Adopting and Adult Shelter Cat
1. Purchase the necessary paraphernalia. If this is your first household cat, you need all the bowls, litter boxes, toys, beds, and scratching post. If you have other cats, it is still good to obtain new ones to reduce aggression towards the newly adopted cat.
2. Begin immediately with confinement to lower stress and allow some time before being introduced to the entire house, other cats or dogs. The cat’s body language will tell you when it is time to introduce other pets and expand outside the confined room. It will most likely not be the first day and may be longer.
3. Feed small amounts of food on each side of the door to the new cat’s isolation area if you have other pets. The proximity with the sounds and smells will be associated with a positive experience of eating for both the newly adopted cat and other household pets.
4. Hand feed for the first few days during the isolation. Do not leave food down; instead insist they take the food by hand. If they are rough in taking the food, pull back your hand or close it. Open slowly when they respond gently. The key is to reward gentle behavior. Then use your other hand while they are eating to stroke and massage the newly adopted cat.
5. If the cat is fearful or hiding, try providing special treats. If they will not accept food or treats from your hand, leave some on the floor and come back in an hour. However, remember that providing free food instead of hand feeding will slow the socialization and bonding.
Provided by Dr. Rolan Tripp of The Animal Behavior Network. Visit www.animalbehavior.net for more information.