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Your cat’s first month in their new home
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Your cat’s first month in their new home

Cats
General

If you are about to get a cat, you are probably well aware of the need to ensure that their first week or so with you is devoted to settling the cat in and ensuring that they feel at home with you, and begin to regard your home as their territory, and a place that they can feel safe. But as well as ensuring that bringing your cat home and settling them in goes without a hitch, you should also use your cat’s first month with you as the time to start to establish the behaviour patterns and the routine that your cat will have for the duration of their life with you.

Starting as you mean to go on and establishing a routine from the get-go will not only help your cat to feel more secure and settle in faster, but will also set the stage for the rest of your cat’s life, and their relationship with you and the rest of the family.

Read on to learn more about how to manage your cat’s first month within your home.

Bedding and sleeping spots

You should make provision for lots of soft, warm and comfortable sleeping spaces for your cat, but also be prepared to be adaptable and enable sleeping spots in the places that your cat chooses for themselves, if they reject the places that you have in mind! While you should do everything that you can to pick nice places for your cat to sleep, do not be surprised if your cat has their own ideas about what they want, and makes their own selections!
If you intend to restrict your cat from sleeping on beds or certain chairs, now is the time to start doing this; it will be much harder to teach a cat not to sleep somewhere later on if they are first allowed to!

Identification for your cat

One of your first priorities when you bring a cat into a new environment should be to ensure that they stand a goodchance of making it home if they should get lost. Putting a collar on your cat is a matter of personal choice, but if you do put a collar on them, ensure that you attach a tag with your contact details on it; and have a few collars and tags spare for the occasions when your cat might lose them!

You should also strongly consider having your cat microchipped, in order to provide a means of permanent identification in case they are lost or stolen.

Toys and entertainment

Ensure that you provide plenty of things to do for your cat, by means of scratching posts and activities, and toys. You will soon find out what kind of things they like to play with, and the more opportunities that you provide to them by means of appropriate toys means there is less likelihood of them commandeering your own things, or playing with something that might be inappropriate, like wool or string.

Feeding

It is important to find out what your new cat was used to being fed before you got them, even if you ultimately intend to change their food. You should keep feeding them the food that they are used to until they have settled in, and start to make any changes to their food gradually over the course of the first month. Do not suddenly change from one foodstuff to another that is different all in one go; phase in the new food while gradually phasing out the old one, to give your cat the chance to get used to the change.

You should also establish your cat’s feeding routine; cats like to have food freely available to them at all times, but leaving down tinned meat or pouches can attract flies and begin to go off, particularly during the summer months. Generally, cat owners leave dry food down at all times, and possibly supplement this with wet food at certain times of the day. Work out how and when you intend to feed your new cat, and get them into the routine of being fed in this way from the outset.

Toileting and going outside

It is of course recommended to keep a new cat indoors during their first week or so with you, so that they have the chance to settle in and begin to regard your home as their own. During this time you will need to provide a litter tray for them, and you should establish where this will go, and if you intend to keep it even after your cat begins to go outside.

When you first allow your cat to go outside, make sure that this is done at a time when the outside world is fairly quiet and non-threatening, and ensure that your cat can come back in at any time they choose. If you have fitted a cat flap, ensure that your cat understands how to use it, and find out if they have experience of using a cat flap before!

If your new cat never got to go outside at their previous home, you should manage introductions to the outside world carefully and gradually, once your cat has fully settled in.

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