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Adopting a Cat? Learn how to take care of a Kitten

If your pets don’t seem to be making friends, don’t worry. Cats don’t always form close social bonds with other pets, or with cats from outside their litter.

Kittens are adorable. How can you not fall in love with those cute, friendly bundles of fluff? What’s more, welcoming a kitten into your home is just the first part of an exciting journey. Within a year, that inquisitive little furball will be fully-grown. So, before you take that first step, make sure you’re ready and willing to own an adult cat.

Important Tips for Adopting a Cat

Kudos to you for deciding to adopt a kitten instead of buying one. So, now that you are bringing your cute furball homes, here are some important cat adoption tips on how to take care of a kitten to make the process easier for you and your little munchkin.

  1. Prepare to adopt

    • Find out your local and condo pet rules

    Does your local council or the management of your condo have rules on keeping pets? If they do what are the guidelines? Finding such information before getting a cat will ensure you don’t need to go through the hassle of relocating or the heartbreak of giving up your furry friend.

    • Set up your home

    The next step in adopting a cat is to decide on where you want to keep your fur baby and set up its new home with a litterbox, food dish, and water bowl. You need to also minimize your fur baby’s exposure to potential dangers such as toxic plants, sharp objects. Get new toys and scratching pads to bond with your new companion and keep your furniture safe from kitty attacks.

  2. Consult a vet

    • Get your kitty vaccinated

    It is important to visit a vet as soon as possible to get your new furball vaccinated and also to get it checked for any health problems.

    • Neuter or spay your cat

    Talk to your vet about neutering or spaying your cat as it can not only prevent unwanted litters but will also ensure better health for your kitty. The surgery is pretty simple and is completely safe for your furball.

  3. Food and grooming

    • Find the right food

    Try learning about the requirements of your cat at its age and find the food that contains all the nutrients. Take the advice of your vet, if you are unsure. There are different kinds of cat food available in the market, dry, wet, and semi-dry. You can try the different varieties to see which one your fur baby prefers most. But don’t change your cat’s diet often since it can impact their digestive system adversely.

    • Groom regularly

    Groom your furry friend as soon as you bring it home by brushing, bathing, and trimming their nails, to clean it and also to find out if it has any hidden injuries, fleas, or ticks. Thereafter, you need to regularly groom it according to its breed and needs.

  4. Others

    • Consider pet insurance

    If your furry friend gets sick, the vet, medicine, and surgery charges can pile, which is why getting a pet insurance is recommended.

    • Microchip your fur kid

    Microchipping is a painless procedure that secures your ownership of your pet. It would be easier to find your fur baby if it ever gets lost and also to travel with it out of the country, if needed.

Finding the perfect Cat

While it might not cost you anything initially if you just bring a stray kitty home from the streets when adopting a cat, if you adopt from shelters, they might charge you some money. Thereafter, the costs you need to consider are:

  • Vet bills
  • Cat food
  • Accessories such as a litter box, litter, pet carrier, bed, food dish, water bowl, scratch post/ pad, toys, and so on

Cat Adoption Checklist

The cat adoption tips you need to consider before bringing a furball into your life and family are:If your pets don’t seem to be making friends, don’t worry. Cats don’t always form close social bonds with other pets, or with cats from outside their litter.

  • Are you ready to commit long-term?

You kitty will live for 13-20 years and will Financial commitment probably not be as playful and energetic when they get old. They might even get sick and require constant care and attention.

  • Do you have allergies?

Ensure that you or none of your family has allergies from cat hair.

  • Have you considered the costs?

Adopting a stray might be free but there will be a lot of expenses in the future.

  • Can you spend time with your feline?

Your furball will demand your attention and will become depressed if you don’t give it time.

  • Where would you keep your fur kid when holidaying?

You would need to arrange for a pet sitter or a pet boarding to take care of your fur baby when you go on vacations.

Do I Already Have Other Pets at Home?

Kittens are inquisitive and sociable. But cats have independent spirits, so the older they get, the more they’ll want their own space – especially quiet, cosy corners where they feel safe. When you’re introducing your new kitten to your other pets, take your time, and make sure that each has their own feeding, sleeping and toilet areas. If you have an older cat, for example, expect a settling-in period while the long-time resident gets used to the new kid on the block.

If your pets don’t seem to be making friends, don’t worry. Cats don’t always form close social bonds with other pets, or with cats from outside their litter.

Do I Work Long Hours or Travel a Lot?

Kittens can get distressed if they’re left home alone for long periods. What’s more, their tiny tummies mean they need small, regular meals every few hours, throughout the day.

If your lifestyle means you can’t avoid leaving your kitten alone, consider adopting an older cat who’s more independent. You might even adopt a pair from the same litter – that way, each cat will enjoy the other’s company.

If you’re regularly away from home, make sure there’s someone to care for your kitten in your absence. Perhaps you have a cat-friendly neighbour who’ll feed and play with your kitten several times each day (most cats prefer the familiar surroundings of their own home). Another option is to hire a professional cat-sitter.

Inside or Out?

All kittens should be kept indoors until they’re fully vaccinated. Neutering is also recommended before puberty. Unneutered male cats are more likely to stray or get into fights with other males. Females can become pregnant at just 4 months old, which is generally considered too young. Ask your vet when is the right time to have your cat neutered.

If your home is close to a busy road – or if you live in a flat or have no garden – you may prefer to keep your cat indoors long-term. Even if you do, you can still allow her to get fresh air by setting up a secure, exterior cat run. Cat runs usually include perches, and areas where your cat can shelter from the weather.

If you do choose to do keep your cat indoors, remember that a fit, happy cat needs lots of stimulation. Be sure to provide plenty of toys, scratching posts or mats, and make a point of playing, stroking and interacting with your cat every day. It’s also worth remembering that indoor cats are naturally less active, so they’ll need a little less food each day to keep them sleek and healthy.

But the most important consideration in the indoor/outdoor debate is your kitten’s personality. If your kitten has come from a feral or semi-feral litter – or is already used to being outside – an indoor lifestyle may not be the right thing for her.

Remember that, indoors or outdoors, it’s vital to keep your kitten’s vaccinations up-to-date, and to take her to the vet for those all-important annual check-ups and boosters.

Am I Planning to Move to a New Home?

Young or old, all cats like familiar surroundings. So moving to a new home can be very unsettling for a kitten. It may take her a while to adjust to her new home, especially if the environment is very different to what she’s been used to.

If you’re planning to move house in the near future, it might be worth waiting to adopt your kitten until you’re settled into your new home. If this isn’t an option, don’t worry. Just give your kitten a safe place to call her own in the new surroundings, and provide plenty of reassurance throughout the move to keep her calm and happy.

FAQ for Adopting a Cat


How long does it take an adopted cat to get comfortable?

Give your fur baby at least three days to adjust to their new home. Some may take longer, but as long as your new kitty is eating, drinking, and using the litter box, there’s no need to worry. 

What is the first thing to do when you bring a cat home?

  • Give them a safe and comfortable place where they can hide.
  • Ensure they have enough water, food, and a litter box handy.
  • Visit their safe place frequently so that they get accustomed to your presence.
  • Give them time and let them approach you. If you try to hold or cuddle it forcefully, you will only frighten it further.
  • Use toys to entice them and get comfortable with you.

Is it OK to give cats wet food every day?

Yes, you can. In fact, giving your fur kid wet food everyday along with dry food will ensure they stay hydrated since wet cat food contains a lot of fluids.

What should I feed my adopted cat?

You can feed your adopted cat any cat food from the many available in the market. Just ensure the cat food has the right amount of nutrients needed by your furry friend.

Should you keep cat food and water separate?

Yes, it is suggested to keep cat food dish and their water bowl in two different locations because cats don’t like the scent of their food or food particles floating in their water.

For the latest on COVID-19, visit the official Government website: www.sacoronavirus.co.za
For the latest on COVID-19, visit the official Government website: www.sacoronavirus.co.za

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