Updated: Jun 9
So you decided you want to add a new (and very special) addition to your household! Congratulations, your life is about to get 100 times better! You probably have a lot of questions, as this is a big change for you as well as your future new addition, so we've got you covered.
Cats are all unique, so it is extremely important to understand the type of personality you are looking to add to your house. Are you looking for someone playful? Cuddly? Maybe a cat that has enough energy to keep up with current pets you already have? Before looking around, really take a moment to think about what you envision your household to look like with a new addition (It is also important to note that a cat's personality in a shelter is only a glimmer of how they are in a home. So be open to the ones that come off a little timid at first as well).
Prepare Your Home:
There are a few things you should have before bringing your new cat home:
Food/ Water Bowls
Food (Wet and dry)
Do some research on the brands of food you intend on feeding your cat. Cats (and their bodies) are terrible with change. Try and stick with one brand, with one or two entree options (chicken & turkey, or liver & fish). Your cat will thank you for the consistency! Be prepared to adjust food variety based on their personal choices and some experimentation.
A water fountain is one of the best sources of water for your cat. They are more inclined to drink from running water, rather than stagnant water (smart kitties). Having a well hydrated cat is one of the most important things to keeping them healthy and thriving!
If you have more than one cat, you should have one litter box per cat PLUS an additional one. This will help with territorial issues in the household, especially as they are adjusting to a new environment.
Make sure your cat is aware that they have everything that they need as soon as you get them home. Remember, they are going through another very big change in their lives and it is best to keep them reassured that they are in safe, loving hands.
Picking Them Up From The Shelter:
So your house is prepared for the new arrival! Great, now let's get them there!
You should have with you:
An easy-to-use carrier
Your cat is likely to be petrified when they are sitting in a carrier with no idea where they are going. Keep them as comfortable as possible by setting them up with a nice, warm blanket for the ride home. It may take a few tries to get them in the carrier (cats are smart and very tactical!) so having some treats or catnip to calm their nerves is always helpful! Don't worry though, the employees at the shelter will be very helpful during this process.
Be prepared for a symphony of cat meows on your entire drive home. Some cats can be very vocal during scary car rides!
Getting Them Home:
The part you were anticipating since the moment you found out you were approved for adoption: welcoming them home!
Start your cat in one room, with everything they need. This room is better to be on the smaller side, like a bathroom, so that they can take their time to slowly ease into the transition.
After letting your cat leave the carrier, show them immediately where the litter box is. Letting them see where all of the necessities are will help to prevent accidents!
As they get comfortable, let them navigate through more rooms until they have successfully seen the entire house. Be prepared for your cat to be very scared and in search of any place to hide. Adapting to change takes time. Just try to be as patient with them as possible.
It takes cats approximately 2 to 4 weeks to begin to feel comfortable in their new environment. It takes about 3 to 4 months for this new location to feel like home, and about 8 months to a year for your new cat to become close buddies with other animals in the house. *Patience and understanding is KEY to a happy household*
In no time, your cat will become irreplaceable in your life and you will wonder how you went so long without them. Enjoy all of the little moments and watch the bond bloom that you two will share.