Before you bring your cat homeMake sure everyone in the household is prepared to care for your new pet. It will be your obligation to care for this pet for years to come. Have things ready BEFORE you bring your cat or kitten home! You will need such items as:
- Dry food in which the first ingredient listed is meat-preferably chicken. We recommend Iams, Purina One, Maxximum-any super premium brand, just check the label.
- Canned Food - we use a lot of Friskies brand. (See information below)
- Bowls - ceramic, glass, stainless steel (not plastic). Will need at least one each for water, dry food, and canned food.
- Litter box (see information below)
- Litter - we use scoopable only. It's the best way to keep a clean litterbox.
- Pet carrier or crate (to take kitten or cat home and for veterinarian trips)
Introducing your cat into his or her new home
- Close off extra bedroom doors, basement doors, etc. to make the house smaller while the new cat is learning the layout of the house.
- It's important for the first 1-1/2 hours to show the cat the location of the litterboxes. Every 20 minutes, pick up and pet the cat, and place him/her in the litterbox. He doesn't have to STAY in the box, you are simply showing him the location of the boxes. The cats at the rescue center all use their litterboxes, they just need to learn where the boxes are in their new home. This procedure is very effective.
- All cats/kittens must leave the rescue center in a pet carrier. Upon arrival at home, put the carrier on the floor "in the midst of the house!". Leave the carrier closed and let him/her relax, by leaving it right there for 10 minutes or so. This allows your pet to view the house while feeling safe and comfortable. When you open the carrier, let your new pet explore and investigate.
- IF YOU HAVE OTHER CATS IN THE HOUSE - allow them to come over and sniff the newcomer. You and the family should remain calm and act normally, even if there is growling or hissing between your pets. Just sit close by, speak in soothing tones, and behave normally. When the resident cat gets bored and leaves the scene, then open the door to the pet carrier. Exploring will begin!
- IF YOU HAVE A DOG IN THE HOUSE - encourage your dog to come over and meet the new addition. Encourage the dog to stay close and sniff and possibly lay down near the crate. Remember, all F.F.R.C. cats are used to dogs, they just don't know YOUR dog yet. Keep in mind too, that the dogs at the rescue center are NEVER allowed to chase a cat. After 5 minutes of checking each other out, it's a good idea to put the dog in a room while the new cat is exploring OR keep the dog on a leash for the initial getting-acquainted period. This gives the cat a chance to learn the layout of the house before dealing with the dog, too!
- Have clean water available at ALL times for your cat. Be sure to wash food and water dishes frequently-bacteria can build up rapidly in them.
- At the rescue center, we leave dry cat and kitten food out 24/7, which is known as free feeding. Any cat under 12 months should have dry KITTEN food. Over 12 months, feed dry CAT food.
- Also at the rescue center, we feed canned food, per the advice of our veterinarians. Kittens under 3 months and our geriatric cats 12 years and older are fed a small amount 4 times daily. Kittens between 3-5 months are fed a small amount 3 times daily. Kittens and cats 5 months up to 12 years of age are fed a small amount twice a day.
- Cow's milk can cause diarrhea! Many cats are lactose intolerant.
LitterboxThe #1 reason that cats are relinquished to shelters for euthanasia is for inappropriate elimination issues. Once a cat begins to have these issues, it is VERY hard to correct. Following these guidelines can help insure that you will never have to experience this heartbreak.
- A litterbox should be accessible at all times.
- If you have more than one floor in your home, make sure you have a litterbox for each level.
- One box per each cat, plus one is a good guideline to follow when deciding how many litterboxes to have.
- Cats do not like messy, smelly litterboxes and tend to not use them unless they are cleaned often. Litterboxes MUST be cleaned at least once and preferably twice per day. The best way to avoid litterbox odors is to scoop frequently.
- Be sure litterboxes are not too small. They need room to get in and turn around. A kitten won't stay small for long, so buy litterboxes to fit an adult. Rubbermaid totes make excellent litterboxes!
- Keep litterboxes in quiet, low traffic areas. Cats like privacy!
- Many cats do not like lids on their litterboxes or heavily perfumed litter.
Health RecordsAll cats and kittens will go home with their own health record. This will include the dates for all vaccines, leukemia/FIV tests, wormings, flea prevention, spay/neuter, and any other medical treatments each individual has received while in our care. It will also tell you when your new pet arrived at the rescue center. If you make a copy of this record and send it to your veterinarian, they can enter it into their files and send reminders when your pet is due for vaccines or treatments.
GroomingBrush your cat regularly! This will help reduce hairballs and shedding. Any hair that you remove while spending snuggle time with your cat while grooming will mean less hair you have to vacuum, and fewer hairball messes to clean up! Cats stay fairly clean as they groom themselves for hours a day, so a bath is rarely needed. If you are adopting a long-haired cat, and would like to have the bottom or belly areas shaved periodically, please call! We offer this free service to our F.F.R.C. families.
Why keep them indoors?They live longer, healthier lives! In your packet of information that will be sent home with you, there is a list of 20 REASONS TO KEEP YOUR CAT INDOORS. A few good reasons are listed here.
- CARS - Thousands of cats are hit by cars every year. If they are lucky, they die instantly.
- POISONING - There are people who don't like cats and will set poison traps on their property. It only takes a little to kill a cat.
- RESEARCH LABS - There are people who "collect" cats and take them out of state to labs, where they are paid money for each cat. These people don't care if these are strays or your family pet.
- LEUKEMIA/FIV - It only takes one bite from an infected cat to spread this fatal disease to your beloved pet.
- FLEAS, TICKS, WORMS, RINGWORM - Your cat can pick up these parasites outside then transmit them to other pets and people in the household.