Cats in Distress

Bringing Your Cat Home

From the moment you arrive home, we want you and your cat to have many happy years together. Even if you’ve had a cat before, please take a moment to read through this section containing information which we hope you’ll find useful. 

Keep your cat in a confined area with doors closed until they have settled in.

Have a litter tray ready in a private corner before you let them out of the carrier. Keep their bed, water, and feeding bowl away from draughts so that they can begin to recognise,  ‘This is my home and a safe place to be’.

Close bedroom doors because a timid cat will initially want to hide under a bed, behind kitchen units, or some other dark, secretive place.

Be aware of windows and please keep them secured! Your cat needs to be kept indoors for at least four weeks (kittens much longer).

On arrival, let the kitten inspect their new home.

Show them their litter tray, water and bed, and stay with them, keeping their attention until they settle.

Don’t leave them on their own. Offer your kitten a little food and generally keep an eye on them until they tire and go to sleep.

Don’t let anybody pull them around; your kitten has senses and emotions and is a living creature, not a toy!

Your kitten might be frightened and distressed after leaving its mum and siblings, so lots of gentle cuddles and tender loving care are needed.

Give your kitten a cuddly toy to snuggle up to at night and make sure they are warm. Playing before bedtime will ensure a better night for your kitten.

The fosterer will have discussed with you the food your cat or kitten has been receiving. It’s important not to change a cat or kitten’s diet suddenly.

If you choose another diet, it is important that the new food is mixed in gradually. Any sudden change in diet can cause diarrhoea which puts your cat or kitten at risk of dehydration.

Dehydration is extremely dangerous, especially in a small animal, and may require veterinary treatment. ​

IMPORTANT Please ensure fresh water is always available.

(Unlike dogs and humans,) cats are ‘obligate carnivores’ and require a diet based on meat protein. The majority of animals in our care are fed Royal Canin dried food, a nutritionally balanced complete food, this is our preferred brand for dry food.

Twice a day, based on their weight, feed your cat the required amount of dried food. Other brands available which we also use are

  • James Wellbeloved
  • Hills.

Morning and evening, feed your cat a small amount of wet food, this can also be used as a training aid, for encouraging your cat to come in at night for instance.

We don’t recommend a diet consisting of just wet food, it can stick to your cat’s teeth and could eventually cause dental problems. Likewise, a diet based solely on cheaper dry kibble could cause kidney problems in later life.  

If you choose to give small pieces of cooked meat or fish please check for bones.

Up until six months of age, your kitten needs a complete, balanced diet, formulated for kittens.

Your kitten can be fed continuously, or four times a day.

As your kitten grows, their appetite will increase so, if they cry, asking for more, give more.  Kittens will not overfeed themselves – they will go back to their food as required but, if you choose to feed wet or fresh food, do not leave it down for long, especially in a warm room, due to spoilage.

NEVER give cow’s milk to cats or kittens.

They may love the taste but cannot digest it and the lactose sugar ferments painfully in their tummies, even causing diarrhoea.

Just like us, cats and kittens like their ‘toilet’, or litter tray, to be out of the way of people, intrusions and noise; somewhere with a degree of privacy! 

While at first, their food and water need to be close by, to avoid contamination please place the litter tray carefully. Litter needs to be regularly replaced and the tray and scoop sterilised. 

Please ensure that any disinfectant products you use are allowed to dry thoroughly, otherwise they may pose a risk to your cat.

You must not let your cat outside for at least four weeks, kittens even longer.

Your cat needs to have worked out their home territory, by scent and by creating a mental map influenced by the sun and stars. This must be ‘imprinted’ or your cat will simply become lost again.

However much they may ask to be let out, the answer must be ‘No’! ​After four weeks, your adult cat can be let out. Do it at a time when you are going to be around for a while and before they’ve been fed. This will encourage your cat not to venture too far at first.

Don’t carry your cat outside!

Let them explore by themselves. If they don’t, they won’t be able to scent their territory (with their cheeks and paw pads) making it familiar to themselves.

Give them plenty of time.

We always recommend keeping your cat inside after dark. More bad things happen to cats at during the hours of darkness!

Don’t forget to register your new pet with your local vet.

Although your cat will have seen our vets, it’s always a good idea to register your new pet with your local vet, so they can get to know each other.

Your vet will want to see the medical card so remember to take it with you to the first appointment.

If you intend to put a collar on your cat please ensure that it has a quick-release safety buckle, to avoid injury, this will release immediately if the collar becomes caught on something or twisted on the cat.

A small tag needs to carry your phone number/address or possibly that of your vet.

Please remember that all our cats and kittens are microchipped, which means that any vet or animal charity can scan them to identify them.

Remember: The microchip contact details you gave us at the time of adoption are logged and are the only means of contacting you.

If you move house or change phone number, it is it is essential that you inform the microchip company, otherwise they simply cannot contact you if your pet is lost and found.

We love cats, we love to surround ourselves in cats, and some cats cope well in multi-cat households.

A bit of planning before bringing home your new cat to meet the rest of the gang will help everyone to adjust.

Initially give your new cat plenty of time to become accustomed to the routines of the new home and the people that live within it, and to allow your new cat’s scent to become part of its room.

Depending on the cat, this acclimatisation period could vary from several hours, days or a week or two.

Scent Swapping

Once the cat is fully comfortable in its own part of the home, it is time to begin the process of introducing the cats to one another. Start by gradually introducing the scent of the other cat to each cat (without actually physically meeting).

This is essential, as cats use the scent of individual cats to recognise whether they are in the same social group by creating a communal scent.

If the cats show no adverse signs to the smell of one another on the bedding (and on the rubbed areas) then, as an additional step, the resident cat could be briefly confined (for example, during the night the resident cat could be confirmed to the owner’s bedroom) to allow the new cat to inspect the resident cat’s area of the home.

The cats should only be allowed to see one another once they are fully relaxed in the home in general and when encountering the scent of the other cat.

Being able to see each other should happen through a physical barrier.

The next stage is to allow physical but supervised access, eventually leading to total unsupervised access at all times. Depending on the cats involved this process can take a few days, weeks, or sometimes even months.

This is a very brief outline and some cats will never be happy or comfortable living alongside other cats.

But if they have enough space to co-exist without having to be in close proximity with each other, most will reach a happy compromise.

It’s a fact cats get parasites. Very unwelcome on your pet and, in the case of fleas they can be difficult to get rid of in your home. But, most importantly, they can be life threatening for your pet. The ONLY way to avoid parasites is to regularly treat your pets. If you’re concerned about parasites, please consult your vet.

Worming

Regular worming is an essential part of responsible pet ownership. Unless you are routinely using an effective de-wormer, your cat will almost certainly be infected by this parasite, especially if they are regularly hunting. Even if your cat is not showing any obvious signs of a worm infestation, it could be suffering health problems, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss, dull coat and lack of energy. ​We recommend a spot-on worming treatment such as Dronspot. Regular worming is vital for your cat’s good health.

Fleas

The cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is visible to the naked eye, about 2-4mm long, brown and flattened from side to side. They can jump but tend to run through the fur. Owners often notice flea droppings as black, gritty dust in the fur which, if rubbed or dropped on to wet kitchen paper, will mark the paper red due to the blood content. Not only are fleas upsetting to owners, they often cause severe problems in cats. Their movement and biting causes itching and scratching. The most common flea-related problem we see in cats is due to an allergy to flea saliva which leads to flea allergic dermatitis (FAD).  A single bite can induce a severe reaction in affected cats. They can show severe scratching leading to self-trauma, scabbing skin, baldness and wet eczema-type reactions. Flea infestations should not to be ignored. Kittens in particular can quickly become anaemic and die from serious flea infestations.

Never use a dog product on a cat it could be fatal. 

Some cats live indoors due age or illness; some people prefer to keep their cats indoors because of lifestyle, living conditions or because they are frightened for their cat’s safety.

Either way, to avoid problems it’s important to ensure your cat is given plenty of enrichment and stimulation. While cats can live very happily indoors, if you have an outdoor space you might want to consider building a catio.

What’s a Catio?

A catio is a safe outdoor environment accessed by your cat directly from the house. It gives them the freedom to be outdoors, while keeping them safe. Whether you build a catio or not, as a pet owner you MUST be able to satisfy their normal behavioural needs. 

The main problem faced by the indoor cat is the lack of opportunities to display normal behaviour. Most cats are natural hunters and if they can’t go out they may be frustrated and develop behaviour which mimics this activity.

If you want to keep an indoor cat content, you’ll have to be creative and provide new toys and games to keep your cat stimulated and exercised, physically and mentally.  Kittens and cats love newspaper tents, cardboard boxes and paper bags, not to mention cat play centres, fishing rod toys, laser pointers, etc., which encourage stalking and pouncing. ​

Cats may develop behaviour problems if they’re stressed by the lack of opportunity to express these normal behaviours. They also have the problem of being unable to escape from a stressful situation or another cat which they find difficult to deal with.

Because the cat’s whole world may be made up of a couple of rooms in a flat which it knows inside out, it can become hypersensitive to change. Human or animal visitors, or even changes in household routine can introduce a potentially huge change to the cat’s day-to-day environment, and can therefore cause stress.

Indoor cats, especially when young, are likely to have quite an impact on your furniture and fittings. Try not to be too house-proud about the ensuing damage.

Prevent rather than regret – move all the ornaments and imagine that you have a toddler that can fly! Provide places where cats can have a ‘free-for-all’. Your cat will need to act out its natural behaviour, such as sharpening its claws, within your home.

Outdoor cats usually use a tree or garden post. An indoor cat must be provided with a good scratch post and even with this it is likely to use the furniture occasionally too. 

Invest in some good nail clippers as your cat’s claws may not wear down as quickly as they would if it went outside and walked on hard surfaces. Long claws can become snagged in carpets and upholstery. ​

Diet

Don’t forget to monitor your cat’s food intake. Lack of exercise and boredom can mean your cat putting on excess weight. ​

A cat that goes outdoors will nibble grass and herbs as part of its diet. It is believed that eating vegetation helps cats to regurgitate hairballs. You can meet this need by providing the cat with an indoor window box.

Grass, catnip (Nepeta), thyme, sage and parsley can all be sown indoors in a potting compost. Sow seeds every couple of weeks to provide a fresh supply for your cat. This information is very basic, there is a wealth of knowledge available to help keep your indoor cat happy and healthy.

Now everyone is facing increased costs, insurance is an even more important part of responsible pet ownership than ever before

Sadly, we are regularly contacted by owners, whose pet has become ill or had an accident and can’t afford the unexpected vet fees. This is why it is important to us to provide insurance to our adopters.

We researched the pet insurance market and we were mostly left baffled and bewildered. However, there was one company that stood out for all the right reasons and ticked all the boxes for us.

We’re therefore delighted to be an Agria Pet Insurance partner and to be able to provide five weeks’ free insurance with all our adopted cats, no matter how old they are.

Agria specialise in pet insurance, they don’t do anything else, and like us, they like to do things a little differently.

Once you adopt a rescue cat from us, you don’t need to do a thing – we activate the insurance and you’re covered. Most insurance companies have a maximum age limit and this can be a problem with older cats. Agria is different.

If you wish to continue after the free five-week period of cover, Agria will offer to insure your cat no matter how old it is.

We are not here to sell insurance. There are many providers of pet insurance. Please look at all the different options and choose the best one for you and your cat.  

We hope that this information has helped you with any initial questions you may have.

Be aware that in the early days of your cat’s/kitten’s arrival they might be stressed. This may lead to minor symptoms such as sniffles, runny eyes, or diarrhoea which, providing your cat is otherwise active and healthy, may be of no consequence in the short term.

But if symptoms persist over more than two or three days or your cat/kitten stops eating and becomes lethargic, then don’t hesitate to contact your local vet immediately.