How To Introduce Cats Into Your Family
If you are eager to buy or adopt a cat but have never had a cat before, you are probably wondering how to introduce cats into your family without causing a major upheaval. While there is always going to be an adjustment period as you and your cat get used to each other, you can make introducing cats into your family a fairly painless process if you follow a few simple steps.
- Check for allergies. If you've never spent much time around cats, you could be allergic to them and not even know it. Allergies don't mean that you'll never be able to include a cat in your family, but that does mean you may want to consult your doctor about allergy medications and a vet about less allergenic breeds before you start looking for the cat of your dreams.
- Research breeds. Different breeds of cats have different personalities, health issues, and life spans. Before introducing a cat to your family, it's useful to know that Calicos are known for being grumpy type-A cats, Maine Coons are considered good with kids, and it's entirely possible you'd be able to teach a Manx tricks. Feline personality is far more important than most people realize. An active breed like the Siamese that demands constant attention and play isn't the best choice for a walker-bound grandmother, but a docile Persian may be perfect for her.
- Hit the pound. A animal shelter is the perfect place to adopt a cat because you get to interact with a variety of cats before you make your decision. The staff can also usually steer you toward a cat that would be easy to introduce into your family.
- Decision time. If you do adopt from a shelter, once you make a decision, there's usually an interview process. The shelter is trying to make sure that the cat that you've chosen to introduce to your family is a good match.. While it may seem strange to have to interview to take home a pet that may otherwise be destroyed, shelters claim that animals are less likely to return to the shelter if they're matched in an interview process. The interview is the perfect time to ask the shelter worker for any tips on how to introduce your cat into your family.
- Setting up. Once you've made your decision and interviewed with the shelter, there will usually be a waiting period of a few days. During this time, the shelter is giving your new pet shots, neutering or spaying it if it hasn't already been neutered or spayed, and giving you a chance to change your mind. Use this time to get your house set up. Buy the exact same kind of food and litter than your cat is using in the shelter. You can change it later, but you want your cat to have to endure as few changes as possible in this critical transition period. In addition to food and littler, buy scratching posts, toys, and a bed. You should also find a local vet in the area in case there's an emergency soon after you bring the cat home.
- The big day. On the day you finally introduce your cat into your family, you're going to be tempted to put her in the middle of the living room and let everyone play with her. Don't. Take the cat carrier into a quiet room in your home that can be closed off from the rest of the house and where the cat can have access to food, water, and a litter box. Open the cat carrier and then let the cat come out and explore that one room at her own pace. Don't attempt to interact with her unless she comes to you. Let her become comfortable in her surroundings. Over the next few days you can gradually introduce her to the rest of the family and the rest of the house.