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Get Ready to Bring Your Little Buddy Home!
We hope the following will help you prepare your home and welcome them into your family.

All You Need
  1. Cat-proof your home  - Look around your home with the eyes of a curious cat. Are there any common household items which could be a hazard? Think about moving breakable objects off mantles, tables and shelves where a cat might climb, removing items that dangle and tempt a cat to play, tying up loose electric cords and cables, giving away toxic plants, putting away household cleaners and hiding sharp objects. Learn more about making your home purrfect for your Little Buddy.
  2. Be safe on the ride home  - Unlike dogs, cats generally do not enjoy traveling by car, so never leave them loose or try to hold them in your lap when in a car. They could panic and cause an accident or try to hide and get stuck under a seat. They may complain by meowing and crying, but they are safest when secured in a cat carrier lined with an easily washable towel and/or a puppy pad. Talking to them in a soft voice or playing soothing music may help to keep them calm. A second passenger may wish to ride in the back seat to distract them and if safe, dangle a finger through a hole in the carrier to rub their head.
  3. Create a Comfort Space  - You can make your new cat’s transition to your household as comfortable as possible by selecting a quiet, closed-in area, such as your bedroom or a small room away from the main foot traffic, and set it up with everything they’ll need, including a litter box, bed, scratching post, toys, food, and water. Depending on the cat and their past experiences, it can take a few hours, days or even weeks for them to fully adjust to their new environment. Be patient and let them set the pace. 
  1. Prep the litter box - If possible, make the starter room the permanent location of the litter box. If you plan on moving the litter box after bringing home your new cat, you’ll need two litter boxes; keep the first litter box in the starter room and put a new litter box in the new location. Once the cat is using the new litter box, you can slowly move the first litter box closer and closer to the new one. When they are next to each other, remove one box.
  2. Expand their space - Once your kitty has adjusted and seems relaxed and happy in their Comfort Space, you can open the door and let them explore larger sections of your home. See below for help with introduction of children or your pets.
  3. Make an appointment with your veterinarian - While Little Buddies has provided general veterinary care for our animals, (including deworming, vaccines that protect against diseases such as Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1), Feline Calicivirus (FCV), Feline Panleukopenia (FPL), we recommend scheduling a visit to your veterinarian within the few months of coming to your home and annually thereafter. Your Little Buddy will need an annual rabies vaccine at about 4 months or before spay/neuter.

Photo Credit: pexels-ihsan-adityawarman-1056252

Introducing your Little Buddy to Your Family

Even the friendliest cats need a few days to feel safe in their new home, take things slow and introduce new people in a calm environment. If you have other pets, don’t introduce them to your new pet right way.

It is natural for your family and friends to be excited about your new Little Buddy, but don't let their enthusiastic squeals frighten your new addition. Get down on their level, keep your voice down and your movements slow; let the cat approach you. Once they have gotten your scent and decided you are friendly, you can try to pet them and pick them up. Offering a special treat can go a long way toward helping a shy cat feel welcome.

Introducing your Little Buddy to Your Existing Pets

Before making any pet introductions, let the new cat get to know and trust you. Reassure your existing pets that although they smell a new furry friend in the house, they are not going to lose their home and family.

Allow your pets lots of time to sniff under the door to the new pet’s starter room.  After a few days, place a blanket or bedding that smell like your existing pets in the room with the new cat. Do the same for with blankets that smell like your new cat. Consider, switching spaces for a while and letting the new cat explore the house, while your current pets sniff around the Comfort Space.

As they progress, you can introduce them at a distance. For example, you can place a baby gate across the doorway of the safe room and open the door for an initial greeting. You may try placing a fully enclosed pet tent in the same room as your other pets so they can interact safely. Once your pets can meet calmly, you will be able to let them interact in the same space, be sure to supervise their interactions. Allow the new cat access to their starter room or a safe place so they can retreat, if they need some time away. At least initially, keep their food dishes, litter box and sleeping areas separate. 

If you bring home a kitten and have an older cat at home, keep in mind that a kitten will have far more energy than your older cat, so you’ll want to play with the kitten more often, so they don’t bother your older cat.  Tempting though it may be, rushing this process can be a mistake. The slow approach is worth the extra time and will allow you to ensure your pets are all happy and comfortable in your home.

Keep Cats Safely Indoors

It’s also best to keep your new cat indoors, confined to a cat-escape-proof enclosure aka a Catio. This will ensure your Little Buddy does not get lost, hit by a car, exposure to disease, and safe from cat fights, dogs, predatory birds and other wild animals.  

Problem Solving & Understanding Cat Behaviors

Is your new cat not eating?  Even when you give your new cat space in their starter room, they commonly refuse to eat in new environments due to stress. Change is hard, not only in an environment but also in a diet. To help your new cat transition, check which brand of food they had in the foster home, add cat food toppers or try different feeding set-ups (like a plate on the counter) to entice your cat to eat. If your cat has gone two to three days without eating, you should see a veterinarian. For kittens, the timeline is shorter — they should see a vet if they haven’t eaten in 24 hours.

Is your new cat hiding?  Your new cat may also hide at first; hiding is a normal reaction for a cat to have to an unfamiliar environment. You can help your cat by providing a cat carrier, tunnel, covered cat bed, or other safe places for your new friend to hide. Keep their resources, including a litter box, food, and water, close to that spot until they’re more comfortable coming out.

Remember...Be patient. It will take time for a new cat and any resident pets to adjust to their new situation; every cat is different. Soon, you will see signs that your new cat is adjusting to your home, including an increased appetite, playfulness, and a calmer demeanor (which can sometimes mean less meowing). Keep an eye out for body language that indicates they’re happy and relaxed, like a flat back, their head held high, soft lips, and their ears up. They may knead their paws and have their whiskers forward. Purring is also a very good indicator that your new cat is happy and settling into your home.

Resources for better understanding your Little Buddies behavior:

You can always reach out to your Foster or  if you have questions or concerns.

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