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Adopting an adult cat: tips and best practices

Unlike a kitten who has only known his mother and who has everything to learn, an adult cat has a life experience that must be taken into account when preparing his arrival. Explanations and advice.

Adopting an adult cat: advantages

Attracted by their cute faces, many adopters turn to a kitten or a young cat. However, adopting an adult cat has the advantage of being more relaxing because the feline is less turbulent and its daily life is already punctuated by phases of rest, meals and play. His character is forged, so you will know right away if he is calm, active, cuddly, fearful... The only possible disadvantage is his past (mistreated, lost...) that you do not always know and that can make his adaptation longer than that of a kitten. But rescuing an adult is a source of unparalleled happiness.

Choosing an adult cat in a shelter

It's a great initiative to offer a second chance to an adult cat. When you visit the cattery, trust your instincts and if your attention is drawn to a resident, see how he reacts: Does he approach you easily? Does it let you pet it? His behavior gives clues about his character. To confirm your choice, ask the shelter's staff to tell you if the animal can adapt to your lifestyle: the presence of young children, a garden, other animals... Depending on the reasons for the abandonment (moving, death of the owner...), you can obtain information on the animal's background (age, health, understanding, habits)... By combining your desires with the staff's advice, you will meet the animal that suits you.

Preparing for the arrival of an adult cat

To help the hairball acclimatize, you'll need to provide it with a space conducive to its well-being. The cat is indeed a territorial animal whose domain is generally divided into four zones with distinct functions:
  • Play. The choice of the living room - where the family often gathers - is ideal to install its toys: balls, mice, scratching post, cat tree, corks or other bits of string;
  • Meals. Provide bowls for fresh water and food that are easy to clean. Put them on the kitchen floor or at a height accessible to the animal;
  • Natural needs. A regularly cleaned litter box should be placed in a quiet (away from traffic and noise) and well-ventilated area, such as a balcony or bathroom;
  • Sleep. Even if cats sleep wherever they want, choose a strategic and cozy place (near a radiator, for example), without any passage or draught, to set up his basket.

Provide other basic accessories

In addition to the equipment mentioned above, you will need additional accessories such as
  • A transport box for travel;
  • Toys to develop its physical and mental capacities;
  • Litter and a scoop;
  • A blanket to protect your couch or bed from its hair;
  • Hygiene products (nail clippers, brushes or grooming gloves, shampoos);
  • Possibly soothing pheromones or essential oil blends that will make it easier for her to adapt to her new home.

Let the adult cat acclimatize

When you arrive home, open the carrier and let the cat grow naturally, at its own pace. Respect its behavior and don't force it to do anything; it will come out when it feels ready. Little by little, it will start to find its feet by exploring every corner. With a soft voice, indicate to him the zones which are reserved to him: basket, litter box, bowls, toys... When he will have discovered his territory, let him come to you. Do not hesitate to caress him. If he is afraid, let him hide in the place of his choice, he will eventually come out to eat or go to his litter box. Be patient, play with him when he wants to and let him sleep when he wants to. If you have a yard, don't give him access to it. When he gets used to the inside (allow a month), you can allow him to go outside. For the food, ask the shelter to plan a gradual transition with the food you have chosen for him.

Introducing the new cat to a fellow cat

If you already have a cat, it will naturally have the status of leader and may consider the newcomer as a threat (for its resources: food, cuddles, games ...). Don't panic if they growl, spit or paw at each other. Try to intervene as little as possible and do not take sides with the second cat. If things get really heated, it's best to isolate the newcomer in a room of the house, surrounding him with all his accessories (bowls, games, basket, litter box). This will allow the two felines to get to know each other through the door. When you feel they are ready to live together, bring them together. It may take days or even weeks for them to get used to each other. If they don't play together, it doesn't matter, the important thing is that they agree to live under the same roof, even if they don't care.

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