NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

November 9, 2012

Paw Prints: Take care when welcoming a new cat

There comes a day when every feline fancier finds a new furry friend. Whether Fluffy is a kitten or an adult cat, welcoming this kitty into your home is a special experience for both of you.

For the new family member, this can also be an intimidating time. Your Fluffy is lucky to be adopted into your loving home, but everything is new to him. Put yourself in his paws and think like a cat. That will help him adjust to your home and bond with you.

Does the age of your new feline friend matter to you? Little kittens are cute, but they are also rambunctious and full of energy. Kittens need lots of play time and can be more destructive at home than adult cats. The first few months of life are important for socialization. These little felines benefit from gentle guidance with new experiences and lots of human contact.

Adult cats can make terrific companions. They are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be your pet. Adult cats can be calmer. But they also come with their preferences. If they haven’t already had positive social experiences with children or pets, they may not be willing to be a good sport about this in your home. Adult cats are also more likely to come with pre-existing health issues, so be sure to get whatever medical history you can and take this to your veterinarian.

Your new cat will need and seek social time with you every day. That includes all the fun stuff, like holding, patting, snuggling and playing together with toys.

Will Fluffy go outdoors or will he be indoors exclusively? Statistically, indoor cats live longer, healthier lives. But indoor cats need creative mental stimulation. Placing big cat furniture at windows with a bird feeder outside can help.

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