Rehoming our first cats next week - lots of questions!(26 Posts)
We will be bringing home two cats from the local rescue in a week's time, these are our first cats (first pets in fact) and we are very excited but feeling a bit nervous. The two cats are a pair of one year old females that have lived together all their lives, they were draped all over each other in the rescue enclosure, so are obviously close. We are finding, just as with the children, everyone you ask gives a different answer about things!
So, first of all we need to go shopping. On our list are:
Cat carriers - any particular type better than others? Any to avoid?
Litter trays - do they need one each?
Bowls - ditto
Beds or blankets etc - ditto
Toys and scratching posts
Mat for under bowls
Litter and food - will go with the rescue recommendations
Is there anything else needed at first?
Secondly - are there things we need to consider to make the house safe for them, as with babies? We will be using an upstairs bedroom as their initial home, it has a lot of toys and wardrobes in. Our DCs are 7 and 9 so we are past the stage of babyproofing, but do we need to keep anything out of their way?
I'm sure I will think of more questions!
Oh well done for taking a pair of rescue girls.
Lots of posters will wish to comment once they've had a cuppa but let me start you off.
Carriers- get good sized and with a metal door. Plastic with plastic bases are usually best - avoid the wicker or similar ones because any accidents will be real difficult to clean. (Other posters will be able to refer you to sources.)
Two litter trays. (The oft-quoted rule is one per cat plus one but two should be OK at least as a start and see how you go.)
Probably bowls for each but you'll likely have something around in the cupboard so no need to go buying expensive stuff in shops with 'cat' designs. (Charity shops are a good source.)
You could get a mat for under the bowls but it depends how lavish funds are. A spread newspaper works fine as well and is easily disposed of if it gets dirty.
Beds or blankets, ditto. If you have any old fleecy blankets or jackets knocking around they'll probably do fine in a cardboard box - or look in the local charity shop. The cats will likely decide to sleep somewhere else anyway!
Off to get a cuppa myself.
I would copy the rehoming centre for most things like number of litter trays, type of litter etc just to keep things consistent and if it works, stick with it!
Re scratching posts - some people find their cats don't use them at all but I encouraged my cat to use them by getting her to chase string from the food up onto these where she realised how good to scratch it was hitch worked a great. I then just placed posts wherever she liked to scratch (by sofas for eg!).
I don't have a mat under hor bowl but her bowl is on hard floor. She does like to take her food out of the bowl, drop it on the floor and eat it from there .
Ooh lovely, 2 cats getting a forever home. Exciting!
Word of warning re the DC. You must remind them a lot that the cats have to be kept in for at least 3 weeks, so they will have to be extra vigilant re all the doors. I actually put signs on the doors saying CAT!! to remind them. DS2 especially has a habit of flinging the front door open. Also windows.
Get lots of toys, ping pong balls etc. A scratching post maybe-they prefer very tall ones that they can stretch full length up.
Sparkling Cat loves her igloo bed but other than that will choose one of our beds to sleep on.
Are those pictures of the new girls on your profile?
Very exciting! Bet your DC are over the moon.
With our cats (now cat singular) we've never persuaded them to use cat beds. Ours always like being up high, so preferred our bed if they could sneak in, so at the moment we have a fleece baby blanket on a chair that Catfink is using as bed - he'll go off it and we'll relocate the blanket in his next preferred spot when he does.
Under the food bowls we've always put a large plastic tray - cheap pound shop number - as it contains the mess and is easy to clean.
Scratching posts have been universally ignored, till we got a cardboard one which lays flat on the floor (rather than the upright ones). Different cats prefer different positions and different textures to strop their claws on, it seems, so you'll probably figure out their preference once they've settled in. It was the same for litter - Catfink's mum was a rescue cat and we made the mistake of trying to get her to use wood based litter when she arrived. A stand off ensued and she won. Check with the rescue what they've been using.
Hope all goes well and the new members of your family are settled in soon!
Thank you all, we will definitely need a mat or tray for bowls as we will be putting them in the spare room at first (which is carpeted) while they get used to us and we get used to keeping doors shut downstairs. Tray is a good idea so we can pick the whole thing up and take it downstairs for cleaning. Unfortunately I decluttered my airing cupboard last year so we are short of old bedding, blankets etc, might have a look in charity shops this week.
Oh and yes, that's them on my profile . I am feeling a little nervous, being a previous non-pet person, but I am looking forward to them arriving and the DCs are certainly excited.
Unfortunately we are the type of family that leaves doors and windows wide open all the time, so we are going to have to have a strict change in policy for the keeping in period. I wouldn't have wanted to take them on in spring/summer for that reason
If you can get a cheapo from Poundshop, get 2. (Otherwise, they'll almost inevitably make a mess while you've taken one away for cleaning.)
And yes - really nasty weather isn't as good for the humans but is a lot better for keeping them inside. Best to keep them in overnight anyway - as a matter of policy. Night is the most dangerous time for cats what with cars and predators.
Has the rescue ensured that they're chipped, neutered and vaccinated?
YY to checking they are chipped and the chip is registered to your address asap. Just in case.
Yes, they are chipped, neutered and vaccinated and the rescue registers our details with the microchip company. They have also recommended a local vet, which friends of mine use too.
We do plan to keep them in at night, we live close to, but not on, a busy main road. We will only be letting them out the back as they have to do a lot of climbing over high fences and other people's gardens to get to the road that way.
That's good that the rescue sorted them. Might as well register them with the vets (good that you have a recommendation) as soon as possible - and also consider whether they're to be insured. If they're going outside and they're young, I would: no National Health Service for pets.
Keep an eye open for fleas and worms. Your new vet will help with that when they get any issues, as they inevitably will.
Fleas, that's another thing. The rescue said they should have de-fleaing treatment monthly (obtained from the vet). DH went to work and had a chat with all the other cat owners and said they all said they don't bother. Hmmm.
Just realised that my thread title makes it sounds as though we are getting rid of our first cats, not acquiring them, oops.
....and said they all said they don't bother.....
No - you bother. Fleas are not good news for cats. They'll also need worming meds, a little more frequently than house cats as they're to go outside and may therefore catch and eat prey. Your new vet will advise on that also.
PS - don't worry about the thread title. We knew what you meant!
that people don't bother re fleas and worms. Poor cats.
our cats like to sleep anywhere that smells of human, including the laundry pile.. We've never had special beds for them.
They sleep in all sorts of unexpected places including opened drawers and wardrobes. They love corners and crannies.
Some cats don't like human laps or being picked up, but are still affectionate in other ways and enjoy having a human in the room to relate to even if they aren't draped over you.
They love the game of hide and seek with something draped over the bannisters or under the bedcovers.
Very true Swan. Sparkling Cat won't sit on laps, but will sit next to you. But when DH and I lie in bed she is all over us for a fuss, sitting on our chests and headbutting us in the face.
Another question. One big cat carrier or two small?
Definitely one big one. They like being together, as vet's trips or any trips, are quite stressful for cats. And a big one doesn't have to be that big, just sturdy (ie: not cheapo from Argos)
Thank you. A friend has offered to lend us her big one to bring them home so we can try them in it together. DH has childhood memories of getting one cat in, turning to the other and the first one escaping and so on.
Have bought bowls, litter and trays and some food, the DCs have chosen a couple of toys for them so we're just about all set . Just need a few cardboard boxes and blankets now.
I found top flap option opening cat baskets much easier for cats that try to escape (my present cats are quite biddable) Tbh it is not the basket they mind just the journey - noise of car, motion, traffic.
Often when we get home they like going in and out of the basket for fun!
The other thing to remember is that when they first come home they might not want to interact with you or the children at all, until they feel a bit more comfortable in their surroundings. They may only come out of a hiding place (under bed etc) for food and water when you aren't there. You have to respect their privacy to start with and not pull them out from their hiding place although it is very tempting to want to cuddle them. After a bit they will associate you with more interesting things happening, and be pleased to see you. I think cats love to be talked to, or maybe it is just that I love talking to them! To start with my kittens did everything together, played together, slept together, raced around the house together. Now they get on very well, and often groom each other but have quite independent interests, so they will pay attention to you and children and not just each other, in time, if that is the case to start with.
Well, picked them up this morning, we made the spare bedroom into a cosy cat room beforehand and they have spent all day so far (as predicted) hiding either under the duvet on the bed or under the furniture. They seem relaxed though, we have been taking turns to go up and spend a few minutes with them whilst trying not to alarm them. The DCs are very happy!
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