Friday, 19 March 2010

Questions, questions!

It's Friday again. Fingers crossed we will do some kitty hunting this weekend.
We have been given the details of a lady who takes unloved cats in to be re-homed and we are hoping to pop in to see her and meet her cats on Sunday.

If we do get our kitty on Sunday what is the best way to introduce it to us and the house?
I suddenly started thinking that it must be very strange for a kitty being packed up and brought to a new family. Obviously we don't let it outside for a while but should we let it get used to one room first or give it the whole house to wander?
Should we let it explore alone or try to introduce ourselves first? 
Do we need to cat proof the house in some way?
How can we make it feel at home as soon as possible?

Phew! I have more questions about this than I realised!


  1. You know, I think it depends on the cat. There are "rules" about this, and about proper integration of cats into a household with existing animals, but though I followed them, truth be told, they really didn't work well for my three.

    When I adopted my first, Chumley, I just brought him home and he had the run of the place. There were no other animals, so no stress that way. He sauntered in and the place was his.

    When I adopted Annie a few months later (still with no clue about cats, really), I brought her home and opened the carrier and away she went. I never knew about "proper" integration techniques.

    With Nicki, I brought him home to his own room and he had no problem adjusting. Annie was (is) the problem. And Nicki yeowled so much at night that on the third night I just opened the door and let him have the run of the house.

    Finally, with Derry, I also brought him home and put him in his own room. Within 20 minutes Nicki was in there with him and they were best buds. I kept the boys in that one room for the first night, then Derry had the run of the house too. Probably cat "experts" are aghast, but honestly, sometimes the rules just don't work. It really depends on the purrsonalities of the cats.

    Frankly, I wouldn't worry too much about bringing a cat into a house with no other animals. Depending on the age, you want to make sure things are fairly cat-proof, though. That s/eh can't access any household cleaners, other poisons, etc. That they have a safe place for themselves if they need it. Certainly you can confine the cat to one room that is all set up if it feels like the right thing to do. Talk to the woman who takes in these cats, as she'll have suggestions, if the right cat does find you. She'll be able to tell you if s/he is skittish or bold or what have you.

    Good luck and sorry this was so lengthy!

  2. When Scooter(RIP) and I, Skeeter, came to live with mom, we were little 5 week old babies. She just let us have the run of the place and let us get used to our surroundings on our own. We were never allowed to go outside as she was afraid we would get hit by a car or attacked by neighborhood things. So we were indoor kitties and still are. Mom's not a fan of having outside cats unless we have a harness, which we do not as we won't let that thing get near us. But, she is considering getting a kittie stroller. Be sure to put baby locks on your cabinets that house cleaners and such. Also, if you have any plants, you can check out this website to see which ones are poisonous to kitties...

    Your new kittie will know your home is his/her furrever home and it may take a few days, but they'll be fine not long after. Good Luck Sunday!

  3. P.S. I should have stated that I strictly followed the rules of integration with a failed adoption, shortly after Chumley died.

    I listened to so-called cat "experts" who told me to adopt right away, so Annie wouldn't get used to being an Only Cat).

    16 days later I knew in my heart it was the wrong cat at the wrong time. I never, ever thought I'd have to return a cat to the shelter--it goes against all my principles--and it almost killed me to do it. (Plus I had paid for his neutering, shots, bloodwork, etc.) I had a friend drive me, she had to talk because I was sobbing so hard I could barely breath, let alone speak. The guilt was huge, but so was the relief. However, I happened to be there the day he was adopted to his forever home, shortly after that, so I know he had a happy ending.

    Which is just my way of illustrating that all the so-called rules don't necessarily work in every situation. Sometimes you have to trust your heart and gut -- a lesson I learned the hard way.

  4. Good luck; looks like you've got good advice here already=just do what feels right to you and "listen" to your kitty, they'll let you know when things aren't right.

  5. When Poppy first came home, I took her out of the PTU, then I gave her a wee cuddle and talked to her and let her explore. For the first two days, it was just the living room and kitchen, and then the bedrooms after that. I only live in a small tiny house, so it didn't take her long to explore.

    With an older cat, they will tell you whether they are curious or quiet. Outside should be saved for at least a week or two after they have got used to inside.

    One thing I must mention, was that at first I had a bit of a shock getting used to having a kitten around, and was a bit "what have I done", but that only lasted a couple of days while we both adjusted.

    Good luck, this is getting to be soooo exciting.

    Julie and Poppy Q

  6. First, make sure you have everything you need before the new kitty comes home: litter box, food, bowls, toys, treats, bed. It's best until the new kitty knows his way around to keep him confined to one area with the litterbox. If he seems confident, you can expand the area pretty quickly. If you allow a shy cat to roam freely, he will likely find a hiding spot and you won't see him for some time!

    As far as going outside, I think opinions are different in different parts of the world. It is always safest to have an indoor only cat. There is no chance for exposure to injuries from other cats, poisoning by ingesting antifreeze from cars, getting hit by cars, attacked by dogs, etc. A cat this is an indoor only cat is happy and safe inside.

    ps: I agree with what Poppy Q said. It takes a couple of days until you "fall in love" with the new bebbeh and he feels like part of your family.

  7. Oh, I forgot to add, cats are unlike dogs in regards to attention from people, and they prefer to approach you on their own time. If you keep trying to pick up and hold a cat that doesn't want to be held, they will try to get away from you. It's best to just sit quietly and let a cat come to you.

  8. We agree with Daisy. Let the kitty adjust and she'll come to you. Please, please don't allow her out unless you want to shorten her life. Indoor cats live 3 or 4 times as long as outdoor cats. All of ours live indoors and they're perfectly fine with it.