It's an exciting time when you've made the decision to welcome an adopted cat into your heart and home. But kitties, who are territorial, tend to feel uneasy when being introduced to new environments. Here are a few things that you can do to make the transition a bit more comfortable, and also ensure that your home is safe and ready for your furry new friend.
1. Cat-proof hazardous items.
From cords to strings, kitties can't resist playing with anything that dangles; it's just in their DNA. We found these cord covers super handy for tucking away any exposed electrical cords such as those near TVs, lamps, computers, or wireless routers. To keep the blinds cords secure, simply stick two adhesive hooks near the window and wind the cords around them.
Dangling items aren't the only hazard, though. Be sure to store small, easily-swallowable items like batteries, paperclips, thumb tacks, or rubber bands in a secure drawer to keep them out of kitty's curious reach. Same goes for items that can suffocate your kitty like plastic bags.
2. Store chemicals securely.
Sure, the smell of bleach may be off-putting to most critters, but some chemicals aren't as noxious, and kitty may be tempted to taste test them. Turn all of your household chemical spray nozzles to the "off" position when not in use and ensure all caps on poisonous items are tightly closed. This includes not only cleaners but other dangerous poisons like insecticides, antifreeze, paint thinners — and even medication. Keep them secure by locking them in a cabinet.
3. Remove toxic plants.
Sure, that lovely vase of lilies may look pretty on your table, but it's highly toxic to cats, as are many common houseplants and flowers. Be sure to check out this comprehensive list of poisonous plants and remove any of them from your home or yard (if your kitty will go outdoors). It'd also be a good idea to familiarize yourself with food items that are toxic as well, such as garlic or grapes.
4. Set up a transitional cat-only room.
When you first bring your new cat home, being exposed to the sights, sounds and smells of an entire house can feel overwhelming and leave kitty prone to hiding or hunger-striking. Set up a small, quiet space — such as in a bathroom or laundry room — for kitty to hang out sans humans until he or she adjusts to the new surroundings.
5. Provide hiding places.
Kitties feel less vulnerable when they are under some sort of cover. Strategically place hiding spots around the house where kitty can take cover quickly should he or she feel startled or scared. Cat tents and tunnels are a great option, but simple cardboard boxes work just as well. And if you're the crafty sort, here's how you can Cuteness-ify a box into an adorable cat house.
6. Get a scratching post.
Kitties looooove to stretch their claws. Homeowners, on the other hand, do not love when kitties stretch them on the arms or legs of expensive furniture. Provide a scratching post and spritz it with a little catnip so kitty has a designated scratching spot.
7. Offer toys for play.
All naps and no play makes for a dull cat day. Stock up on a variety of toys to keep kitty amply entertained and stimulated. A dusting of catnip on the toys is generally the secret to getting and keeping kitty's attention.
8. Get kitty an ID.
Lest kitty accidentally get out of the house, a collar and ID tag (or microchip) will help bring your feline friend home safe and sound. Make sure your contact information is clearly listed on the tags — name, address and phone number — so you can easily be reached.