If you are preparing to bring a cat or kitten into your household and have never had one before, there are some behaviors you should be aware of. This can help you as an owner to know when there are problems with your feline friend and prepare you for life with them.
This applies especially to mature cats brought into a new home. Cats are very territorial and being introduced into a new area often makes them uneasy. Kittens usually have enough natural curiosity where they are more likely to explore than hide. However, mature cats often feel uncomfortable and will immediately seek out what they think is a safe area to hide in. Be aware that this is natural and the cat should come out in time.
The Litter Box
Giving the cat a safe place to use the litter box is important. Typically cats like some privacy and prefer it away from their food and water. Fill the box with about two inches of litter. Make sure you clean out and sanitize your box regularly.
Cats need to scratch, both instinctively, and to help keep their claws worn down. Some cats like softer scratching items such as carpet or sofa material, while others prefer rough material such as twine-wrapped posts. Discover what the cat leans towards scratching on, and replace it with a post covered in similar material.
Some cats will sleep in regular pet beds, but some prefer confined areas where they can get cozy and be hidden. If the new cat regularly looks for an enclosed area to sleep, it might be time to make up a bed in a cat carrier or other enclosed bed so he can feel safe.
Climbing and Jumping
Most cats love to climb and jump to get a better look at things. Some of them are not very aware of what they’re jumping on. A vet in Anchorage, AK says to try to make sure a window sill or two are clear to enable the cat to jump up and have a look out the window. Cat trees may be useful for both climbing and jumping habits.
It’s highly possible and normal that a cat newly introduced to a household will not be very interested in eating. They may not eat at all, initially. Feeding the cat treats or something else savory might help ease the transition. However, be aware that a cat cannot skip more than a few days of nothing to eat without health repercussions. Consult your vet if the cat has not eaten in a few days.
Be aware of these tips when bringing home a new cat and adjusting will be easier on both parties.
About the author: This article was written by Brooke Chaplan for Chester Valley Veterinary Hospital.