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Taking your new cat home: What you need to know!

By Joan DiPiero

You’ve fallen in love with a cat and now you’re taking her home. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Supplies: Food and water bowls, litter and tray, scratching post, toys, and a bed/basket.

2. Food: Wet and dry food should be provided. Leave dry food out all day long. Fresh water should always be available. For the first few days, mix some of the cat’s SPA food with her new food.

3. Introducing your new cat to her new home and another household pet: At first, keep your cat in a separate room and gradually introduce her to the rest of her new home. If you already have a cat, separate the two, give extra attention to your original cat, and slowly let them meet each other to the point where you can swap food bowls and bedding so they get used to each other’s scent. Let them meet formally at mealtime. Hissing and staring are normal. Repeat until they tolerate each other. If you have a dog, keep them apart until your cat feels secure. Small children should be taught to approach the cat slowly and gently.

4. Health: Keep track of all vaccination requirements. Use flea preventative medication monthly. See the vet for any health concerns.

5. Grooming: Cats should be brushed regularly. Long-haired cats should be given a specially formulated paste to swallow which is designed to help them get rid of fur that forms a wad in their stomach (fur balls). Put a small amount of the paste on one of her front paws and she will instinctively lick it off. Cats also like to chew on grass which causes them to vomit, which is normal; it helps them with digestion, stomach pains and hair balls. If you do not have access to grass, we recommend alfalfa, parsley, cucumber, spinach or catnip grass.

6. Safety: Make sure your cat always wears a name tag with your information on it, even though she will primarily be inside. If she inadvertently gets out of your house, a name tag will help to insure that she will be returned to you.

7. Other resources: has helpful cat-related videos. Search the Internet and library.

A Spanish version and longer English version of this checklist are available at the SPA, Los Pinos 7, 152-6124. Una versión en español de esta lista está disponible en el SPA.


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