What to Expect:

The First 30 Days of Cat Adoption

Do you speak cat? Maybe not yet, but you will eventually! Until then, here is some cat-tastic advice to start your relationship off on the right paw.

Day One

  • Designate a small area for the cat’s first “territory” in your home; this could be a laundry room, bathroom or bedroom
  • Make sure the cat has everything he/she needs in this small area (food, water, litter); try to keep the litter box and food separated or the cat won’t like either
  • Spend lots of time with your cat! This is your opportunity to bond, but don’t be disappointed if your cat just wants to hide. This is perfectly natural for the first few days.
  • Make sure your kitty has many places to hide or feel safe; this could be a cat carrier or similar; spaces should be large enough for the cat to stand up and turn around in

First Week

  • Starting as early as day two, let your cat have access to a larger portion of your home; for apartments, this can be the whole unit; for family homes, upstairs or downstairs
  • If your cat begins to scratch in unwanted areas, make sure to put a scratching post nearby; sometimes a little catnip can attract attention to the right place; for more tips on unwanted scratching, go here
  • As your cat’s claws begin to grow and sharpen, don’t forget to use those nail trimmers; never cut past the clear/translucent portion of the nail; for a complete guide, read this article
  • If your cat is not eating or drinking after a day or two, call a vet; if he/she is not using the litter box, try researching solutions like these

Second Week

  • If you haven’t already, please take your new friend to a veterinarian for a full exam; this will make sure your pet is healthy and happy
  • Also, your cat should now have full access to your home — they are probably already deciding where their favorite spots will be!
  • Is your cat active at night? Sometimes cats feel their safest when everyone else has gone to sleep. Also note: cats like to eat at dawn and dusk, so you may get a wake-up call

Weeks 3-4

  • Make sure your cat has entertainment and exercise; cat toys are great, but so is an empty cardboard box, a plastic cap on the hardwood floor, or a string of yarn pulled across the carpet; for more ideas on keeping your cat entertained, try this article
  • Make sure you clean out the litter box daily or every few days; cats don’t like to use a litter box that’s full or overflowing, especially if there are multiple cats in the home
  • Decide whether your pet will be an indoor or outdoor cat; while most cats enjoy the natural outdoors, there are dangers involved (such as these)
  • For all other behavioral concerns, please contact your shelter or veterinarian; no cat is perfect, but there are many resources to help you solve just about any problem!