At-Home Checklist to Get Ready for a New Cat

Cat and Feather Toy
Toys are important to cat-friendly homes. Offer toys your cat can play with on her own, plus others she can enjoy with you, like feather wands.

Are you ready to bring a new cat into your heart and home? Welcoming a cat requires some simple preparation. Here are my tips for creating a cat-safe, cat-friendly home for your feline.

Helping to Ensure a Safe Environment

While it is important to cat-proof your home before your new feline arrives, keep in mind that she will still require supervision. But, you can minimize the risk of a catastrophe by taking a few simple precautions.

Be vigilant about picking up items with which your cat may play or put in her mouth, such as rubber bands, string and children’s toys. Secure blind cords and remove all plants. Cover electrical cords to prevent chewing and, if possible, unplug them when not in use. Lock away potentially dangerous substances and items, including medications, cleaning products, food and small household items.

Protect your cat from escaping through doors and windows. A locked screen door or temporary baby gate can deter some cats who are particularly keen on bolting out an open door, but be aware that cats have been known to climb baby gates. Windows should have securely attached screens — felines can easily misjudge or get distracted and fall from an open space, like a window sill. And small kittens may be at risk for jumping up on the edge of the toilet and falling in, so be sure to close the lid!

Cats like to climb and jump, particularly onto high spaces. If you have breakable or potentially harmful objects located in places where your cat is likely to climb, consider relocating them to a protected and enclosed space away from your cat.

A microchip and ID tag are essential for all cats, even those that live entirely indoors. In addition, you may want to consider a GPS collar as a way to track your feline if she should ever escape and become lost.

The Basics

Your cat has a few basic needs: eating, drinking, sleeping and eliminating. Before she comes home, make sure you have provided for all of these — as well as offering her a few things to improve the quality of her (and your) life.

Food and water bowls: If you have more than one cat, create multiple feeding and watering stations to decrease stress from competition. Using food puzzles for treats engages your cat, both mentally and physically, while hiding portions of each cat’s meal in high spaces encourages hunting behavior.

Litterbox: You will need at least two litterboxes, as well as an additional box for every additional cat, with each box located in a different place in your home. Keep in mind, though, that the specific number of litterboxes can be adjusted depending upon the cats in the home. If you live in a multistory home, for example, you may opt to have one litterbox per floor. Most cats like fine-grained, clumping litter. Place litter in a large, uncovered box that’s cleaned at least once daily.


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