Deciding to open your home and heart up to a kitty in need is an amazing thing to do! You can provide your furry friend with a smooth transition into her new home by carefully planning and taking the time to ensure Kitty's debut is stress-free.
Items you will need
- Water bowl
- Food bowl
- Litter box
- Cat litter
- Cat bed
- Cat toys
- Door screen
- Cat carrier
Set up an area that can be shut off from foot traffic and other visitors in the form of people or other animals. This area will serve as Kitty's domain during the very important first few days of her introduction into her new home. A bathroom that can be kept closed, a linen room or a spare bedroom work very well for this purpose. Stock the room with essentials for Kitty including a food bowl, a water bowl, a cozy bed, toys, and of course, a litter box. It's important to prepare this temporary area before you bring her home.
Check with the rescue group or humane society you will be adopting your new friend from to make sure that she has been tested for FeLV, or feline leukemia virus, if you have other cats at home. Feline leukemia can be spread when cats share the same water or food bowls. It can also be spread through sharing the same litter box, grooming one another or fighting. Your new kitty should also be tested for feline herpes before coming home as this is a common virus spread by sharing the same litter box. Once she has been given a clean bill of health, welcome her into your new home with open arms. If she will be your one and only kitty, it's okay to bring her home even if she does have either one of these viruses; however, keep in mind that she may need special veterinary care from time to time.
Bring your kitty home in a cat carrier and take her directly to the room that will serve as her temporary haven for the next week or two. Close the door behind you and set the carrier on the floor. Open the door to the cat carrier and allow her to explore her new surroundings, coming out only when she feels comfortable. Come into the room throughout the day to visit and pet her. If you have other pets at home, the door serves as a barrier between them and gives them a chance to smell each other without feeling threatened. Sniffing each other through the door is much like a gentle hello.
Help your resident pets and your newly adopted friend become more acquainted in a gradual way. Place water bowls and food dishes on either side of the door so that when they dine, they can get a little closer to one another. If there are any signs of hostility such as snarling or hissing, move the food bowls back a couple feet. Each day, slowly move their food bowls closer. After a few days have passed, prop the door open just enough so that the new pet siblings can see one another, but cannot get through the door. There might be some meowing or vocal disapproval at first, but this is to be expected.
Place a screen between the doorway so the new furry feline and your other furry buddies can get a better look at one another. Try offering each of them a few treats. If they happily partake in eating their treats, it's a good sign. Repeat this scenario for three to four days. After this phase, allow your new kitty to take a look around another part of the house where the rest of the animal gang likes to hang out. Take your other animals into a closed-off room while the new kitty explores. If things are still going well, allow everyone to finally have a grand introduction. Be prepared to interrupt the meet and greet if things turn sour. If this happens, it will be necessary to start the process over.
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