Cat Owner's Mini Manual
The ASAP volunteers thank you for adopting your new cat or kitten from our Shelter. We hope you and your new friend have a long and rewarding life together and offer the following recommendations for introducing your cat to your home:
- A new cat needs time and attention when acclimating to a new environment. The best place to start is a small room fully equipped with bedding, litter box, food and water, and a good place to hide (box, carrier, or closet). When the cat is relaxed and comfortable in this area, gradually introduce the other rooms in the house for a few hours at a time. If there are other pets in the house, rotate them between rooms for a few days until they are familiar with each other's scent. Rotate items of your clothing around as well. Introduce your new cat to resident pets gradually and only under your complete supervision. Please remember that first impressions are very important to cats! A bad introduction is difficult to take back so take it slowly and don't expect immediate friendships. Relocation is stressful for cats and it takes varying degrees of time for them to form bonds with new people, places, and animals. Try to make the first few days as quiet and comfortable as possible. Keep children under close supervision, move and speak quietly, and don't force the cat to interact. All the "first" experiences should be positive ones. If you encounter any problems, back up a step. Be patient and reassuring.
- It is EXTREMELY important you keep your new cat 100% indoors for a minimum of three weeks to allow them to adjust and learn where home is. The decision to let a cat outdoors at all is one that should be carefully considered. Keeping a cat all indoors greatly increases their life span and greatly decreases your vet bills.
- Buy your cat/kitten a collar and permanent I.D. tag immediately. You can have permanent I.D. tags made on the spot at pet stores such as Petco. Buckle the collar tightly with just two fingers of space between collar and skin, and insist that the cat ALWAYS wear the collar. Take a picture of your new cat as soon as possible for identification purposes.
- Make an appointment to take your cat to a veterinarian for an exam and vaccinations. ASAP has tested cats over 6 months old for Feline Leukemia and FIV, and we have given at least one "distemper" vaccine. If your cat is over 4 months old, they will also have received a rabies vaccination. You will need to complete the testing for kittens between 2 and 6 months of age and may want to obtain additional vaccinations (leukemia) for both kittens and cats, if this is what you and your vet decide is best for your cat. This is part of responsible pet ownership and a wise investment.
- IF you decide to allow your cat outdoors ALWAYS bring the cat indoors between dusk and dawn to prevent predation by coyotes. Don't kid yourself-there are coyotes killing cats everywhere in the Santa Barbara area every night and day. Accompany your cat on the first several ventures outdoors and help the cat establish a "safe" territory away from cars and other hazards.