Adopting a Cat 101
5 Tips to Help You Choose & Assimilate a New Cat Into Your Home
Adopting a feline family member is a big, exciting occasion. Choosing to bring a cat into your home, even if it’s your first, third, or sixth cat, should never be on impulse. There’s more to adopting a cat than picking out a cute name and snazzy collar.
For your new furry friend to be happy and content, as well as everyone else in the household, it’s important to make sure you’re making the right decision. Every Just For Pets independent retailer can give you expert advice on adopting a cat, and we’ve compiled a list of stores at the end of this article that proudly offer adoptions for rescue kittens and cats.
Meanwhile, here are five tips to help you consider the best plan of action in choosing and integrating an adopted cat:
1. To Cat or Not to Cat
First thing’s first. You’ll need to make sure everyone in the household is ready to welcome an animal into the home. This includes other pets. If it’s just you in the house, then you’re already good to go! If you’re renting a home, then you’ll need to get permission from your landlord first.
If you’re really looking to take the plunge, adopting two cats at once isn’t the craziest thing in the world. There have been many cases where cats have bonded to the point of brotherhood in rescue shelters or previous homes, or they may be from the same litter. Luckily, having two or more cats provide each other with plenty of mental stimulation, exercise, and companionship, especially if you’re often out and about.
2. Personality & Age Matter
It’s easy to fall in love with that adorable, furry face in store, but knowing what your needs are is a priority. Figure the kind of personality you’d like to have in a new cat so that personalities won’t clash if you have other cats or dogs in the house. This counts for kids, too, since some cats aren’t compatible with tugs and loud noises.
Since cats are living a little longer these days thanks to modern medicine and better nutrition, consider that your new cat may hopefully be with you for a very long time. Adopting a senior cat is a gratifying experience in itself. See our Your Aging Cat article to get tips on caring for a feline in her golden years.
3. The Search Is On
Find a reputable rescue centre or check our Just For Pets independent retailers to see if they have any kittens or cats ready to adopt. All of our member stores have connections to local animal shelters and rescue centres, so they will have expert advice in helping you in your search. See our list below of some JFP stores that already have kittens and cats ready to adopt, or have scheduled meet-and-greets from local shelters.
Never buy a kitten over the internet. It’s best to be able to meet the feline first to see if you have a bond. If you have children, let them meet the potential family member as long as they’re able to use “gentle hands” when handling the cat. Our JFP pet experts can also walk you through this process. Rest assured knowing that every kitten and cat we have up for adoption are microchipped, vaccinated, and de-wormed.
4. Find A Safe Place
Once you have brought your new cat home, create a safe place for her to transition into her new environment. A safe room is an isolation sanctuary that helps her to adjust to new sounds and smells and should be utilised for about a week. It’s best if this area is already in place before you arrive home.
Some essential supplies to place in the safe room are:
- articles of clothing from each family member (this helps with getting to know your scent)
- a cosy hiding place like a new cat bed, cardboard box, or sheets
- cat toys for entertainment
- food, water, and a litter box
- a scratching post with Feliway Feliscratch
If you have other pets, especially cats in the house, one way for them to slowly get to know each other is to allow them to bat and sniff each other from underneath the door of her safe room. Letting them “fight it out” is an absolute no-no as this can cause immediate harm to any healthy relationship they could’ve had.
After about two or three days of sniffing each other from underneath the door, the MEOW Foundation suggests exchanging the bedding between the new and established cats each day so that they become even more familiar with each other’s scents.
5. Assimilation Complete
After the new cat has had a week or so in her sanctuary, and you have been in and out to allow her to get to know you, it’s officially time to let her explore her new domain in its entirety. Perhaps you have been occasionally allowing her throughout the week, but now she knows where her safe place is, which will be helpful for her to hide if she’s feeling overwhelmed.
Consider taking her to her new vet, or if your local Just For Pets independent retailer has a Pet Health Check, you can always bring her in for a free six-point health check. If your new feline friend is having a hard time adjusting, and if you haven’t already done so, pick up a Feliway diffuser. This product is notorious for helping cats adjust to new environments, and it reduces stress- or anxiety-related spraying in the home. Feliway is available in-store and in our online store.
Adopting a cat should never be a spur of the moment decision. Careful planning and making sure all members of the household are ready are priorities. Following these invaluable tips is an excellent way to help you consider how to choose and assimilate your new feline friend to the family.
As mentioned before, all of the Just For Pets member stores will be happy to help you with your process, including deciding which rescue centre to adopt from.
Here are several stores that always or most often have rescue kittens and cats to adopt:
Paws For Pets, Marden, SA (08 8363 3781): Cat Adoption Found comes in every Saturday and the occasional Sunday for meet and greets.
Head to Tail Pets, Albany, WA (08 9841 7911): Frequently has cats and kittens from Albany Animal Welfare
Brontosaurus Pet Super Centre, Coffs Harbour, NSW (02 6652 4308): Always has cats and kittens available from Kitty Cat Cover and Rhonda’s Treasures. Have rehomed nearly 350 cats and kittens!
Pets Unleashed, Morningside, QLD (07 3395 6668): Always has cats and kittens from 9 weeks to adults available from Animal Welfare League
Woonona Petfood & Produce, Bellambi, NSW (02 4284 3162): Cats and kittens at Country Companion Animal Rescue are always available and sometimes bring them in store for meet-and-greets
Paw Prints Pet Supplies, Diamond Creek, VIC (03 8418 6893): Has adoption cats from Maneki Neko Cat Rescue