Bringing Home Your New Furry Family Member
CURRENT FOOD: Purina ONE - Dry Food. This is a baseline. Please do not feed your new cat less nutritional food.
CURRENT TREATS: Hill's Prescription Diet t/d Dental Care Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food (it's meant to be kibble, but our felines love the pieces as treats) Please use treats as training aids/rewards only.
CURRENT LITTER: SLIDE (super-clumping, non-stick, dust free, affordable)
Other must-have items: litter box, litter scoop, carrier, water bowl, dry food bowl, wet food bowl, brush
Congratulations! You have just begun a relationship that’s bound to be filled with fun and affection. Be prepared when bringing your new furry family member home. Cats are particularly sensitive to new surroundings, and some may hide under a bed or in a closet for days or even a week or two. You can avoid pitfalls with your new cat and help him or her adapt more easily by following these guidelines:
Before you bring your cat home:
Cats are territorial and coming into a new home leaves them feeling uneasy. There’s all that unexplored space, and who knows what may lurk there! Do him a favor and provide a small area to call his own for the first few days or weeks. A bathroom, large closet or laundry room works well. Furnish the room with cat amenities, such as food, water, and a litter box. Be sure to set up the food and water away from the litter box. Make sure the toilet lid is down if he’s to acclimate in your bathroom. You’ll want to spend time with your cat, so make sure there’s a comfortable place for you to sit as well. Sit on the floor and let him come to you. Don’t force him. Just let him get acquainted on his own time. If he doesn’t approach, leave him alone and try again later. Some cats are particularly fearful and may retreat to their hidey hole and not come out when you are around. He may only come out at night when the house is quiet. Give him time. Save meet-and-greets with friends, neighbors and relatives until the cat is eating and using the litter box on a normal schedule.
Your new cat may not eat much or at all at first. It’s best to give your cat the same food she had at the Cat Café South Beach: Purina One. Keeping some things familiar will make her feel more secure. Be sure to change her water frequently and make sure that she is drinking. If your cat hasn’t eaten for a few days, call your vet to seek advice. If you wish to switch to a different brand of food, slowly make the switch over one to two weeks, starting with a quarter ration of the new food mixed into the old favorite. From there, up the ratio of new to old about 10% each day. The Cat Café South Beach recommends feeding cats both wet and dry food (ex: dry food in the morning, wet food at night) A high quality, affordable brand we like is American Journey (wet and dry food) available on Chewy.com. Be careful not to overfeed! See:
More About Feeding Your Cat:
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they rely on nutrients found only in animal products. Cats evolved as hunters that consume prey that contains high amounts of protein, moderate amounts of fat, and a minimal amount of carbohydrates, and their diet still requires these general proportions today. Cats also require more than a dozen other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids. Most veterinarians believe that more protein is better for cats. Most cats will need 35 to 45 percent protein content in their daily diet.
Feed high animal proteins rather than plant proteins. Many vets further advocate feeding canned food instead of dry food to cats because cats often don't drink enough water and dry food often contains too many carbohydrates. See more:
Fill a litter box with two or three inches of litter and place it in his room where he can use it undisturbed. After all, everyone deserves a modicum of privacy, and giving him that will help prevent litter box aversion. But don’t put it somewhere that’s too out of the way. We have been using SLIDE litter. Ask us why. It is best to start off with what they know, and if you wish, you can gradually change the litter later. And please remember to scoop litter at least once a day!
A Quiet Place:
Cats love to get away from it all in small places. You can provide one for your new cat as his own little haven. If he came home in a cat carrier, that might be a good choice. You can also make one by cutting a doorway for him in the end of a box. If you prefer, you can buy a covered cat bed at a pet supply store. In either case, make sure the space is big enough for the cat to stand up and turn around in. Cat “feng shui” requires that he or she be able to see the door to the room from his hidey hole, so he won’t be startled. . For extra cat fun, buy a cat tree for your new family member. Cats like to survey their territory, so a high perch is often a favored resting place. Checkout: squarepaws.com for the best high quality, beautiful, whimsical cat furniture on the planet.
Cats must scratch!
The outer layer of a cat’s claws needs to be worn off regularly. Cats do this themselves by scratching on things. Since you prefer that it not be on your chairs and sofa, provide your cat with a socially acceptable scratching place. Some types are made of corrugated cardboard and lie on the floor; others are posts that are tall enough so that the cat can extend himself upward to scratch. At The Cat Café cats enjoy scratching on traditional door mats made of natural fibers like coir, jute, or sisal. You can encourage your cat to use the post or mat by sprinkling it with catnip or dangling a toy at the top. He’ll get the idea. You’ll probably want a scratching post in each room where there is soft furniture, perhaps blocking access to it. You can also install sticky tape (available at pet supply stores) to corners of upholstered furniture to dissuade scratching. Cat manicures to trim the pointy end of nails every two to three weeks also helps reduce damage
Cat-proof your home before giving your new feline run of the house:
Before you bring your new cat home, set up their space for success. We've outlined a basic shopping list, but it's essential to do a safety and wellness check too. Look at your home from a cat's perspective, from down low on the ground (think wires for gnawing) to up high (think precarious knick-knacks or unstable shelving). Adjust as necessary. Look at your house with a curious cat’s eye view for its climbing and exploring potential. When your cat is acclimated to your home, you may be surprised to find him on top of the upper kitchen cabinets, so make sure there’s nothing on display there or on other high shelves that can be damaged or knocked off. Look for holes or registers that leave ductwork accessible and cover them up. A cat can easily slither into one of these. Put away harsh cleaning products, human medications, and household poisons. Re-home any poisonous houseplants. Consider protecting all electrical cords, speaker wires, and even the cords on blinds. Remember to keep the toilet lid down. If you live in a high-rise condo with a balcony, never leave your cat on the balcony unattended. Cat Walk makes a screened in cat play pen that you can use on your balcony if you want to give your feline safe balcony playtime. Don’t leave you cat in the play pen without water or in direct sun.
If there are other human family members, go over the ground rules about your new pet. Remind them not to startle him and to keep the door to his room shut while your cat is getting used to his new home. If you have other pets, follow the above guidelines, and keep your cat’s door closed and don’t let your other pet race in unexpectedly. Bone up on how to introduce your cat to other pets. Here’s a tutorial we like:
Keep Cat Entertained:
Once settled in, your cat will be eager to play. Stock up on interactive toys such as feather wands and cat fishing poles to engage attention and direct energies toward a positive pursuit. Ready a comfortable cat perch on a sunny windowsill – if it overlooks the birdfeeder, even the better! Observing live birds and squirrels beats out cat videos any day.
Flea and Parasite Prevention:
Even though your cat will live indoors, we recommend monthly flea and parasite prevention. Don’t waste your money on over-the-counter flea meds. They don’t work. The brand that works most effectively in S. Florida is Revolution PLUS, or Comfortis for Cats for cats that have sensitivity to topical medications. These protect cats against fleas, heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, and ear mites.
Revolution PLUS is available thru veterinarians and averages $20 per application. At The Cat Cafe South Beach, we buy Revolution Plus online from Australia (prescription not required). It is the exact formulation as Revolution sold in the US but costs only about $10 per application. The website is: www.discountpetmedication.biz . For additional savings we buy the flea preventative STRONGHOLD Plus which is the brand name Revolution is sold under in Europe. 1 application of Stronghold Plus costs about $8.
Local Vets We Recommend:
Miami Beach Animal Wellness and Specialty Center
Dr. Heidi Foster
Located in: The Shoppes at West Avenue
Address: 959 West Ave #12, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Pets & Vets Animal Clinic
Dr. Javier Andreu
Address: 1181 71st St, Miami Beach, FL 33141
MASH Mobile Vet
Dr. Mike Tenzer
Pet Sitter We Recommend:
Louis – A Tall Tail Pet Sitting
Phone: (305) 788-8245
Bonded and Insured, 100% Wonderful.
Catster Magazine Online (General Information)
Everything from Jackson Galaxy on YouTube (Training and problem resolution)
Chewy Blog (General Information)
Petsumer Report (Unbiased Food and Nutrition analysis)
Cat Food – Preferably you’ll be able to get the same brand your new cat is used to eating to prevent tummy upsets. You transition her to a different food later.
Food and Water Bowls – Your kitty will need her own (not-too-deep) bowl for mealtime, and make sure she stays hydrated with one or more water bowls. We also suggest ceramic or stainless steel (not plastic!) water fountains.
Cat Litter – Cats tend to prefer scent-free, dust-free clumping litter, but you’ll have to see what works best for your cat and for you.
Cat Litter Box and Scoop – The general recommendation from experts is one litter box per cat plus one extra - if you can. We recommend starting with just one, but scooping at least 2x day! This is a must!
Cat Toys – She’ll need these for mental and physical exercise.Remember though that not all cats like all toys and sometimes the simplest things bring the most joy, like hair scrunchies or the crunched up brown packing paper that comes in Amazon boxes sometimes - not to mention the boxes themselves!
Cat Carrier – You might think you can improvise, but you’ll need a cat carrier to keep your cat safe and contained for trips to the vet or traveling. Take your time choosing a nice one.
Cat Bed – This will help your cat feel conformable in her new home. Truth is though, your cat will be choosing their best sleeping place.
Grooming Products – Brushes, combs, nail clippers. Brush your cat regularly. They enjoy it, brushing is good for their coat and it helps with shedding and hairballs
Dental Products – Have a toothbrush and toothpaste on hand to prevent dental disease.
Catnip or Silvervine – Many cats go wild for catnip others prefer Silvervine.
Flea and Tick Control - see above
Stain and Odor Remover – Because accidents happen.
Treats -- Pick a high quality ( grain free) treat that your cat goes crazy for. Remember: treats are rewards and should be used for training purposes or stress palliatives only.
Nice to Have:
Cat Shelves – Some cats really like to climb. Your cat can survey her kingdom from up high (and snooze out of reach from others).
Window Perch – This provides a comfortable place to lie and watch birds and other wildlife . Windows are the best cat TV.