Cats A Match Made in Heaven

Published on August 2nd, 2017 | by Debbie Martin


Make your New Cat a Match Made in Heaven

It seems that some people give more thought to buying a new settee than they do about inviting a new cat into the home. It is all too easy to see a lovely, endearing bundle of fur and bring it home without thinking enough about how – or even if – that animal is going to fit into the household.

Don’t make a snap decision

It’s very tempting to give in to your instincts especially when you come across a poor creature crying out for care and affection, or when you see a gorgeous litter of kittens waiting for their new homes. There aren’t many cat lovers who can resist the urge to scoop one up and hurry home with it to introduce it to the family who are no doubt waiting in eager anticipation for the new addition to come and play with them. If you’re lucky this is a seamless process and the cat soon learns to happily adapt to its strange new environment. However in too many cases new owners can misjudge an animal and not take into account the fact that a cat may be fearful or nervous and may simply want to hide under the bed for the first few weeks. Cats are territorial and coming into a new environment can make them feel uneasy and unsure particularly if there are already established pets in the household.

In less than perfect situations some people just give up in their disappointment and either ignore the cat or give it away. This is a terrible way to deal with a frightened animal and can only lead to further distress for the cat. A disappointing situation can easily be avoided by working through a set of checks and rules before you embark on cat ownership. The key thing is to prepare thoroughly before you make a decision on what type of cat to bring in to your household. If necessary you could seek professional advice; organisations like the Cats Protection League, RSPCA or your local re-homing sanctuary are only too happy to assist you in finding the perfect cat for your situation. Getting things right at the outset will ensure that you and your new cat or kitten, plus the family and any other pets you have, live harmoniously together and avoid common pitfalls.

Consider Costs and Practicalities

The first consideration should always be – can you afford to keep an animal properly? Most sanctuaries will require you to pay the cost of initial adoption as this usually includes initial vaccination and worming but remember that annual boosters and regular preventative healthcare treatment will be needed. Factor in the cost of food, bedding, toys and treats as well as insurance, vet bills and holiday boarding and the costs can be considerable over the lifetime of the cat. If you are confident that you can comfortably afford to keep a cat then the next thing is to decide what type of cat is right for you. Kittens are cute but can be exhausting, especially after they spend all day shredding the curtains and all night running around the house like loons! And don’t forget that kittens need to be litter-trained and cleaned up after. If this is not for you then an older cat may suit you better. Here you should take advice because if you are looking forward to having the constant companionship of a snoozing cat on your lap, an independent cat that wants to be out hunting all the time will be a huge disappointment. Similarly, if you don’t want a home-loving cat and this is what you get, that particular animal is in for a lifetime of hurt and confusion.

Ideally you should try to find out as much about the animal as possible; its temperament and any early history are the key to deciding whether it will fit into your household and get along with others whether, human, furred or feathered. Be realistic about what you expect from not only the new cat but also from established pets and take into account the different temperaments. Introducing a cat with a fiery temper or excitable nature into a settled and quiet environment can be a recipe for disaster, and vice versa. Similarly, putting animals together that obviously hate each other can only create a warzone and this situation can rarely be solved other than by separating warring factions or re-homing one of them. Either scenario will ruin the cat-owning experience.

Bringing Your New Cat Home

Be prepared. Get everything in place ready for the new arrival including a prepared litter tray, which you will need even for an adult cat while it gets used to its new home. Make sure you set up a secure place in a quiet part of the house where the new cat can hide if necessary. Have plenty of toys ready for inquisitive kittens to play with and if you value your soft furnishings have a scratching post in place. Cats and kittens need to scratch to wear down their claws so it is better to provide a purpose-made post just for this. Above all, if there are children in the household they must be taught that the new cat or kitten will need to be left alone at first while it acclimatises to the new surroundings. Older cats especially can feel overwhelmed by the attentions of excitable small children and may lash out if they feel threatened in any way. Provide a high perch or covered bed somewhere in the house for the cat to get out of the way when it has had enough attention and ensure the children know to leave it alone when it retreats to its private place. It will take a couple of weeks for your cat to adjust so be patient.

When you take a new cat into your home there is never any guarantee that things will work out in the way you expect. However if you are realistic in your choice of cat or kitten in the first place and realistic in your expectations of its behaviour, you should enjoy a long and happy relationship together.

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About the Author

Debbie Martin has worked at Beeston Animal Health for over five years, having previously worked as a nurse in equine and small animal practice. Although generally involved with aspects of marketing these days and putting her psychology degree to good use, she still has a great depth of up to date knowledge in all creatures great and small. Debbie lives at home with her partner and two children and spends much of her spare time looking after her horses, dogs and cats or at the home farm with the cows, sheep and turkeys.

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