image of catCongratulations on your decision to adopt a rescued animal! You have made a great choice and will be rewarded with a loyal and loving companion.

Preparation is essential before you bring your new cat home. Your CatRescue 901 foster carer can answer all your questions about preparation. When collecting your cat from their foster carer it is essential that you have a secure cat carry box and that you are travelling by car and not public transport. Make sure you have a litter tray, litter, food bowl, and cat food. You should speak to CatRescue 901 to find out what kind of cat food the foster carer has been using, as a sudden change in diet can cause stomach upsets. Click here to see our recommended shopping list.

Click these links for some quick advice:

What to expect the first night
Feeding
Litter training
Your other animals
Going outside
Trial adoption program
Recommended shopping list

What to Expect the First Night

image of catFor the first few nights it’s best to keep your cat confined to a single room. Find a quiet and comfortable location (your bedroom is ideal) and set up their litter tray, bed, food and water dishes. Make sure this area is well secured and that there is nowhere for them to escape. Close all windows (cats can easily rip through flyscreens) and keep any doors closed.

The first night is always exciting as you welcome your new companion home, however don’t be worried if your cat responds differently and is frightened by the experience. Cats are territorial animals and therefore sensitive to any changes in their environment, so expect them to want to hide and not interact with you. They may disappear under your bed and not venture out until you are asleep, and it’s normal for them to have no interest in food or toileting. Depending on how confident your cat is, this behaviour may continue for a period of days.

Minimising this stress is the primary reason for limiting their space to a single room. It is less threatening and overwhelming, especially if you have a large house or other animals. Try to limit noise and sudden movements in this space, and do not force your cat to spend time with you or other pets until they feel more comfortable and settled.

When bringing your cat home the main point to remember is to take things slowly. Don’t rush things and try to be sensitive to your cat’s needs and the pace that they feel comfortable with.

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Feeding

image of catFor the first few days post adoption you should continue to feed your cat the same food provided to them by their foster carer. CatRescue 901 will provide you with diet information to help you prepare for this. Changing a cat’s diet suddenly is stressful on their body and can lead to a number of stomach problems which will in turn affect their settling in to your home.

If you wish to change your cat’s diet it is essential to do so slowly. Gradually introduce it to their current food, increasing the portion of new food each day until it makes up the bulk of their meal. If there are any adverse reactions, such as diarrhoea, you should quickly reintroduce a greater amount of the food they were eating prior to adoption and once their stomach has settled restart the introduction but at a much slower rate.

CatRescue 901 recommends that you feed your cat a high quality diet such as Hills Science Diet or Royal Canin. This is important not just for their growth and maintenance, but is a great way to prevent illness. Science Diet and Royal Canin dry food are a healthy and complete diet, very palatable, and an excellent way of keeping your cat’s teeth clean.

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Litter Training

image of catCats are naturally clean animals are very easy to litter train. Place them into a litter tray when you first bring them home so they are aware of its location, repeat this immediately after your cat has finished feeding, when you first wake up, and before you go to bed. Your new cat will learn very quickly where the appropriate place is to toilet, and you may only need to do this for the first night.

Litter tray placement is also very important, and it is best to have more than one during the first few weeks, especially if you have a large home. An easy to reach but discreet corner is the best option. Keeping the litter tray clean is essential for hygiene reasons, and cats tend to avoid using them when they are dirty. The tray should be scooped at least once a day and completely emptied of litter and thoroughly washed with disinfectant on a regular basis.

It is important to have at least one litter tray per cat or kitten to avoid toileting problems.

There are only three reasons why a cat or kitten will toilet outside of the litter tray. The first is placement, meaning the litter tray was difficult to find or reach. The second reason is the litter tray is not clean enough. Cats are very clean, fastidious animals and like their litter tray to be clean. Some cats will be more particular than others in this respect. The final reason is that your cat or kitten is sick. They may not yet show any other signs of illness. If your cat or kitten is toileting outside of the litter tray and you are sure that the first and second reasons are not the case, you should take your cat to your vet for a checkup.

Please be aware that once your cat has toileted outside of the litter tray they may continue to toilet in the same spot even once you have rectified the cause. So it is always much better to avoid it from happening in the first instance, by ensuring there is always a close by, clean litter tray at all times.

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Introducing Your New Cat to other Animals

image of catsMost animals benefit from companionship, but there will usually be some difficulties when you first introduce your new cat to an existing animal. Hissing, tension, and fighting is normal, and should be expected during the first couple of weeks as they become familiar with each other and realise that there is no threat. Kittens on the other hand, usually make friends after only an hour or two and will become inseparable.

If you have an existing cat, it is very important to make the introduction as slow and gentle as possible. The main reason why your cat will not accept the new addition is if they feel threatened. Looking at it from their perspective they will view the newcomer as an intruder in their territory and will try to intimidate and scare them away, or if they have a timid personality, they may hide and exhibit a fear response. This is another reason why keeping your new cat in a single room is essential when you first bring them home.

On the first night your cat will be able to smell the new cat and will naturally be on edge. You should spend extra time comforting your cat and reassuring them that they are not at risk or being rejected. Scent plays a crucial part in a cat’s vocabulary, and your cat will be very sensitive to the smells on your clothes and hands. Allow them to sniff you while gently stroking them so they become familiar with the new cat’s presence in a non-threatening way. It is also a good idea to place an item of bedding which smells like the new cat into your cat’s living area and vice versa, so they can begin accepting each other.

On the next night (or when both cats seem more relaxed), you might like to wrap the new cat in a towel and while holding them supervise a brief introduction. Depending on your cat’s reaction, you may like to let the two cats spend some more time together. If there is tension between the two, have a break and resume the following day. It is important never to rush things, and be sensitive to their responses.

During the next introduction, try to get the cats to engage in a positive activity together, such as sharing a treat (roast chicken is perfect for this) or playing a game. Don’t be discouraged if this does not work the first attempt, things will continue to improve each day.

After a few days of limiting and supervising their time together, make sure the house is secure (close all windows and doors leading outside) and simply leave the door open to the room where your new cat has been staying so they can explore. It is probably best to do this at a time when you are home so you can make sure that there are no serious fights.

It may take many weeks for your cats to form a friendship, so don’t worry if it takes longer than you expected for this to happen. It is definitely worth the wait as all animals benefit from having companionship with other members of their species. Prior to adoption we are more than happy to spend extensive time with you to find the most suitable match based on the age and temperament of your existing animals. As long as there are no serious fights and your animals are still eating and not displaying symptoms of stress, it is always worth pursuing.

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When is it Safe to go Outside?

Some cats greatly benefit from having access to the outdoors. However this is not always the case, and if you would like to adopt a strictly indoor cat just let us know so we can help match the perfect cat to your circumstances.

When making your decision to allow your cat to go outside you should consider whether you live in an area with large populations of birds and possums, whether you live close to a national park, or if there are any busy roads near your house. You should also check with your council to see if a ‘cat curfew’ is in operation, which is often the case in environmentally sensitive local government areas. If you have adopted a kitten, they should not be allowed outside until they are a minimum of 6 months of age.

Cats are very territorial animals and as a consequence it is vital that you wait at least three weeks before introducing them to your garden, and only once you feel they know the layout of and feel completely comfortable in your house. Otherwise they risk not be able to find their way back, or recognising your home as their home. Like everything else, this step must be taken slowly and carefully.

Firstly, make sure your cat is wearing a collar with a name tag containing your contact details, and that their microchip details are up to date. There is a chance that your cat may get lost on these initial excursions and if found by a neighbour or ranger it is crucial you can be contacted or your cat will be taken to a pound.

Choose a day you will be staying at home when you first decide to take your cat outside. Simply leave the front door open and let them gradually take the first steps when they feel comfortable. You may find that they boldly walk outside, or just sit and watch at the entrance. Either way, they need to make the first move and it’s important that they recognise how to get back inside.

Once in your garden you should observe what they do and the direction they take in case you need to rescue them. Remember, while in foster care our cats are kept strictly indoors, so this may be the first time they have been outside for months and they will have lost a lot of their street sense. Occasionally call their name so they know you are there, and after a while rattle a bag of food to attract them home again. You should not let them wander too far and limit their time outside to an hour or so to reinforce where their home is and that they’re expected back.

Do not let your cat out at night time or after dinner (when food loses its appeal) until you feel certain that they know how to get home again. Most people also prefer to keep their cats in at night as there are populations of nocturnal wildlife vulnerable to attack, such as ringtail possums, and there is an increased danger of cars not seeing cats crossing roads.

After a couple of weeks of supervised excursions into your garden your cat should feel that it is a part of their territory and confident exploring it on their own. If you have any concerns please contact CatRescue 901 by emailing info@catrescue.com.au or consult your vet.

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Recommended Shopping List for People Adopting
Adult cats

Can be purchased from Vets or Pet Supply shops:

  • Science Diet or Royal Canin dry food
  • Flea treatment (Advantage or Revolution is recommended)
  • Worming paste (Felix paste is recommended)
  • Collar and identification tag
  • A secure cat carry cage

Can be purchased from your Supermarket:

  • Breeders Choice (recycled paper cat litter)
  • Litter trays (we recommend two trays per cat)
  • Wet food (a variety is recommended such as chicken breast and raw necks and tinned food)

Can be purchased from a discount variety store:

  • Scratching post
  • Toys
Kittens

Can be purchased from Vets or Pet Supply shops:

  • Science Diet or Royal Canin dry kitten food
  • Flea treatment (Advantage for kittens is recommended)
  • Worming paste (Felix paste is recommended)
  • Collar and identification tag
  • A secure cat carry cage

Can be purchased from your Supermarket:

  • Breeders Choice (recycled paper cat litter is essential for kittens as they will experiment with eating their litter and the clay variety can be fatal)
  • Litter trays (we recommend two trays per kitten)
  • Whiskas kitten sachets

Can be purchased from a discount variety store:

  • Scratching post
  • Toys (be very wary of buying toys on elastic as kittens can strangle themselves if left with these unsupervised) such as ping pong balls and soft toys that they can carry around

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