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Preparing For The Arrival Of A Cat Or Kitten And Bringing It Home

It is important to prepare for the arrival of a cat or kitten, bring it home in a suitable container and give it time to settle into its new surroundings to keep stress to a minimum.

Once the decision has been to buy a cat it will be necessary to prepare for its arrival and buy the equipment beforehand. At the very least a feed bowl, water bowl, collar, cat food, a cat bedand some suitable cat toys should be purchased before collecting the cat. These items can all be purchased at any pet store.

It will also be necessary to have some form of travel bo in which to bring the cat home.

The home environment should also be considered for safety with any changes necessary being made before picking up the cat.

If the intention is to buy a kitten, look around the house from floor level for the following dangers and remedy:

  • Electric cables that a kitten may be able to chew
  • Furniture that the kitten may be able to squeeze underneath and become trapped
  • Objects that the kitten may be able to reach and chew or swallow
  • Gaps in garden fencing, etc that the kitten may be able to escape through

If buying an older cat the above will also need to be considered but obviously a larger cat is less likely to be able to crawl under furniture, squeeze through small gaps, etc.

A box or travel box will be required in which to place the kitten or cat while traveling to its new home. It is a good idea to line the box with an old item of the new owner's clothing as this will give the cat chance to get used to the scent of the new owner on the way home and is the start of getting the cat to feel comfortable with its new owner. A suitable toy should also be placed in the box to amuse the cat and take its mind off the journey.

It is wise to also take paper towel or tissues when collecting the cat as it may well urinate, defecate or vomit when traveling in the car and so it may be necessary to stop and clean up any mess.

On arrival home the new cat or kitten should be taken to a suitable place, such as litter box placed by the door to the garden, to relieve itself and should be praised when it does as this is the first step to toilet training.

The cat or kitten should then be allowed to quietly investigate the home and members of the family. The temptation to fuss and "over crowd" the cat or kitten should be avoided, instead let it investigate and introduce itself at its own pace so that it can build up its confidence in its new environment. Remember this is a stressful time for a new kitten or cat - they have been taken away from familiar surroundings and moved to a new house with a new family and patience is needed.

If the cat is wary of approaching other members of the family a toy or treat should prompt them to investigate each member individually.

The cat or kitten should be introduced to other pets cautiously as older pets may resent the new addition or may harm the new cat, particularly a kitten with rough play unintentionally. It is best to supervise socialising with other pets for at least the first week.