|TIPS ON ADOPTING AN ADULT CAT|
Bringing your new cat home
When you collect your cat from the foster home you should travel with her in a secure cat basket. Cover the basket with a blanket as this will help to calm your new pet. On arrival at your home put the basket, still covered, in a small room in which you have already put a little food, drink, a litter tray and some play things. Leave her there for a couple of hours to take in all the strange smells and noises. Your home will be totally alien to your new pet and she will need time to adapt, to feel her way around and to accept it as hers. She will need time to sort out her "bolt holes" where she can hide if she feels unsafe.
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 or her litter tray.
You will probably have been advised by the TVAW fosterer if your cat has any particular likes or dislikes or if there is anything which upsets her. 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 she knows when food is coming. You will find this useful to recall her when she first goes outside. Hand feeding special titbits, cooked fish or meat, is a great way to win her 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. Some. for example, 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 the 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 her gain confidence in you and her surroundings before introducing her to the other feline or canine members of your family. They will know that she is there and hopefully will be able to get used to her smell in the house before coming face to face with her. Try to let her out of her 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 cage 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 - she will have sussed out her bolt holes by then and will investigate , knowing she can run to safety.
The great outdoors
Keep your cat indoors for between two and three weeks in order to reorientate her, longer if she is still nervous. When you let her out for the first time do so just before a meal when she will be hungry and so less inclined to explore too much. If possible walk around the garden with her a few times before you let her 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 would however suggest that you take your new cat to a vet for an MOT. TVAW cannot afford to vaccinate all of the cats which it rehomes but if your cat had an up to date vaccination certificate when it was taken into care this will have been given to you.
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 hope to cover all aspects of cat care in a short leaflet 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. 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 TVAW first.