Cat adoption 101 please!(37 Posts)
Hello. We’re arranging to meet a rescue cat at his foster home next week. He’s described as “gentle young man” (15 months) who’s used to children. We are a family of 4 - two DC age 3.5 and nearly 6, who’ve been brought up around animals (their grandma, who they see a few times a week and often stay with, has dogs) and taught to be gentle and respectful of them.
Assuming he likes us, the rescue will want us take him within 2-3 days, so he’d be coming home with us next week. I had cats throughout my childhood but haven’t owned one since my early 20s (which was nearly 20 years ago!) DH had a dog as a teen and it will be the children’s first pet. The house will be relatively quiet over Christmas - I mean, it’s Christmas with kids in the house, so hardly serene, but our only visitor will be my Mum, so it won’t be full of guests coming and going.
What do I need to think about? As I say it’s been years since I had a cat, and the ones I did I had from kittenhood. The rescue say the cat is a “bit stressed” by losing his previous home so I’m assuming there’ll be issues to consider that are different to “manic tiny kitten” issues. I have spots picked out for food and litter tray and bed and scratch post. I would register him with the same vet my mum has. We’re financially reasonably comfortable so money isn’t an issue. What else do I need to get or think about?
Btw we’re not getting a cat “for Christmas”. We’ve wanted one for a while, it just so happens one is available we think would suit us at Christmas time. We’re not thinking of him as a present and wouldn’t treat him as such. He’d be a family member.
Is he vaccinated? Does he need any medical attention, or have the rescue centre done that? Is he neutered? Treated for fleas and worms? Microchipped?
Register him with a vet - use your mhm’s If they are local and it gives you confidence that they’re a good vet.
He is likely to be very nervous at first. Let him get used to his new home. He may hide for a few daya, but leave him be, be kind and gentle and he’ll come round.
From the rescue's email: cat..."will go to their new homes healthchecked, deflead and wormed with prescription products with four weeks introductory insurance with pet plan, microchipped, with at least the first part of flu and enteritis vaccination if 8 weeks or over. Kittens and cats over 6 months old will also be spayed / neutered"
Vet is round the corner from us and they seem good - went with my mum earlier in the year when she had to have her oldest dog pts and they were exceptionally kind. I wasn't going to put a cat flap till I know how much he'll be in and out - he was an indoor cat, and I'm home most of the day so can just open the door for him.
Will get the microchip re-registered to us
and get him a collar too.
Just be prepared tp bow down and worship you new overlord. And there is a rule on the litter tray - we need pics. ASAP.
Well the most important thing is to post a picture on here immediately you bring him home
Sounds like you've got it all just about covered, how lovely. We have a gentle boy cat and he is gorgeous
(and a crazy girl cat who is still lovely!) Good luck OP.
Consider shutting him in one room/section of the house for the first day or two, and make it the 'quiet room'... That is, kids are welcome to go in and interact, but they need to be calm and quiet whilst in with him. Then he has a 'safe space' to get used to all your smells and noise from.
Also, when you let him out into the rest of the house, make sure it's in the evening after the kids have gone to bed, so he can explore without noise/pressure etc.
Thank you, I will definitely post pictures if/when we bring him home.
I've just thought of one more thing - he's long-haired, I've only had short-haired cats before. Sounds like his previous owners hadn't been keeping on top of his grooming requirements as the rescue's had to clip his fur.
Obviously don't want that to happen on my watch, so assuming I need to brush him? How often?
Mine is short haired but loves a good brush. See if he likes it first! Then you can work out doing it, little and often or it might be you do a brush every day if he likes it
I tend to brush mine while he's snoozing and he wakes up purring, then if he rolls on his back I get his belly then
As he is coping with a lot of change, a Feliway diffuser might be helpful. It releases a pheromone that helps cats to feel more relaxed / secure.
Try to get the same litter and food as he's been used to, at least to start with. Then you can change over gradually if you decide you want to use something different.
Looking forward to seeing photos. We adopted a one year old female cat last weekend and she has settled in immediately.
Get a kids tangle teaser and a metal comb for his coat. I run the brush over my persians as often as I can grab them to do it. And aim to comb with metal comb once a week. Don't waste your money on a furminator, the cheaper versions are just as good. Long haired don't shed in the same way. So you'll be able to sit down without being covered in hair!
Hope he goes home with you. It sounds like you've thought of everything to allow him to settle in. Whichever room you decide to put him in when he arrives, put a box or one of these/or similar, that he can go into if he feels the need to retreat for a bit.
I wouldn't try and brush him until he's a bit more settled, then keep it brief at first with lots of stroking (and treats). My semi long haired cat didn't like it much as a kitten, but with gentle perseverance she now seems to really enjoy it!
Loads of great advice. The fosterer will be able to give you lots of advice about the cat. I’ve been fostering for a year and one thing I have learned is that cats come in infinite varieties! Some are as bold as brass from the minute they leave the carrier, others I don’t see for a week. I love sending them off with their new families, so often it’s love at first sight. I would say that you should be prepared to say that a cat is not for you, there will be other cats and other families, so don’t feel pressured into adopting a cat you don’t feel is right for you when you meet him. You sound very sensible and understanding, good luck!
Another couple of pointers re brushing. If puss is unsure about being brushed, it helps to use them brush mainly underneath their chins for a while, then start adding one back brush for every ten underchin brushes, etc etc, gradually increasing the proportion of non-chin brushing. This helps them enjoy it longer term.
Second, if your cat is knot-prone and you need to snip them out, there's no need to cut underneath the knot close to the skin and risk cutting skin. Just cut through the middle of the knot... The bottom half of it will then brush out really easily.
Thank you Mona I'm going to try that chin-first tip with M (semi-long haired young cat who came to live with us last weekend).
@TheSecondOfHerName it works really well, but you do have to be patient... A good couple of weeks of using the brush just for her chin, ideally 3-4 times a day, a minute or two at a time, so she starts associating being brushed with pleasure.
Update: she won't let me brush her chin, but by using the little-and-often method she will now let me do 5 brush strokes of her head/sides before batting the brush away (to start with it was 1).
Oh, that's great news! Yes, potentially 'chin' was the wrong word to use... I meant jawline really. Basically the bit they rub against you/chairs etc to scent mark. Keep doing that for a couple of weeks until she is really relaxed about having the brush near her, and sees it as a treat.
When you do start adding in the body brushing, make the first body strokes really short, light and quick... And follow each one immediately by more jawline brushing. The idea is that she doesn't have enough time to protest Just one per short session to begin with!
My cats now are fine with being brushed, but I still start and finish every session with jawline strokes, and regularly do a few more in mid-session.
The tip to only cut part of the knot is genius. I worked this out by accident, as my cat would quite often take flight before I could get the whole knot, but even cutting part was often enough for her to be able to groom it out herself or be brushed.
Mine actually loves the chin/neck area being brushed so much she drools...
One problem I have though, is she often come home with slugs stuck in her fur, any tips for that?
We have one of the cat-dens mentioned .
Herself has never set paw inside it but likes to sleep on the roof from time to time. ( prefers sofa obvs) .
MonaChopsis you are a cat grooming genius.
She seems happy to have her forehead and cheeks brushed, so I have been doing 90% of the brushing in those areas, interspersed with 1-2 strokes of the brush elsewhere.
Today she let me brush her for 2 whole minutes, was purring throughout, and even pushing her head closer to the brush!
I've learned that she is happy with a metal slicker-type brush but hates the silicone ones.
OP, when are you visiting your potential new addition?
I asked to visit on Thursday - DD will finish school on Wednesday and DH is off work, so we can all go. But the rescue has asked if they can "let us know" as the cat has the sniffles and they want to keep an eye on him.
Seems a bit odd to me, I'm wondering if the fosterer is considering as adopting him and they want to give them first refusal?
So I still don't have a cat...
I emailed yesterday to ask how the cat was doing, as we not heard anything, and was told he was over his sniffles but they've moved him to a different foster home and he's stopped grooming himself so they need to sort that out and can they get back to us? All seems a bit odd - like they don't want us to have him but then why not just say so?
We also went yesterday to visit a cat with another rescue. Absolutely gorgeous fluffy ginger boy, 18 months old - but so nervous he wouldn't come out of his pen, and squashed himself into a corner.
He didn't hiss or show any signs of aggression, he just wouldn't come out. His fosterer says once he gets to know you he's very gentle and a real "love bug" but is obviously finding being in a pen and away from the only home he's known stressful. He's only been there a few days too.
I don't know whether he'd be the right choice for us or not? I know you can't get a real idea of a cat's personality under those circumstances but I'm wary of bringing a nervous cat into a house with children - even ones as gentle as mine (and they did me proud - soft voices, kept their distance, no attempts to grab him, just tried to coax him out).
The fosterer also said that he's better with men as his previous owner was a man. DH is happy for us to get a cat but is largely indifferent to them himself, so it would be ironic for the cat to pick him as his buddy - it's supposed to be a pet for me and the DC. My first ever cat was a rescue who turned out to be very afraid of children and would run and hide whenever she saw me. Was very upsetting for both of us and we ended up rehoming her with a neighbour who didn't have children.
I don't want to let his good looks blind me into making the wrong decision if he's not right for us - but then he might be fine once he's settled in. There's no way of knowing without adopting him though! I can't think about it for too long, as he'll be snapped up as soon he goes on their website.
Anyone have any useful insights?!
I really don't know. That sort of behaviour in a pen isn't unusual and the fosterer could well be right about his personality. However they do seem to be messing you about a bit with him. There are millions of cats out there that need homes. I imagine that rescue must have a number of other suitable ones. I think I would consider other options.
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