Cats make great companions. Not only do they look good, they also keep mice away and have built-in motors. That’s pretty cool.
But there’s more to owning a cat than having a cute, soft, purring companion. Before you get one, there are a few things you should think about, and a few things that are just plain good to know.
1. Prepare a safe room. A safe starter room or sanctuary for the new cat will provide the cat with the quiet and safety she/he needs while becoming familiar with the scents and sounds of your home. The starter room can be any size but must have a secure door and ceiling.
2. Give kitty a place to hide. New cats are often nervous and like to hide. Cardboard boxes or sheets draped over chairs make ideal hiding spots when you first bring kitty home. If you’ve adopted a shy cat, we recommend removing large items of furniture from the room, such as beds and dressers. It is much easier to interact with a cat hiding in a box than a cat hiding under a bed.
3. Help your new cat get to know you. Place a t-shirt or a piece of your clothing that contains your scent in the safe room.
4. Equip the safe room with cat food, water and litter. Place food and water on one side of the room and an open (unenclosed) litter box on the other side. Shyer cats may not eat much during the first 24 to 48 hours and may experience temporary diarrhea from stress. If your cat has not eaten in 48 hours, try some extra tasty treats such as canned tuna or salmon. If this is not successful, you may want to consult your veterinarian for advice.
5. Spend time with your new cat. In the beginning, visit frequently for short periods of time. Visiting can mean interacting directly with the new cat in the form of play or petting, or quietly reading a book or chatting on the telephone in the same space as your new companion. Keep in mind that a nervous cat may growl, hiss, twitch its tails or pull its ears back. The best response is to speak softly followed by giving the cat some time alone.
And there you have it. These are just a few of the things to keep in mind when you get yourself a new companion. Another important consideration: Cats often live for around 20 years, so you and your furry feline friend will be together for a long time.