How to Strengthen Your Relationship With a Newly Adopted Cat
Woman holding cat

How to Strengthen Your Relationship with a Newly Adopted Cat

By Susan M. Ewing

There’s nothing better than adding a loving feline to the family, but bringing that new addition home—whether you’re getting an adult from a shelter or a kitten from a breeder—will go more smoothly if you prepare your home before you get the cat.


First, make an appointment with your veterinarian for any necessary vaccinations and for a physical exam. This is also a good time to have your cat microchipped so that if he ever becomes lost, there’s a better chance he’ll be returned to you. 


A litter box will probably be at the top of your shopping list, along with litter. If you can find out what kind of litter the cat or kitten is used to, you’ll be a step ahead. Otherwise, don’t buy an economy-sized bag until you know whether or not your cat will use it. The same goes for the litter box. Just get a basic design, unless you know for sure that your cat prefers one that is covered, or you know that he isn’t afraid of the self-cleaning models.

If you already have a cat, get another litter box anyway. Cats can take a while to get used to each other, and the resident cat may chase the newcomer away from the litter box. Giving them each a box can make introductions a little less stressful. In fact, if you already have a cat, be prepared to keep the new arrival in a separate room so that the cats can meet gradually.


Food should also be near the top of the list. Most cats prefer wet food, but again, don’t buy caseloads until you determine which flavor your cat likes best. Many cats also enjoy crunchy dry food for snacking, so add that to your shopping list.

Food and water dishes are essential, of course, and stainless steel is an excellent choice because it’s nonbreakable and easy to wash. Ceramic dishes are also a good choice. Plastic is at the bottom of the list because it may retain odors and bacteria and may also stain. Whatever your choice of dishes, keep in mind that many cats don’t like to have their whiskers touch the sides of the bowl—that’s why many people put cat food on a plate or saucer. This way, there’s plenty of room for Tabby’s whiskers to spread out.


Another “must have” is a scratching post, like Four Paws® Super Catnip® Carpet and Sisal Scratching Post. Cats need to scratch, so protect your furniture by getting one or more scratching posts. Just remember to secure any scratching post so that it doesn’t tip over. This could frighten your cat, and he might decide that your favorite armchair is much better for scratching! 

If your cat seems hesitant to use a scratching post, rubbing it with catnip may help, and have your cat ignoring your furniture and drapes.

Four Paws®, Magic Coat®, and Wee-Wee® products are available at major pet stores everywhere in the U.S. Please check with your local retailer for product availability near you.