How to prepare for rehoming a cat or kitten
Welcoming a new cat or kitten into your home is an exciting experience and can be the beginning of a wonderful companionship. It is important to make sure that your home and family are ready for your new arrival and that you have made all the necessary preparations to help them settle in properly. Let them explore the rest of your home at their own pace.
Prepare your home
Make sure that your new cat has a space of their very own that is quiet and comfortable – this is where you should take them when they first arrive in your home as it will help them feel safe and stop them from feeling overwhelmed.
Ideally, ask the rescue centre for some of their bedding too and place that in their space - the familiar scent will help them feel settled sooner.
House safety audit
It is always a good idea to cat-proof your house by working your way round and removing anything that may be dangerous to your cats such as:
poisonous plants and foods
or anything else that might harm your cat.
Essential items your new cat or kitten will need:
When you get a new feline family member there are some important items you need to get which means you should allow plenty of time to go shopping so that your cat has all the creature comforts they need. Here is our checklist of essential items:
Litter tray and litter (at least one litter tray per cat plus one extra)
Food and water bowls (at least two water bowls per cat plus one extra)
Age-appropriate cat toys
Cat carrier for trips to the vet or to the cattery
Learn about the five welfare needs of cats:
Animals have five basic welfare needs which are important for all pet owners to be aware of:
Health – Protection from pain, injury, suffering and disease and treated if they become ill or injured
Behaviour – the ability to behave naturally for their species e.g. Play, run, dig, jump, fly etc.
Companionship – to be housed with, or apart from, other animals as appropriate for the species. i.e. company of their own kind for sociable species like rabbits or guinea pigs, or to be housed alone for solitary species like hamsters.
Diet – a suitable diet. This can include feeding appropriately for the pet’s life stage and feeding a suitable amount to prevent obesity or malnourishment, as well as access to fresh clean water.
Environment – a suitable environment. This should include the right type of home with a comfortable place to rest and hide as well as space to exercise and explore.
It is important to know and understand each of the welfare needs when welcoming a cat into your home. The details below explain more about each welfare need for cats so you can ensure your pet’s physical and mental wellbeing needs are always met.
Cats are quite private and solitary creatures and prefer a separate area of their own to retreat to when they wish. Their environment should contain a cat bed or den and often they also like to be able to access high up locations such as on top of units or cat trees that have enclosed areas built in.
It is important that a cat has a diet that is appropriate to its age and nutritional needs. Some cats may need special diets if they have a medical condition. Your vet is the best person to provide diet advice.
Cats need to be able to behave naturally for example:
Hunt, if going outside. If they are an indoor cat, hunting behaviour can be replicated through play
To be able to go to the toilet in a safe and private area. If an indoor cat, a litter tray should be provided. Litter trays should be cleaned daily so that a clean litter tray is available at all times
It is important to register your cat with a vet and they should have regular health checks and preventive care such as vaccinations, flea and worm treatments. If your cat is ever in pain it is vital to seek the advice and support of a vet immediately.
Cats are generally solitary creatures preferring their own company which means ideally, they should be the only cat in the household. The exception is when they have always lived with a littermate, their mother or another companion cat that they have already bonded with. If you do have a multi-cat household it is important that you provide enough resources such as litter trays, food and water bowls and beds to prevent any competition. Always provide one extra resource for each essential item if you live in a multi-cat household. For example, if you have two cats you should have at least three litter trays available.