Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Bringing Home a Rescue Cat Home

We offer lots of advice to people who adopt cats and kittens from us but we are often asked questions from other members of the public so here are a few tips for anyone bringing home a new cat…stay tuned for a kitten blog in the next few weeks as the process is slightly different
Before you collect your cat
Cats rely heavily on scent so, if you can, take an item of clothing or a blanket to leave with him, for a couple of days before you bring him home.  You can then bring this back, with the cat, in the cat carrier and it can be placed in a suitable area for him.
The Journey
Travelling can be extremely stressful for cats so bring along the items of clothing/blanket that you left with  him and pop it inside the carrier so there is a familiar scent.  It can also be helpful to spray the inside of the carrier, about 10 minutes before putting him inside, with Feliway.  Then, once he is inside pop a light blanket over the carrier so he feels secure.  Try to choose a time to travel outside of rush hour to keep the journey as short as possible.
Getting the home ready
The most important thing to remember is that you need to be patient.  Coming into a new environment can be scary for cats and the way in which you handle this can determine how well he will settle into his new life.  It is important to provide a safe and secure area where he can be alone.  It can help to have one quiet room set aside for him to call it’s own until it becomes more confident.  Try to include;

An area for food, and a separate area for water
·        At least one litter tray as far away from food as possible
·        Somewhere to hide
·        Access to a high spot where the cat can safety view it’s surroundings
·        A suitable place to sleep and, if possible, a variety of choices
·        A scratching post
·        A few cats toys
Arriving Home
If you have a room or area set aside for him, place the carrier in that area and open the door so he can come out when he is ready.  It can be helpful to leave the him alone for an hour or so, so he can explore his surroundings.  Some cats need less time and some cats need a little longer.  When you enter the room, whisper his name softly, get down to his level, put your hand out and let him come to you.
If he decides to hide just sit quietly in the room and talk occasionally in gentle low tones.  If he continues to hide you will need to repeat these steps and be patient, don’t force him out from hiding.  With cats who are very nervous, this can go on for days but as long as he is eating and using the litter tray, there should be no cause for concern.  If he is not eating, try moving the bowl a little closer to his hiding place.
You could try to tempt him out with a treat or a gentle quiet toy such as the fishing rod with feathers.  Play is a great way to bond with your cat.  You may find it easier to play at dawn or dusk as that is usually the time cats are most active.
Meeting the Family
Once the cat is confident with you, then the time comes to meet the other family members.  In the same way he needed to get used to you, he will need the same process outlined previously to get to know the family.  It can be difficult with small children but it is important that everyone stays calm and quiet until the cat learns to trust you all.
Once the cat is comfortable in his space, and comfortable with you, you can open up the door and allow the cat to wander the house.  It can be useful to wipe the cats cheeks with a soft cloth and then rub that cloth around the house as this will spread his scent around.  Make sure you keep the door to his room open so that he has a safe place to run to if he gets scared.  Most importantly, make sure all the external doors and windows are shut for at least 4 weeks as you need him to really settle in before he goes outside.
Once he has become comfortable and fully adjusted, you can allow him to explore the outside world.  I would recommend doing when he is hungry so that you can tempt him back in with food.

Hopefully this has provided some useful information but feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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