Hello and welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline. These articles aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Training manual but rather, Tips, Tricks, and Techniques used/developed by myself throughout my many years of animal training, cats in particular. We also try to answer questions about Everything Feline. You can send your questions or topic suggestions using our contact form here, leaving a comment below, or via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Always remember, successful Training is all about Repetition and Rewards. You can find links to all the articles in this series, including a brief description, from our menu, Training Tips and Everything Feline.
Last week we posted Part 1 of Adding a New kitty/pet to your home. Today, we’ll continue with part 2. We will be expounding on a lot of the individual topics covered in these steps in future articles. If you have any specific questions, please let us know. If you think there are steps we missed, please let us know.
Step III: Getting Ready:
Now that you’ve decided on where to get kitty from, you’ll need to prepare for kitty’s arrival. I firmly believe it’s better to have your home set up in advance, instead of trying to put it all together instead of spending time with the new addition. Whether bringing home a kitten, adult, or older kitty, you’ll need to go through your house at the cat’s level. Move or put away/up any dangling cords or strings. I like to wrap cords in electrical tape. It seems to deter cats from chewing far better than the bitter apple sold at pet stores and online. Put away any valuable trinkets/tchotchkes/glass vases you don’t want broken or damaged until after kitty has acclimated to their new home. Put away any jewelry so kitty doesn’t play with or swallow them. (If you’re adopting a puppy, put away any shoes that aren’t being worn.) You might want to put child locks on cabinets and block access to under chests, dressers, sofas, and any other furniture sitting low to the ground. You can check out our articles on kitten proofing your home here, here, here, and here. We take a look at each room separately.
Set out the water bowls or fountains in areas easily accessible to kitty. The number of water receptacles you’ll need is dependent on the size of your home and how many pets you have. Most cats love running water, so drinking fountains might be something you want to look into. There are loads of them on the market these days that vary in price anywhere from about $20.00 to $500.00. We’ve reviewed several over the years and will be bringing you another soon. It may take a few tries before you find the one your kitty likes best. Raena really likes to drink from a stream, and so far, Zebby seems to like to drink from the “puddle”. When making your choice, just be aware that plastic can be the cause of or exacerbate feline acne in some cats. Plastic is generally cheaper, but again, drinking fountain prices have dropped dramatically since first being introduced to the market many years ago.
Be sure to have a few different scratcher options available (i.e.. horizontal and vertical, carpet, cardboard, and sisal). The options here are endless, with prices ranging from a few dollars to several thousand. You don’t need to have the most expensive cat tree/scratcher on the market, but you do need options. At least until you know what kind your new kitty prefers. Raena and Zebby both prefer vertical scratching on sisal; however, they do like a good quality cardboard scratcher as well. Zebby is a solid stocky boy, so that means, I must make sure he has at least one scratcher that is sturdy enough to allow for him to really dig his claws in and rake down without falling over or moving across the floor.
You should also have a few toys on hand. They don’t have to be expensive, but you’ll want kitty to have something appropriate to play with, or he/she will find something, like the toilet paper, electrical cords, etc.. If kitty is under the age of 6 months, be aware that catnip and catnip toys will have little to no effect. We’ll discuss this further in a future article. Make sure the toys don’t have any small pieces that could be chewed off and swallowed. Also make sure to remove any dangling balls from cat trees or scratchers as these can be hanging dangers. You’ll also want at least one of the toys to be a wand toy, so that kitty can bond with you through interactive playtime.
Next, decide where the litterboxes will be housed and don’t move them around. It’s best to keep them in a place without a lot of commotion and foot traffic. In other words, don’t sit it by the door and wonder why kitty won’t use it. Another place some cats take issue with is the laundry room. A running washer or dryer can be too noisy for kitty to be comfortable. We keep our litter boxes in the bathroom here, but they have been in the bedroom and a quiet corner of the living room past homes.
We have both of these in our bathroom, and a Litter Genie for waste.
I stated last week, I like covered litter boxes with the Litter Robot being mine and the cat’s favorite. However, the Litter Robot can be cost prohibitive; and if you’re not prepared to scoop the litter box at least twice a day per cat, then an open box is the better choice. An open box still needs to be cleaned daily, but without a lid, the odor doesn’t get trapped inside. A dirty litterbox can easily cause kitty to start eliminating outside of it’s box, and somewhere else in your home. The rule of thumb for the amount of litterboxes one should have in their home, is one per cat and a spare. 1 cat, 2 boxes. 2 cats, 3 boxes, and so on. There are exceptions to every rule, but better to set yourself and kitty up for success rather than failure. You can check out our article about Feline Urinary Habits and problem solving here.
If adopting a new puppy, you’ll need piddle pads or what I call piddle grass. The piddle grass is basically a litterbox for dogs. Piddle grass ranges from $20.00 to about $100.00. Most of it is fake grass, but there are a few companies that deliver a square of fresh grass inside a disposable box. If you’re adopting a large breed puppy, you’ll definitely want to potty train him/her to go outside. You’ll also need to get a collar and leash so puppy doesn’t get away from you and get lost or hurt.
I like to Harness Train cats regardless of any planned outings. The Harness can be used for many things other than walking. You can check out our use of the Harness for calming down Zebby here.
You’ll also need a good carrier/kennel. Styles and prices vary widely. Depending on whether or not you plan on traveling with kitty or just taking a few trips a few times a year will need to be considered before making your purchase. If you plan to fly with kitty, you’ll need to make sure the carrier you buy is airline approved. You’ll need a to get an appropriate sized carrier. If you’re adopting a kitten, you might want to get a cheap small carrier until you know how large kitty will be when grown. If you’re adopting say a Maine Coon, then a small carrier will never work. Perhaps you want to get a stroller? Depending on the size of the animal and where you plan to take the stroller will play a part in whether or not you can get by with one of the cheaper models or whether you’ll need to invest in one of the more expensive ones. We love our Gen7 Jogger with all terrain wheels. Living where we do, we needed something that could take any surface without issue, since sidewalks are in short supply. Regardless of which option you choose, just make sure it can be tethered/seat belted into the car for safety.
Step IV: Decompression Room/Area:
The last step before bringing kitty home is to make what I call the Decompression Room/Area. We’ll discuss introducing kitty to resident pets in a later article; but if you need the information now, you can check our previous articles on the subject here and here. A Decompression Room/Area should be something you have for the life of your pet. It will come in handy in the event of a remodel, party, guest visits, emergencies, holidays, and many other occasions. If you have a room you can close off that’s great, but I’ve never lived where I had a spare room so I use a playpen/kennel. I actually prefer the playpen/kennel, because it allows kitty/puppy to see everything that’s going on. It also allows you to see kitty. They can feel as though they’re a part of the family while still feeling protected. This area is where kitty can go to de-stress or even acclimate, especially if joining a home with a resident pet. If using a playpen, it should be large enough to accommodate kitty and all of his/her necessities (i.e. food, water, small scratcher, a toy or two, litterbox, bed/mat, a piece of worn clothing with your scent). If this is a full room, in addition to the above, you’ll also want to add kitty’s carrier/box with a light cover. You can use a sheet or towel to cover the box so that kitty can feel “hidden”.
I like to have 2 playpens set up when bringing a new kitten home. I set up one in the living area and we have one in the bedroom. This allows for the new kitten to be close by no matter what area of the apartment I’m in. The Decompression Room/Area should never be used for punishment. I don’t believe in Training through Punishment. We’ll cover more about Discipline in a future article. You can check out this article for some handy tips now. You might also want to read our article on water/spray bottles here. The door/entry to the Decompression Room/Area should be left open so kitty can come and go as he/she pleases. The only time the door should be closed is when you need kitty to be confined for his or her safety or when new kitty/puppy can’t be supervised. I highly recommend leaving kitty’s carrier out at all times. In the event of an emergency, kitty’s comfort with it will be invaluable. We’ll discuss emergencies and go bags in a future article.
Step V: First Aid Kit:
One last step before picking up new kitty/puppy for the trip home. Every home should have a Pet First Aid Kit on hand. You never know what can happen. No matter how well prepared you are, accidents happen. You can purchase a Pet First Aid Kit at most pet stores and online. However, you can make one yourself and tailor it to meet your pets specific needs. Your kit should include the following supplies:
- Absorbent Gauze Pads
- Adhesive Tape
- Cotton Balls and Swabs
- Ice Pack
- Disposable Gloves
- Scissors and Tweezers
- OTC Antibiotic Ointment
- Oral Syringe/Turkey Baster
- Alcohol Wipes
- Styptic Powder
- Saline Eye Solution
- Ace Bandage
- Safety Pins
Also include a note card or piece of paper with your name, phone number, emergency contact name and phone number, veterinarian’s name and phone number, as well as any special instructions or medications your pet is taking. You should also have at least a 3 day supply of any medications in your kit. I also like to keep a few treats/pill pockets in our kit. Just be sure to keep everything in your kit fresh and up to date.
There’s only one thing left to do now…Pick up and bring home your new kitty/puppy. We’ll pick it up here next time. No matter what age or sex you decided on, your life is about to change for the better. There’s nothing quite like bringing a bundle of love in to your life and home. Enjoy and have fun. Just remember, Training starts from the first moment and continues their whole life.
Are there any steps you think we forgot?
Is there something you would do different? How and why?
Please let us know what you think and submit your questions for inclusions in future articles.
Till the next time……………………………………………………………..Be Blest!!!
Mommy A (Audra High)
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