Whether you just adopted your new bundle of fur, or you’re fostering a cat/kitten temporarily, this guide will provide you with basic information to keep your kitty happy and healthy.
Why is my new cat hiding under the bed?
Don’t take it personally! Some cats take a while to adjust to new people/places, and some are especially shy. It may take weeks or even months for your cat to warm up to her new home, so be patient. You may want to keep her in her own room for a few days so she can adjust to her new digs in a safe and comfortable spot.
What kind of food do you recommend?
Feeding your cat cheap fare is like eating fast food everyday — it fills you up but doesn’t provide much nutrition. High-quality cat food will keep your kitty healthier and help her live a longer, happier life. Look for food that lists real meat (not by-products) as the first ingredient. Cats are true carnivores and have no use for corn or wheat, which can cause allergies. We recommend Wellness, Nature’s Variety, Merrick, Nutro Natural Choice, Royal Canin, Science Diet, and comparable brands. They’re more expensive than the stuff you find at the grocery store, but because they have fewer fillers and are more nutritious, your cat won’t need to eat as much. That means you won’t need to buy food as often and will end up spending about the same amount of money. You’ll probably save money on vet bills later down the road too, since better food means better overall health. Kittens should eat kitten food until their growth slows, as this food is higher in calories.
What kind of veterinary care should I provide my cat/kitten?
City Kitties recommends at least one exam per year for a healthy adult cat. Our cats are all tested for FIV/FeLV, vaccinated, and dewormed before they are adopted out, but it is always wise to take your new cat to the vet for an exam and to be re-tested for FIV/FeLV, as those diseases can take months to show up in a test after a cat has been exposed. Besides, it’s a good idea to be familiar with a local vet in case you have questions or an emergency situation! If your cat ever stops eating, urinating, or defecating, this could be a sign of a serious medical problem and you should call your vet immediately.
Depending on the age at the time of adoption, kittens will need one or more rounds of booster shots, and may need to be vaccinated for rabies if they were too young at the time of their first exam. If you’re not sure when to visit the vet, City Kitties can provide you with vet records, or with the number of the local vet where your feline was examined so you can obtain their records.
What about flea collars and shampoos?
OTC flea shampoos and collars are known to cause seizures in cats — please don’t use them! City Kitties recommends monthly application of Revolution, Advantage, or similar products to prevent fleas, ear mites, and worms. You can obtain these from your vet. Several varieties (Frontline and Capstar) are also available in pet stores. All City Kitties foster cats/kittens are tested and treated for common parasites. Monthly application of preventive medication will help your cat stay parasite-free.
What if my cat gets fleas?
If your cat gets fleas, don’t panic — it’s not the end of the world. Follow the steps below, and these common critters won’t be around long. Apply one of the products mentioned above to every pet in your household, and the fleas will all die in less than a week. To be sure you’re rid of any eggs, you can also put a flea collar in your vacuum bag (but not on your pet!), run the vacuum around the house and on the furniture, and throw the bag away outside. Be aware that fleas are part of the tapeworm’s lifecycle, so there is a chance your cat could get tapeworms. This is easily treated with a prescription medication from your veterinarian.
Do I need to train my cat to use the litterbox?
Cats instinctively use litterboxes, but sometimes they need a little introduction–particularly kittens. Check out our Litterbox Guide for information and tips on litterbox placement, how many to get, litterbox problems, and other common issues.
What about scratching posts, & what if my cat scratches furniture?
Scratching posts are a must, because kitties need to scratch something to sharpen their claws and remove the outer layers of the claw. Our Scratching guide provides information on products, techniques to encourage your cat to use his/her post, and curbing problem scratching.
I already have a cat. How do I introduce a new one?
Our page on Introducing a New Cat to a Resident Pet has information on how to do it right the first time, and what to expect.
What if my cat/kitten is scratching/biting me during playtime?
This is normal play behavior for kittens, but it sure is annoying if you’re the target. Our page on Aggression provides information about how to handle rough play and other unwanted behavior.