So a cat has shown up at your doorstep and chose you to be its new owner.
Here is everything you will need to know going forward.
1. Take it Slow
The most important thing to remember when taking in a stray cat is to go slowly with everything. This means putting their food outside for them to eat, assuming it’s not clear that they want to come in. By doing this you will build trust with the cat, which is crucial when it comes to developing a real bond.
You also need to take things slowly in terms of how you handle the cat. You’ll want to avoid any fast or aggressive movements. If the cat nips at you when you try to pet it, simply back off. At some point it will probably let you pet it, but it could take a little time.
2. Keep the Cat Away from Other Pets
It is very important that you keep the new cat away from other cats or other pets you might have in your house until it gets the necessary shots. You don’t want to take the chance of an unvaccinated cat biting one of your pets.
Once the cat has been vaccinated, you can slowly introduce it to the other animals in your home. You want to be very careful about doing this, especially if the cat already seems very skittish. Keep a close eye on the cat and all other animals it is interacting with.
If you notice that the cat starts becoming agitated around any of your other pets, you should intervene immediately. It is crucial that the new cat feels safe and not overwhelmed at any point during this transition.
Make sure that you wash your hands after handling the cat. This way you won’t unintentionally expose any of your other pets to germs that could negatively impact their health.
3. Taking Your New Cat to the Veterinarian
It will be necessary for you to take your new cat to the vet so it can get vaccinated and looked over thoroughly. The vet will check it out for common issues that strays have, including worms and other things.
One of the more difficult things about taking a stray cat to the vet is getting it there. You can try putting a little bit of food in a carrier. Make sure the cat is completely inside before closing the door.
Depending on how amenable the stray cat is to a carrier, it might be necessary to use a trap. Setting up one of these traps isn’t very difficult and can work quite well.
4. Confirm That it’s Really a Stray
The vet will also be able to determine if the cat is feral or actually belongs to someone. There is a chance that the animal could have a microchip that identifies its owners. If this is the case, you shouldn’t have a problem returning it home.
If the cat doesn’t have a collar, this is the best way to go about confirming whether or not it really is feral. It shouldn’t cost more than $50 or so to get this checked.
5. Reference Your Budget
If you want to add a new pet to your household, you need to be certain that your budget will allow for this. Take a look at your monthly expenses and disposal income to see if you can afford to feed and take care of a new kitty.
There are quite a few expenses that can come with owning a cat, including food, veterinary visits, toys, and medications. You don’t want to take in another cat if you cannot afford to do so.
6. Avoid Eye Contact
As strange as it might seem, avoiding eye contact with the cat will help it to trust you. You can slowly begin to make eye contact with the animal over time. Just slowly turn your head in its direction and look at it for a few seconds every once in a while.
7. Maintain a Regular Feeding Schedule
It is also necessary to feed the new cat at the same time each day from when it is still outside to when it is living indoors with you. This is another way to establish a sense of trust and grow your bond even stronger.
There is a chance that the cat might not eat the food that you initially give it. Even stray or feral cats can be very fussy. You should eventually be able to find a certain brand of food that the cat enjoys.
8. Look into Pet Insurance
Some people make the decision to get insurance for their pets, which can be very useful for a number of reasons. Make sure that you know exactly what each policy that you look into covers. This can be a good way to save money on medical expenses, which can be quite substantial.
If your pet has a serious pre-existing health condition, getting medical insurance for it could be a good call. Take the time to look into various providers before making a final decision.
9. Be Patient
Taking in a stray cat can require a lot of patience, so you need to keep this mind. It might take the cat a while to fully adjust to its new environment, so you have to be accommodating. The more patient you are, the smoother this transition will be for everyone involved.
- Start by feeding the stray cat outside, leaving it to eat in peace without any interruptions.
- Take the cat to a veterinarian so it can be checked for any health problems and to get it vaccinated.
- Confirm that the cat really is a stray by seeing if it is microchipped.
- Make sure that your budget allows for another pet.
- Slowly introduce the cat to any other pets in the house.
- Avoid eye contact and touching the cat until it gets used to being around you on a daily basis.
- Consider getting pet insurance to help with potential future medical expenses.