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Rehoming An Adult Cat

Updated on August 21, 2015

There are many different reasons why a family, couple or a single person may choose to rehome an adult cat rather than selecting a kitten. Many people prefer an adult cat that is calmer, litter trained and also not as prone to the sometimes destructive behaviours that can be an issue with a kitten.

Bringing home an adult cat that has been in a shelter or rescue is a very rewarding experience provided you do some advanced work. It is never a good idea to do this on a whim, instead take your time and make sure it is the right decision for you, your family and most importantly for the cat.

To ensure that your first few days are easy there are some advance issues that you need to consider and address. These include knowing all you can about the cat, preparing your home, and providing the right experience for the cat for the first few days until he or she is settled in.

Questions to Ask

Asking questions of the shelter staff is always a simple step to consider before you select an adult cat. This will help you to understand how the cat will fit in your home and family and if he or she is the right match.

Questions to ask include:

  • What vet routine procedures have been completed and what will I be responsible for after bringing the cat home?
  • Is the cat spayed or neutered?
  • Are there any known health or dietary issues with the cat?
  • What is the cat’s age or estimated age?
  • How is the cat with dogs/children/other pets/new people/other cats?
  • Is the cat litter box trained?
  • What type of food is the cat currently on?

With answers to these questions you can then begin to prepare your home. For an adult cat this is much less work than for a mischievous kitten or a juvenile cat.

Preparing the Home

It is going to be a big change for an adult cat moving from the small confines of a cage in a shelter to your home. Ideally choose one room to allow the cat to adjust and then, based on his or her comfort level, allow them greater access to other rooms of the residence.

In the room you select for your cat include a bedding area, water and food dishes, some cat toys and the litter box. You may also want to provide a comfortable area for yourself and your family to spend time getting acquainted with your new addition to the family.

Remove all plants, electrical cords, hanging fabrics, curtain or blind pulls or other items that may be very appealing to a cat to play with. You can gradually introduce these things into the room once the cat has adjusted to your home and see if the cat bothers them or simply ignores these potential temptations.

The Best Experience

Start your rehomed cat out on the same food he or she was eating at the shelter to avoid any digestive problems. You can gradually switch to a brand and type of your choice in the new few weeks.

Spend time with your cat on his or her terms. Remember this is a new experience and the cat may have had very unpleasant experiences with humans before getting to the safety of the rescue. Allow the cat to come to you and avoid holding or trying to force the cat to be petted or groomed at this time.

Keep your new cat separate from current family pets, including other cats, and always monitor children’s interactions with the cat until you are comfortable with the relationship. Once the cat is relaxed in his or her new space you can then start the introductions and expand the cat’s territory in your home in a positive way.

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