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Making Your New Cat at Home

August 10, 2011 -

Your new cat is counting on you to provide the right nutrition, socialization, healthcare and grooming. Help her with the transition to her new home with these tips from PetSmart experts: 

How to introduce her to the family

The first day you bring home your new pet is special, so make sure you set some time aside to create a calm, happy homecoming. If you have small children, let them know that your cuddly new family member has feelings like theirs, and if they treat her with love and gentleness, she’ll return the favor. Remember that the home you’re used to is all new to your cat. If she’s a brave explorer she may sniff out everything and everyone immediately, or she might need a little time in a private place to take it all in. Either way, it’s her time frame. Just let her know she’s safe.

If you already have a pet, introductions should be gradual and supervised. Until you’re comfortable the pets will get along, it may be best to keep your new addition in a cat crate when you’re not available to supervise. Be sure your original pet continues to receive the attention she’s used to; you don’t want jealousy spoiling a budding friendship.

Scratching posts and toys

You live in a house, but your cat considers it her new wild kingdom. If you’d rather she didn’t bring her instinct to scratch to your couch, make sure you bring home a scratching post. Kittens climb and adult cats jump, so you’ll also want to put breakables in a safe place and tie up drapes that reach to the floor. Hide electrical cords and any looped window shade cords to prevent so your cat can't get caught. And make sure your plants are beyond her reach, because some may be poisonous to cats. Also, cleaning supplies and household chemicals should be kept in a secure place.

Feline feeding
Take a look in the fridge. Your diet has a lot of variation, but nearly all of a cat’s nutrition comes from a single source which must provide the proteins, fats and amino acids and minerals she needs to grow and stay healthy. So it’s important that you choose a premium nutrition food, one that contains high-quality proteins from real meats and easily digestible grains, like rice. Remember, your cat also needs food that fits her lifestyle, age and special needs.

For recommendations on best premium food brands, ask a PetSmart associate and visit our online Specialty Food Resource Center at PetSmart.com.

How often you feed your kitten or cat depends on the type of food and her special needs. For canned food, establish a regular feeding schedule between one and three times a day. Dry food can sit out all day, but if your cat is getting a little paunchy, you’ll want to limit her dry food too. Your vet, or a PetSmart associate, can help you determine the right amount of food for your cat. If you give your cat treats, make sure they’re of the feline kind. Most of your foods, including milk, will disagree with her tummy—right before they disagree with your carpet.

Bedding

Nothing says home like her own special bed. Since your cat likes to grab some zzz’s throughout the day—an average of 16 to 18 hours—get a few comfy beds and place them in several rooms. There are plenty of choices, including thermal beds to help her feel safe and protected. You can even find beds infused with catnip if you want to lure her away from other sleeping places.

Litter boxes
What goes in must come out—what’s really important is where. Make sure you arrive home with a litter box, scoop and mat. For households with two or more cats, provide a litter box per cat. And for those times when your cat mistakes the rug for the restroom, you’ll need two things: stain & odor remover, and patience.

Develop a better understanding
When your best friend belongs to a different species, your relationship improves as you learn the reasons behind specific behaviors, as well as what your cat needs. It’s a good idea to pick up a kitten or cat care book.

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