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Cat Behavior

Bringing Your New Cat Home

Think about it: Your new cat may have been abandoned or surrendered by a previous family. The cat or kitten had to adjust to the shelter and now is going home to a new, unfamiliar place with strangers. Kind of scary if you think about it! Being gentle, considerate, kind and patient will help ease your friend into his new family.

“I am scared”

Your cat might be afraid and unsure of his new surroundings. It is completely normal for a cat to hide out for the first couple days or even weeks. It is best to put your cat in a small private room to start, instead of giving him access to the entire house. Be sure to have his food, water, and litter box close by.

Establish a routine!

Routine is important for cats; they want to know what to expect. Establish a routine for feeding, litter box duty, play time and grooming. Make sure these duties are performed on a consistent schedule.

Expect mistakes

Your cat had a completely different routine before he met you. He may have used a different litter, eaten a different food and had another set of rules. A new routine will take some time for him to adjust to; please be patient. Keeping him in a small private area to start will help him with his new routine. If you need help, call our Behavior Helpline at 954. 266.6851

Things can get touchy!

Many cats are uncomfortable being picked up and held, but will sit in your lap happily for hours. Some like to cuddle right beside you. Let your kitty do what’s most comfortable for him. Petting and cuddling are important, but don’t overwhelm your cat with too much attention. Respect your cat’s need for rest and privacy.

How long will all this take?

Allow your cat or kitten several weeks to adapt to his new surroundings and up to 4 months to fully adjust (adult cats may take longer than kittens). Adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment. We assume that you will make a patient and concerted effort to achieve a successful placement.

Call and ask!

If you have any concerns or problems regarding your animal’s health or behavior, please don’t hesitate to call us at 954.266.6851. You can also checkout our behavior handouts from our behavior and training page.

Don’t Declaw. There are Alternatives!

We can help that “scratching cat”

Every year, thousands of cats suffer the painful and humiliating experience of being declawed. People hastily declaw cats hoping to protect their furniture, as well as themselves, from potential scratches.

It is natural for a cat to scratch, but with a little human effort you can direct that energy so that you, your cat and your furniture can comfortably live together.

Cats claw for several reasons:

  • to stretch their spines and muscles
  • to exercise
  • to shed old claw tissues
  • to sharpen claws
  • to alleviate boredom
  • to mark territory

In addition, scratching offers psychological comfort through its rhythmic action and the reassurance of self-defense by the contraction of the claws.

The consequences of declawing are often pathetic. Changes in behavior can occur. A declawed cat frequently resorts to biting when confronted with even minor threats. Biting becomes an overcompensation for the insecurity of having no claws. Bungled surgery can result in the regrowth of deformed claws or in an infection leading to gangrene. Balance is affected by the inability to grasp with their claws. Chronic physical ailments such as cystitis or skin disorders can be manifestations of a declawed cat’s frustration and stress. A declawed cat may also quit using its litter box. This can happen soon after declawing or years later.

Remember, it is always important to have an alternative scratching area for your cat. When your cat is caught scratching the furniture, chastise using the suggestion in alternative #5 and then place the cat’s paws on the alternative scratching post or board.

Scratches to humans can be avoided by always handling cats gently and respectfully and leaving them alone when necessary.

Home furnishings are expensive but a cat’s well-being is priceless. Your cat should trust you and depend upon you for protection. Don’t betray that trust by declawing your cat.

Six Simple Alternatives to Declawing

  1. A tall, heavy sisal scratching post sprinkled occasionally with catnip is the favored alternative. You may want to try using an old tree stump, as some cats like to scratch on wood. A good idea is to use a wide variety of scratching posts in order to provide your cat with several alternatives. Place posts near any object the cat is scratching inappropriately.

  2. When selecting furniture, a closely woven fabric is the best. Cats find it difficult to pierce with their claws.

  3. Covering favorite scratching areas with clear plastic or double-faced tape discourages clawing. Some cats will not bother furniture protected by a cover throw.

  4. If accustomed to the procedure, cats will tolerate having their claws clipped regularly. Consult your veterinarian for instructions.

  5. Interrupt the undesired behavior with a loud clap of your hands. Then show your cat the right place to scratch and praise him/her for doing so.

  6. The addition of a second cat often relieves boredom and helps to eliminate intentionally destructive behavior.