How To Prepare For A Rescue Cat

Bringing a new cat into your home is exciting—but it can also be overwhelming if you don't know what to expect. Here's how to prepare for a rescue cat.

Brittany Leitner

Updated June 21, 2023 • Published June 21, 2023

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How To Prepare For A Rescue Cat

If you’re a first-time cat parent, it can be hard to anticipate how to properly feed, provide for, and set up a home for your new cat or kitten. Of course you can imagine you’ll need the basics like food, water, and a litter box, but there’s so much more you need to have ready when you’re bringing a new feline friend home.  

If you're wondering how to prepare for a rescue cat, a few small steps can make a big difference. Prepping in advance can reassure you that you're not only giving a cat in need a loving home, but that you're ready for anything that pet parenting might throw at you.

Here’s everything you need to know about preparing your home for a rescue cat. 

How to prepare for a rescue cat

1. Get the right supplies

Of course you’ll need food and a litter box, but it’s also helpful to have a designated area in your home to serve as your cat’s home base. This can include a scratching post, mini gym, or any toys you think your cat might like, but most importantly, it should include a comfy bed that your cat can feel safe to return to as they get used to their new space. 

It’s important to remember that all cats are different. For example, some might not like having their food and water station close together. If your cat is having trouble eating or drinking enough water, try moving things around a bit. It’s important to help your cat adjust to the transition as well. If you can, try asking the shelter where you adopted the cat from if your new cat has any particular tendencies or habits that could be helpful to know when bringing them home. 

2. Find a veterinarian

Before your cat arrives home with you, make sure you've already picked out a veterinarian so you have a game plan from day one. And for times when you just have a quick question or aren't sure what to do next, Pawp can easily connect you to veterinary professionals who can point you in the right direction.

Depending on the shelter or the type of rescue cat, you may need to bring the cat in to the vet immediately for things like checkups and vaccinations.

3. Cat-proof your house

When bringing a new pet into your house, it’s important to be aware of any dangers the home could present to the cat. One of the biggest things to be concerned about is any potential harmful toxins around your home. Make sure to take stock of your plants or any flowers that could be harmful to your cat if nibbled on. You should also be mindful of loose wires and anything that could cause your cat anxiety or become a choking hazard.

4. Know socialization best practices

Contrary to popular belief, cats are very social creatures who love playing with other cats. Although cats can be territorial, there are a few ways to help ease the transition between your new cat and an existing one, and making a proper introduction is the first step

Tactics like scent swapping, where you swap the new cats bedding with bedding of the existing cat, can help familiarize the new scents between the cats, making them less fearful. Introducing the two cats between a barrier (like leaving one cat in a carrier) could be helpful as well. Remember to be patient, as it can take anywhere from a few days to a few months for two cats to get used to each other.

5. Learn the cat parent basics

If you’re a first time pet parent, outlining a budget for the cat’s expenses is key. Make sure to work in the amount you’re ready to spend on food, accessories, veterinary bills, and more for your new cat. 

It’s also important to familiarize yourself with common cat behaviors and warning signs that could signal that your cat is sick or needs veterinary attention. For example, if your cat is scratching in an undesignated area, it could be due to anxiety or illness. The same thing goes for failure to use a litter box.

We recommend checking in with your vet to see what behaviors to look out for and which ones could be concerning. And when in doubt, chat with the team at Pawp—we're here to help you and your new feline friend 24/7.

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