We love them because they save our souls from callousness, indifference and loneliness.
They love us for that ... They just love us - desperately, devotedly and selflessly. They rely on us, on our care, because we are their whole world, we are all that they have. So let's make their life a little more comfortable and happier.
Whether you’re bringing home your first, second or fifth cat, it’s extremely important to prepare ahead of time. Before making the decision to add a new cat to your household, please consider the following:
You have adopted a kitten.
The first few days are a difficult period not only for the new pet, but also for you because you need to learn to properly and patiently care for the kitten.
Remember that in an unfamiliar place the kitten may experience not only curiosity, but also stress, so make sure you take some free time to be with the new family member.
In the early days, limit the kitten to one room.
Prepare a safe room. A safe starter room or sanctuary for the new cat will provide the cat with the quiet and safety they need while becoming familiar with the scents and sounds of your home. The kitten needs a place where she can escape. In it you need to put a bed, a bowl of water, a toilet (litter box), and toys. Place her food and water on one side of the room and an open (unenclosed) litter box on the other side.
Let him look around on his own.
If the kitten is hiding, do not try to lure him, or especially get him out of the shelter by force. Remember that cats, even as kittens, are independent animals and appreciate it when we respect their boundaries.
For the same reason, you should not allow children to play with the kitten for the first few days of adaptation. When the kitten himself gets out of the shelter, praise him, offer him food or treats, play with him and do not forget to periodically put him in the litter box so that the baby remembers this place.
It is important to remember that in the first days the kitten can behave uneasily, meow a lot at night, or even forget the way to the toilet and have an accident.
The main thing in all these situations is to control yourself and do not scold or punish him! Handle the kitten carefully and be patient.
You need to observe the kitten in the early days, until it settles into its new home.
Give the kitten the opportunity to sniff everything and look around and use caution when meeting other animals.
The situation for the kitten is new and it is difficult for him to immediately fit into it.
If at first he doesn’t come to you, be patient. Sooner or later, he will definitely come to you, want to eat and chat. Usually, the adaptation stage lasts 2 or 3 days.
To stop the "commission of a crime", for example, she begins to tear up furniture before your eyes or dig around with a paw in a flower pot, a sharp cry of "no!" ,clapping or stomping your feet, or in difficult cases, a spray bottle with water is suitable.
Remember, small or large - they understand a lot. But kittens, especially before the age of one year, sometimes just want to play like all young children!
Buy your baby a sufficient number of toys and claw pads. Then he will have something to do, something to play with, and not choose your furniture for this.
Remember, polite cats are obtained only from properly raised kittens. Therefore, if you want your kitten to mature without causing problems, you should start raising it properly from the very first days.
Remember that bad cat habits are easier to prevent than to fix. Set limits from the very first day. If you do not want to sleep in the same bed with a cat, do not take the kitten to your bed.
If you do not want the cat to jump onto the table, do not put the kitten there.
Do not let the kitten play with your hands - only with toys, otherwise sooner or later he will grow up and his light bites will turn into serious bites, a habit which it will be very difficult to unlearn.
It is important to know that cats perfectly understand human intonation. And said in a strict voice, the word "No!" may be the best method of not learning bad habits. Take the kitten out of the flower pot or take it off the curtain, look into his eyes and say firmly “No!”, and then let him go. Two or three times should be enough for the kitten to finally understand you.
At the same time, do not forget that kittens are children. They play and develop, show curiosity and exhaust out excessive energy, so do not put too tight a control on him. Try to find an alternative, for example, if the kitten wants to climb the curtains, buy him a game complex where he can hang on the walls without any harm to the house.
Ready to explore the roost.
Remember, integration into the rest of the house is dependent on the personality of your new cat (as well as your existing pets). Sometimes the integration process can begin in just two to four days; however, sometimes it is best to wait a couple weeks. Shy cats in particular may need a longer integration period.
Due to their age and lack of experience, kittens are much more curious than adult cats. That is why they try to stick their nose everywhere, examine all the cracks and put everything in their mouth. Think about the safety of your home for a kitten.
Here are the main dangers that kittens may face:
The most dangerous will be open windows and balconies, when your pet, hunting for a fly, butterfly, without hesitation, jumps out.
Before switching on, be sure to check that your curious pet is not in the washing machine, dishwasher, oven or even the microwave.
Make sure that the kitten does not bite the wires - this is deadly! Think about ways your electric cables can be hidden in your home.
Many cats like to get inside the packages and play with them, but they can get confused and suffocate, so keep the packages out of their reach.
Threads, yarn, and Christmas tinsel.
It's fun to play with all this, but it's also easy for them to choke and suffocate. There is also a risk that the kitten will swallow the thread and then you will definitely need the help of a veterinarian.
Some species of harmless domestic plants can be poisonous when eaten. Check to see if you have one.
Hot plates and hot iron surface.
Make sure that the pet does not come close to hot surfaces. The kitten may get a nose burn, even if it does try to sniff it very carefully.
A cat can get allergies, a chemical burn, or even be poisoned if an aggressive cleaning agent gets on her fur.
Phase 1 – Cat Smells Cat
Successful introductions take time. DO NOT and we repeat DO NOT try to introduce the new addition to your resident cat(s) immediately upon arrival. You may damage the new relationship irreparably and initiate fear, anger, aggression, spraying and litter box problems in the new cat and/or resident cat(s).
Successful introductions take time.
Let the cats sniff out the situation. Let “smell” be the first introduction as the cats sniff each other from under the “safe room” door. Within two to four days, begin exchanging the bedding between the new and resident cat(s) daily. This helps familiarize the cats with each other’s scents.
Phase 2 – Cat Continues to Smell Cat
Let the sniffing continue. If there are no marked signs of aggression from the cats, such as hissing and growling, the next step is to confine your resident cat to a room and let the new cat explore your house for a couple of hours each day for several days.
Phase 3 – Cat Sees Cat
Organize a carrier meeting. Place your new cat in a carrier and put the carrier in a location of your home outside of the safe room (for example, the living room). Allow the cats to look at each other and sniff through the carrier door.
Any signs of aggression? Keep the visit short and return the new cat to its safe room.
Repeat this phase 2 to 3 times daily (if possible), until cats appear to be more comfortable with each other.
Phase 4 – Cat Meets Cat
Let the cats meet at their own pace. If there are no signs of aggression between cats, leave the door to the safe room open a crack. This will allow the new cat to explore and/or your resident cat to visit. Supervision is necessary for the safety of both cats.
In case of aggression, have a spray bottle filled with water or a towel handy. Always stop serious threats and/or aggression immediately, as a serious fight may damage the potential for successful integration and relationship.
If over a period of weeks, if your integration plan is not going well, consider the installation of an inexpensive screen door from a building supply store. The screen door allows the cats to continue to get to know each other by sight and smell, while keeping both parties safe. Each cat can take turns in the screened room.
Phase 5 – Integration Complete
You may notice some occasional hissing, swatting and grouchy behavior over the next few months (and years). This is normal. Cats are hierarchical by nature and must establish and affirm the pecking order within your household. Plus, much like humans, all cats have the occasional “off” day.
Please note: The 5 phases detailed above offer only approximate timelines. Some integrations may proceed faster or slower and integration is dependent on the personalities of the cats involved. Remember, you know your cat(s) best. Use common sense and patience when integrating a new cat or cats.
Phase 1 – Cat Smells Dog
Follow the steps detailed in Phase 1 of the How to Introduce Cats to Cats section above.
Phase 2 – Switch Spots
If there are no other cats in your home, confine the dog to one room and let the cat begin to explore the rest of your house for one to two hours each day until the cat is familiar and comfortable with the layout of your home.
Phase 3 – Cat Meets Dog
Bring the dog in on a leash. Once the cat is used to your home, let the cat roam loose in one room. Keep the dog on a leash and have dog treats ready in your pocket. If possible, have another person with whom the cat is familiar, on the other side of the room to reassure and distract the cat from the dog.
Sit and meet.
Keep the dog seated and focused on you as the leader. Try offering the dog a toy. If the dog focuses on or accepts the toy, reward the dog with a treat. If the dog tries to stand and move towards the cat(s), correct the dog slightly with the leash and reward him or her with a treat. If at any point the dog is not responding to your commands or the cat’s stress level appears elevated, remove the dog from the room.
Keep repeating this process until the dog is responding to you and either ignoring or accepting the cat(s). This process helps teach the dog that cats are not prey, toys to be chased, or threats.
Never leave the dog and cat(s) unsupervised until you are absolutely sure they have built up a mutual, trusting and respectful relationship.
Make sure kitty has some space for alone time. Even once the cat(s) and dog(s) are comfortable with each other, cats still like having the option to retreat to a space away from the dog. Place a baby gate across the doorway of a room in the house where the cat or cats like to hang out, or buy or build a tall cat tower so they can retreat when needed.
Note: The length of time required to successfully integrate cats with dogs varies depending on the previous experiences of the animals involved. For example, your dog may have had previous encounter with a cat or the cat may have had prior experience with a dog. Often, when the cats and dogs are used to being around the other species, integration can be quicker.