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Q. Will my current cat(s) get along with the adopted cat?

A. This is a concern we hear often! When first introducing your new cat to its home and to other cats and/or dogs, some of the typical behaviours you will see are hiding, hissing and growling. This is normal behaviour and  the cats will either learn to ignore each other or become the best of friends! Cats must work out their hierarchy by showing their dominance. You can place the new cat in a room on its own until it becomes comfortable in its new surroundings. They can spend the first few days smelling each other through the space at the bottom of the door. Gradually introduce the pets to each other. Giving an adult cat a new life can be very rewarding, as people usually adopt kittens, leaving adult cats to live out their life at shelters without enough human contact.

 

Q. What can be done about scratching?

A.  Cats like rough surfaces that they can shred to pieces. The best scratching posts are those covered in sisal. The post should be tall enough that the cats can fully extend their body when scratching, and secure enough that it does not fall over. 

Do It Yourself Options: The reverse side of a rug provides a good, satisfying resistant texture for scratching. You can staple or tape sections of the rug to a wall or post. A tree stump is also an excellent natural option. 

The scratching post should initially be placed in an area used by the entire family, and not hidden in a back corner. After such time as your cat is comfortable with using this post, you can gradually move its location to the side of the room. 

Rub dried catnip leaves onto the post to entice kitty to use it. 

Reward kitty with treats when he/she uses it. 

If at first your cat is reluctant to give up its old scratching areas (furniture, carpet, wallpaper) there are ways you can discourage this. Cover the area with aluminum foil which has a texture that cats normally do not like to scratch. 

Cats also do not normally like citrus odours so the use of lemon scented sprays on the old scratching surface may make it less appealing. 

Keep a small spray bottle filled with water. A spray of water is effective in discouraging negative behaviour.

 

Q. How do I teach my new cat to find and use a litterbox?

A.  Cats are very fastidious animals and love to be clean. That characteristic, plus the fact that mother cats are really good  at house-breaking their kittens, means that you should not have too much trouble. You really should keep your new cat in one room or a small area of the house to begin with and gradually let it find its way around more and more of the house. So put the litterbox in the room with the cat (preferably where you plan on keeping the box in the future) and as soon as you bring your new cat or kitten home, just put it in the box once to show it where it is, and the cat will be able to find it whenever it needs.

 

Q. What is microchipping?

A.  Microchipping involves the implantation, by a veterinarian, of a small microchip under the cat´s skin. The microchip is enclosed in a special capsule and is about the size of a grain of rice. It is a simple and safe procedure and is not painful to the cat. Each of these microchips are programmed with a unique identification code, and emits a signal when scanned with a special wand. This unique number is also registered in a central database, along with the owner´s vital information, and can be used to reunite the animal with the owner. Microchipping is the best chance of having a lost pet reunited with their owner.

 

Q. How do I trim my cat´s claws?

A.  If possible start training your cat to have its claws trimmed as a kitten. Gently stroke your cat´s paws often, getting it used to having its paws held before you attempt trimming. Be sure to reward your cat with a special food treat-one that it receives only during claw trimming or some other grooming procedure-during or immediately after trimming. The best time to trim your cat´s claws is when it is relaxed or sleepy. Never try to give a pedicure right after a stressful experience or an energetic round of play. 

Your cat should be resting comfortably on your lap, the floor, or a table. Hold a paw in one hand and press a toe pad gently to extend the claw. Notice the pink tissue (the “quick”) on the inside of the claw.  Avoid the quick when you trim the claw; cutting into it will cause pain and bleeding. Remove the sharp tip below the quick (away from the toe), clipping about halfway between the end of the quick and the tip of claw. If your cat becomes impatient, take a break and try again later. Even if you can clip only a claw or two a day, eventually you'll complete the task.