While taking in a stray cat shows compassion, there may be some challenges to consider. In this scary time of transition for them, patience is key. With time and preparation, he or she can become a wonderful companion and addition to your family. Find some useful tips to make a stray cat feel like home, and read about my own personal experience adopting a stray cat, Pinky, here.
Tips for Making a Stray Cat Feel Like Home
Before you bring a stray cat home, you should consider whether your home is going to be a safe and suitable environment for the cat. If you have other pets, think about their behavior and personalities. Will they welcome a new member of the family? Additionally, you should make sure the stray cat doesn’t have a human family already.
It is important to take things slowly with a stray cat. Because you don’t know the cat’s background or history, you probably won’t know what he or she has experienced in the past. For instance, he or she may be very timid, aggressive, or scare easily. In order to make the transition easier, you should keep him or her in a designated area or room with food, water, and a litterbox. This room should be just for the cat, a place where he or she can rest and feel safe. While a stray kitten may accept and be accepted by others pretty easily, an adult stray cat may take longer to adjust.
If you decide to bring a stray cat into your home, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. While it may be difficult to lure him or her into a carrier, a visit to the vet is very important. Stray cats may have ear mites and fleas. They also may not be spayed, neutered, or vaccinated. In taking your stray cat to the vet, you can ensure the safety of your new pet.
1. Prepare Hiding Spots
If you’ve ever spent time with a cat, you know that they love tiny spaces. Whether it’s an empty cardboard box or a spot between two pillows, a cat will wriggle their way into the opening. Besides being super cute, having safe hiding spots for your new kitty is important for making them feel safe. In addition to cat-proofing your home, plan to have a few quiet places for your new pet to ‘hide’ as it adjusts to its new environment. All cats need their own little hideouts, but former strays especially, as they’re so used to having all the space they want.
2. Have Them Checked Out By A Vet
If you’re adopting a cat that’s spent some time without a proper home and care, you probably have no idea what their medical history is or whether they have any current health issues. As soon as you’ve decided to take a cat in, for the wellbeing of all involved, schedule a veterinary appointment. The vet will be able to check for parasites like ear mites and fleas, which often affect cats who have been living without a home. Have a vet check whether they’re spayed or neutered as well.
3. Round-Up All Supplies
Of course, once you become a cat parent, you’ll have to make sure that you have all of their necessities on hand. The top priorities are a litter box and food, Ochoa says, so grab those from the store before you welcome in the fur baby. The first thing your cat is going to want to do when they get home is to use the bathroom, so make sure that you have everything set up in a spot where they can have easy access to it. There are plenty of fun things to buy too, like toys, treats, and a collar, but food and litter cannot wait, so be sure to get those.
Dry food & wet food
Litter box or litter tray
Bags for litter trays
Food and water dispenser
4. Budget For Their Expenses
It’s easy to want to help an adorable cat who needs a home, but it’s crucial to make sure that it’s really a possibility for you when it comes to logistics. Taking on a new pet is basically like a new child — they can be really expensive. Make sure to asses your budget so you can dedicate the time and money your new fur baby deserves. This could include anything from food to kitty litter to unexpected medical expenses, so just make sure that you’re prepared.
5. Be Patient With Them
If you’re adopting a cat, chances are you’re very excited to have them as part of your family. But it’s important to keep in mind that for them, this could be a scary time of transition. Even if they’re glad to have food, a place to sleep, and the love you can offer them, they might be very scared. Know that easing a new cat into your family will take time. It is going to be a challenging process, so patience is key. Allow the cat to get close to you on its own terms and give it lots of love.
My Experience Adopting a Stray Cat
On the 24th of April 2020, I went to the place where we had found the stray cat colony, next to our place, and the cat I liked the most was there. I called Alejandro and ask him to come and bring the transportation box we had bought that morning with him. With some food as a bait, we managed to trap the cat and took him straight to the vet.
The vet checked him out, but since the cat was scared, he didn’t want to sedate him or anything. He just gave me some ampoules for the fleas and that was it. He said we should put the cat in a separate room until he gets used to his new environment, and said that we need to be patient because it might take some time for that to happen. In two weeks’ time, we should take Pinky (that’s the name we chose for him) to the vet again for some blood tests.
We brought Pinky home and prepared our spare room for him, with some food, water, litter, boxes for him to hide, etc. We then sat on the floor and opened the transportation box. He was super scared and just ran out of it, and climbed the wardrobe. After a while, he came down and went hiding under the bed – that’s his favorite spot to hide ever since. I felt bad when I saw him so scared, but everyone told me it’s normal and it’s going to take some time for him to adapt.
On Saturday, day 2, I started panicking because I thought Pinky was not eating or drinking water at all. At night, I laid down on the floor, next to the bed where he was hiding, and read my book for a bit.
After a while, I used an app I found online with sounds to calm down scared cats, and it worked actually! I laid there, looking at Pinky, with the music on, and saw that he was getting more and more relaxed, and even changed places twice. I think it’s good that he’s getting used to our presence in the same room. Before leaving the room, I left some treats and freshwater. I read it’s good that he associates our presence with good things.
In the morning I was happy when I found out that Pinky had used the litter tray to pee and poop! I was so scared the previous night when I read online that some cats actually starve to death when they are scared – and that with only 3 days without water a cat can die! I found lots of proof that he had peed and pooped in the litter box, and now at least I’m not scared of that anymore. I laid on the floor again, reading, next to Pinky. Then I used another app with cat sounds, but I think some of those sounds were of angry cats, and Pinky got really agitated! It was not a good idea. However, overall, I start seeing some small improvements, he doesn’t seem so scared of us anymore.
To be continued…