined with some old jumpers or a piece of blanket. Make sure it is not in a draught and not too close to either her food, water or litter tray.
You will have been advised by the TVAW fosterer if your cat has any particular likes or dislikes or if there is anything which upsets them. All cats, but especially those fed on dry food, should have access to clean water at all times.
There is nothing better than feeding for bond building so initially feed little and often. Have a feeding signal - tap a plate, whistle, call or open a specific cupboard so that they know when food is coming. You will find this useful to recall when they first go outside. Hand feeding special titbits, cooked fish or meat is a great way to win confidence and to make friends quickly.
Most cats will use a litter tray quite happily, especially if they have come from one of our foster homes where they will have been using a tray. Make sure that your cat knows where the litter tray is, that it is roomy enough and that there is plenty of litter. Keep it as fresh as possible by removing solids and clumps twice a day. There are various types of litter available. If your cat does not like one sort try another. For example some will not use the small pellets but prefer the fullers earth type, possibly because they like to feel steady while they are standing on the litter and the pellet variety rolls around under their paws. Generally, the finer the litter the easier it is for the cat to adapt to. If all else fails, use soil from the garden, gradually replacing it with litter as your cat becomes used to using the litter tray.
An enclosed litter tray can be very useful as it stops the litter flying around if the cat is a little vigorous in its use of the tray. These can be a bit expensive. If you already have a tray try covering it with a cardboard box turned upside down with a hole cut out at the front to allow the cat to get inside to use the tray.
Introducing your cat to other animals
If you have other cats or dogs take everything slowly and quietly. Let them gain confidence in you and their new surroundings before introducing them to the other feline or canine members of your family. They will know that your new cat is there and will be able to get used to their smell in the house before coming face to face with them. Try to let them out of the room to explore the house when your other animals are not there.
If you have a dog try introducing them with the cat in a pen where it can see out but still feel secure and have the dog on a lead. Progress to sitting quietly with the dog on a lead and the cat loose - the cat will have sussed out bolt holes by then and will investigate, knowing they can run to safety if they want to.
The great outdoors
Keep your cat indoors for a minimum of two to three weeks in order to reorientate them, longer if they are young kittens or still nervous. When you let them out for the first time do so just before a meal when they will be hungry and so less inclined to explore too much. If possible walk around the garden with them a few times before you let them have free access to outside. (Some people put their cat on a lead for a while but not all cats will accept this.)
Unless you have been advised to the contrary TVAW believes your cat to be in good health. We advise that you register your new cat with a vet ASAP and enrol them on a regular programme for flea and worming treatment. TVAW will provide as much medical history as we have on your new cat including vaccination certificates if we have been given them.
If you are not already registered with a vet do so as soon as you acquire your cat rather than leaving it until an emergency arises. You should also buy a good book on cat care.
Cats and kittens should be vaccinated against flu and feline infectious enteritis. It is also possible for cats to be vaccinated against feline leukaemia. Cats, particularly those who hunt, should be wormed regularly as well as being treated for fleas. All cats like to be groomed but long haired cats especially should be groomed every day to prevent tangles developing in their coats and the cat suffering from hairballs.
All cats should be neutered or spayed. TVAW neuters all adult cats before rehoming. If you have given a home to one of our kittens you should have it neutered at about 5 months in the case of males and about 6 months for females.
We strongly advise that all cats and kittens should be microchipped.
We cannot cover all aspects of cat care here but we hope that these notes will help you to settle your new cat into your home as quickly as possible. If you have any problems or queries please do get in touch with the foster home where you obtained your cat or ring one of the numbers on the homing agreement. Normally adult cats are grateful for a home and settle down quickly but if you have serious problems contact TVAW and we will try to help you to overcome the problem but if all else fails we will take the cat back into care for rehoming. Please do not pass the cat on to friends or relatives without discussing it with us first.