As far as litter suggestions go – I recommend Precious Cat litter and Nature’s Miracle litter (both can be purchased at Petsmart). Both of these really help with odor control! If you are very worried about smell, I’ve found that adding in some wheat (like Swheat Scoop) or pecan (by Blue) liiter to the clumping litter works wonders! And you just have to mix in a scoop or two with clumping litter to get the odor control benefit.
In regard to litter boxes, we only use open boxes in our foster homes – after I had a cat “tell” me that he didn’t like the hooded box in my bedroom by almost peeing on my head (NOT a good way to wake up! lol!), I learned quickly to only use open boxes! You could try an automatic litter box, but I’ve heard some not so good things about them – they are very expensive and break down easily. And I’ve known some cats to be scared of them – which means the cat will not use the box. If you want to see if the cat will use a hooded or automatic box, my suggestion is to have at least two boxes – one open and one hooded or automatic. That way you can see what kind of box the cat prefers to use – and you won’t have any problems.
A good rule of thumb for litter boxes – the number of boxes should equal the number of cats, plus one. Some cats like to pee in one box, poop in another. So multiple boxes is always a good idea!
I also have recommendations about food and water bowls. Please only use glass, ceramic or metal bowls. Plastic bowls can easily become infested with bacteria – no matter how much they are cleaned – and this can result in feline acne. This condition looks like black specks on the chin and around the mouth. It can be very uncomfortable for cats and can even result in a worse infection if not treated in a timely manner. It’s just easier to use non-plastic dishes!
With breed cats it’s very important that they have a really good food – because of the health issues that the breed may be predisposed to, to help maintain coat condition, and to help maintain weight (among other things).
Many purebred cats can be more prone to environmental allergies – if you feed a food that is made from human grade meat, it helps make an overall healthier cat, which in turn helps the cat deal with allergens better. Thus reducing the cat’s allergies.
In addition, some purebred cats have food sensitivities or allergies – and the premium foods do not contain the grains and additives that most cats have problems with. Corn is a BIG problem for many cats – and, unfortunately, most of the commercially available cat foods (including Friskies, Meow Mix, Iams, Purina, Science Diet) are very, very high in corn.
Feeding a premium cat food also helps maintain coat condition – which is very important for a longer haired cat. We feed premium foods and all of our cats have shiny, soft, silky coats with minimal shedding and matting.
For flat faced cats specifically, I have noticed that once the cats start eating the better quality food, their eye and nasal discharge decrease dramatically.
Premium cat foods also help put muscle weight on cats – versus fat weight. The other advantage is that the cats eat less food and there is less waste elimination. And yet another advantage is that these foods are “all ages”, meaning kittens through seniors can eat the same food without problems – so you don’t have to change foods as your cat ages. A third plus is that the cat eats less because it gets the nutritional requirements it needs from a smaller amount of food (instead of food full of “fillers”) and, therefore, puts out less waste. Less clean up is always good!
We recommend that our adopters feed Orijen, Wellness/Wellness CORE, or another premium grain free food.
At the rescue “center” we feed Orijen (cat & kitten) kibble and Wellness (chicken or turkey) canned.
What Every Cat Owner Should Know About the Prevention Of Litter Box Problems
- The rule of thumb for the number of litterboxes is: one per cat in the household, plus one. Extra litter boxes are necessary because some cats like to defecate in one and urinate in another. Others will not use a box that has already been used by another cat. Different areas for the litter boxes can prevent location-avoidance problems.
- Clean the litter boxes DAILY. The single most common reason for a cat’s refusal to use a litter box is because the box is dirty. Non-clumping litter should be scooped daily and the litter box emptied and washed every other day. Clumping litter should also be scooped daily and the litter box washed weekly. (Bacteria left in the litter box will smell to the cat even if you can’t smell it.)
- Choose a litter that appeals to the cat. Most cats prefer the texture of the sand-like scooping litters. Be sure to select a brand that clumps into a firm ball, making scooping easier and cleaner. (Precious Cat is excellent.) As a health precaution for kittens that might be prone to ingest the litter, use a non-clumping litter until the kitten is over four months of age.
- NEVER use scented litter. Perfumed, chemical scents repel cats.
- Also covered, or hooded litter boxes can be offensive to cats as they do not satisfy the cat’s need for escape potential when eliminating. They also trap the odor inside, creating an “outhouse effect”. In addition, many cats do NOT like automatic litter boxes; they may be scared of the automation and then not use the box.
- Place litter boxes in quiet, private places that are easily accessible to the cat and where it will not be disturbed by children or ambushed by other pets. Noisy areas near washing machines, furnaces, or under stairs, may frighten the cat away from the box. A house with several stories should have a minimum of one litter box on each floor. NEVER place litter boxes near food and water dishes.
- While kittens have an innate predisposition to use an easily raked substrate as their litter, they may also choose other, more convenient, locations. You should limit their territory until they learn that the litter box is the only acceptable place to eliminate. Praise and rewards will speed up the learning process. Like small children, they should not be expected to travel very far to find their toilet areas.
- When introducing a new cat into the home, confine the cat to one room with its litter box, bed, food and water, until the cat has used the litter box several times and shows an interest in exploring the rest of the house.
- Help your cat feel comfortable in his home territory. Play games with him, give him a massage, talk to him frequently. Give him positive and affectionate attention. A confident, secure, contented and relaxed cat does not need to relieve anxiety and stress by such extreme measures as urine or fecal marking.
What Every Cat Owner Should Know About the Solution of Litter box Problems
- Have your cat examined by a veterinarian for a physical problem even if there are no obvious symptoms. (Some problems can only be diagnosed through testing). Be sure to mention Kitty’s urination and defecation habits. If a cat’s elimination is painful, it may associate the litter box with pain and choose to eliminate elsewhere. When the cat is healthy again, a careful reintroduction to the box will be necessary.
- Carefully check the 10 steps for preventing litter box problems mentioned previously. Perhaps the solution is as easy as adding more litter boxes, cleaning more frequently, or changing the brand of litter. Try to accommodate Kitty’s preferences for litterbox location (by placing litterboxes where the “accidents” occurred) and litter box substrate whenever possible. Special consideration should be given to declawed cats as paw sensitivity may be the cause for litter box avoidance and kitty may require a box or tray without litter.
- Never punish the cat for eliminating outside of its litter box. House soiling occurs when the litter box, its contents, or its location is offensive to the cat or when the cat is stressed by the environment. Punishment only increases the cat’s stress. HOUSE SOILING IS NEVER DONE TO SPITE THE OWNER.
- If a health issue or aversion to the litter box can be ruled out, consider that the problem could be anxiety-related. Has there been a change in the household? Any intrusion on the cat’s territory, whether human, animal, or even a new piece of furniture, can cause a cat to feel threatened, insecure, and stressed. This may result in his need to mark his territory. This is usually accomplished by spraying urine on vertical surfaces, or less frequently, by squatting and urinating or defecating on horizontal surfaces. The more cats in the household, the more likely that one or more of them will spray.
- Try to relieve or eliminate the source of the cat’s anxiety. (For example, pull the drapes so that Kitty cannot view the antics of the tom cat next door.) If the environmental cause that triggers the territorial behavior cannot be identified or eliminated, consult with an experienced feline behavior counselor.
- Whatever the cause for the inappropriate elimination, a brief confinement period may be necessary in order to clean the soiled areas, place deterrents in these spots, and to purchase more litterboxes or new litter. The confinement room should be comfortable and equipped with two litter boxes, fresh food and water (not near the litter boxes!) and a bed and toys. Visit Kitty regularly, but don’t let him out until the home environment has been cleaned and the litterbox situation has been improved.
- In order to thoroughly clean the urine-soaked areas, an ultraviolet light may be used to identify the problem spots and a strong enzymatic cleaner should be used to saturate and neutralize the affected areas.
- To repel kitty from previously soiled areas, cover them with solid air fresheners (preferably a citrus scent) or a mini-motion detector. When the carpet is dry, a vinyl carpet runner (spike side up!) can be placed over the problem areas. Cats are very location-oriented so deterrents should be left in place for at least six weeks after kitty has been using the litter box regularly to make sure that old habits have been broken.
Solving house soiling problems is possible–with patience, persistence, and a systematic plan for retraining.
This is written in an effort to help both you and your adopted cat make an easier transition. It helps to remember that cats in general are very cautious creatures. Our homes are their territory and they become very comfortable with their surroundings and the creatures (us) they have to share their territory with.
To give yourself an idea of how they feel, imagine yourself as a child, in your home, living your life, not expecting anything to change, and suddenly, you’re kidnapped, put in a cage, driven off and inserted into a home with a family that is completely unknown to you. You are in a completely new place, with new customs with new people that you do not know. This is how a cat feels when they are re-homed with a new family. They weren’t expecting it, they didn’t do anything to deserve it, and it is a shocking, upsetting experience. The upheaval frightens them so they will be on full alert (fight or flight) when they arrive at your home.
Preparing for the arrival of your Cat
Before you get your cat, have a room prepared just for the cat; fixing it up with a litter box, food and water bowls, toys, ect. The cat will be kept in this room for a minimum of 1-2 weeks. It really helps lower the stress and stimulation level when you put your cat in a quiet room to give them a smaller space to deal with. A spare bedroom, office, or any quiet room is appropriate.
When they first arrive
Do not touch her or attempt to touch the cat when you first bring it home. Just take the carrier and a towel to “his/her” room and set it down in a protected area. Open the door gently and let the cat come out of the carrier as s/he feels comfortable in doing do.
Try to realize that his/her whole world has been turned upside down and his/her only way of reacting is to show how “unhappy” s/he is by hiding, growling, hissing or crying. Until the cat knows that you are his/her friend and trusts you, s/he will be relying purely on instinct. You must expect the cat not to interact with you very much at first. Please remember that cats do not take change well at all. S/he will be testing her new surroundings, smelling the new smells, getting used to all the new sounds s/he isn’t used to hearing.
When you visit the cat, give him/her lots of space and don’t try to touch or pet it at this point. Some may take minutes and some may take days and some even weeks to months. Do not attempt to pet or touch or approach your cat until s/he comes to you and rubs on you; this is the signal that s/he is ready to open up a dialog with you and maybe even be friends if you are respectful enough! Let the cat signal to YOU that s/he wants to interact.
Helping things along in any way you can will be appreciated by your cat and also reward you with feline interaction a lot sooner than if you did nothing. The most direct route to a cat’s heart is through the stomach. While you may not plan to feed canned food on a regular basis, the first few weeks of acquaintance are very important. You want your cat to look forward to interacting with you and you want her to associate your presence with positive feelings. Be prepared to BRIBE your way into the cat’s heart. When you come in, always either bring a toy in with you or bring some canned food on a plate. Coming with a bowl with a tablespoon or two of yummy canned food two or three times a day will really help this. Try not to change anything for the cat during this introduction period. Don’t introduce the cat to other pets or small children for at least 1-2 weeks, and when you do, make sure the introduction is quiet and respectful, keeping the newcomers at a distance for the first few introduction periods. Do not encourage your children to “pet the kitty” yet. Let the kitty “ASK” the children for all interaction.
Ways to form a great relationship with a Cat:
Play – Wave your feather toy around enticingly and see if you can engage him/her in play. The Cat Dancer is also a fun toy for most cats and the activity helps them release stress and energy.
Food – The fastest way to a Cat’s (and Man’s) heart is food. Bring small amounts of canned food with you.
Praise and positive affection – Tell the cat what a beautiful girl/boy and what a smart cat s/he is, what fast paws and what good manners s/he has. In other words: Suck up!
THE INTRODUCTION IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR CATS TO GET ALONG FOR LIFE
When you get the cat home, don’t introduce any pets or children to your kitty right away Keep the cat apart from your human and animal family for a minimum of 1-2 weeks. Console yourself in knowing that while you’re not doing a FORMAL introduction, they are becoming familiar with each other because you are letting them smell and hear each other under the door.
When the new cat seems to have adjusted well in their room (no longer hiding, asking you for attention, interacting with you during play/feeding, ect), you can start to introduce the new cat to your resident cats. This introduction should only be done UNDER STRICT SUPERVISION!! Let the new cat out of their room for a short period of time, all the while watching the interactions between your cat and the resident cats. If any cat gets too upset, separate the cats and put the new cat back into his/her room. Give the cats a cooling down period. Let the new cat out again, and repeat the cycle! =) You gradually increase the amounts of time that the new cat is out of their room until they are out all the time. This process can take several weeks to several months; the time line is determined by how fast all cats involved adjust!!
You can help the cats like each other more quickly through play and food. When the new cat is out exploring, use interactive toys with the cats – feather wand, Cat Dancer, laser point, ect. Give all cats catnip, treats, or canned food. The resident cats will eventually start to associate the new cat with “good” things; and will start looking forward to the new cat coming out of the room!
The key to successful cat-dog introductions is to expose them to one another gradually under controlled conditions. You want to avoid creating situations where the cat runs away and the dog’s prey-chase instinct is activated. If you have an adult dog who has never been socialized to cats, the introduction should be a very gradual process lasting up to 30 days. Your focus should be on controlling the dog during the introduction period. Keep the dog on a leash for the first several meetings in order to maintain control.
Growling, hissing, swatting – all are NORMAL and to be expected. Make sure all cats’ claws are trimmed to minimize any potential of damage!
Introducing children to your new cat is something that doesn’t need to be done immediately. I realize that the kids are going to be very excited about the new kitty and anxious to see and touch it. Please don’t overwhelm your new cat with introductions right off. Let the cat FIRST get acquainted with its surroundings and one or two quiet adults. This can take up to 1-2 weeks, but you will be able to tell by the cat’s body language when it is relaxed enough to handle a new introduction.
Before bringing ONE (never multiple children) child into the cat’s room, make sure you have explained the ground rules and be very careful to enforce the ground rules.
The ground rules:
- We do not pet the kitty yet; we want the kitty to ask you to pet him/her. When the kitty comes to you and rubs on you, s/he is asking you to pet him/her.
- Be very quiet around the kitty. Do not make any loud noises or else you will scare itr. If you are quiet, the kitty will come to you sooner.
- When you visit with the kitty, you have to be sitting still on your bottom.
- Do not walk up to the kitty or go get the kitty. You can only touch the kitty if the kitty comes to you and rubs on you.
- When you try to get the kitty to play, sit down on your bottom and play with the toy. If you wiggle the toy just right, the kitty will come to play with it. Wiggle the toy gently so the kitty won’t be afraid of the toy.
- Don’t pick up the kitty. (Never, ever let a child pick up your cat because most are not lap cats and most don’t like to be picked up, even by adults. Letting a child pick up and hold any cat is asking for trouble.)
- When the kitty is hiding somewhere (like under the bed, or underneath things, or behind things or in the closet) leave it alone. S/he wants some peace and quiet.
We want your new cat to associate your child with nice things, so letting your child feed the kitty is a good way to do that. When you bring your child into the room, give them a small bowl of canned food and let them set it down for the kitty to eat before seating them nearby to observe the kitty eating. Find feather toys or wand toys so that you can keep your child occupied with trying to get the cat to play. Once the cat is comfortable with your child, s/he will play and therefore associate your child’s presence with good things.
Always respect the cat’s need to get away from the children. It is a good idea to delegate a room or area as the kitty’s time out place and no children can go touch the kitty when s/he is in this time out place. Your cat will have a better relationship with your kids when s/he realizes that s/he is in control of whether they can interact with him/her or not.
Keep in mind that it is going to take several weeks to months for your adopted cat to lose the disorientation that comes with being re-homed. They are beginning a completely new life and in addition to learning the new territory, they are learning your personality and forming new attachments. Some cats only take days, some take weeks.
Fees may vary based on age, breed, and declaw status.
- Veterinary Exam $20
- FIV/FELV Testing $50
- Rabies Vaccination $10
- FVRCP Vaccination $15
- Spay $100 / Neuter $75
- Microchipping $15
- Flea/Tick Treatment $10
- Deworming (to treat any intestinal parasites) $10
- Prophylactic Coccidia Treatment $20
- Nail Trim $15
- Bath $50
- Coat Trim / Shaving $50-100
- Dental Cleaning
- Dental Extraction (Infected Teeth)
- Eye Surgery due to Eye Injuries, Cornea Sequestrum, Etc.
- Amputation Surgery for Injured Limbs or Tails
- Allergy Treatments: Food, Environmental, Etc.
- Illness: Anemia, Etc.
- Contact the breeder/rescue and ask if they will take the cat back or help you rehome the cat.
- Spay and neuter your pet if not already spayed or neutered.
- Make sure your pet is up to date on routine vaccinations (FVRCP) and you have a record of these to provide. DO NOT FIV vaccinate your pet as the cat will test positive for FIV after that.
- Make sure your pet has been FIV/FELV tested recently and you have a record of this to provide.
- Wash and groom your pet before taking pictures or showing your pet to potential adopters
- Prepare a history of your pet including veterinary history, favorite treat, what food the cat is used to eating, what litter the cat is used to using and what sort of litter box. Preparing a cat resume to give to potential adopters is a good idea. (see below)
- Screen all potential adopters. Ask about their experience grooming a cat and clipping nails. Ask how much time they are at home and what arrangements they make for a pet when they are away or ill. Ask if they have ever declawed a cat. Ask if they ever allow their cats outside. Ask to speak to their vet about their history with animals. Ask if they have ever had an animal euthanized and why. Ask if they have ever brought an animal to a shelter. Find out what other animals they have and have had and what experience they have with grooming. Find out if any people in the household have allergies. Ask if they will allow you to visit their home before you place the cat there. Ask if they have arrangements in place for someone to care for the cat should they become ill, are hospitalized, or die. Ask to speak directly to their vet to find out the vet’s experience with them and their animals, including how up to date the animals are on vaccines. how diligent they are about maintenance issues like teeth cleaning, and under what conditions they have euthanized pets, if ever.
ADVERTISING YOUR PET:
Advertise your cat and charge a nominal fee (do not offer for free as it attracts undesirable interest from those who may not value your pet)
- Place an ad in your local newspaper
- Post an ad on http://www.petfinder.com/post/classifiedhop.html
- Post a listing on Craig’s List www.craigslist.com, in your local area’s Pets section
FLYERS: make a digital and printed flyer which displays your cat’s photo and put your contact information on it.
- Ask your vet to post it in his/her office.
- Ask to see if your work would allow you to post up either in public or break areas.
- Ask to post them at the local pet stores, grooming establishments and food markets.
- Post them at your church or civic organizations.
- Post them on community bulletin boards or neighborhood apps like Nextdoor https://nextdoor.com/find-neighborhood/
- Share them with your friends and family and ask that they post or share them wherever they can.
Create a word document or use online creative software be sure to make both a printed and digital (image) version.
- Describe the appearance, size, and age of the animal.
- Describe his/her nature and appealing qualities.
- Include the pet’s name
- State that the pet is spayed or neutered.
- Define any limitations, e.g. not good with cats/small children other dogs/other cats.
- Use a good photograph. Color is best. Copy places like Kinko’s can help with these.
- Be sure to put in your phone number, and time you can be reached.
PREPARING A “CAT RESUME”:
A cat “resume” provides an opportunity to present potential adopter with a summary of your pet’s best qualities and an example of your commitment to your pet. We suggest that you include the information below in their cat resume.
Tell the potential adopter what foods your cat is used to and what litter you normally use. Provide the cat’s usual litter box, dishes, toys, scratching post, if possible, and a worn article of your clothing to place in their bedding – the familiar items and the scent of you will make the transition easier.
Provide a complete veterinary history from your veterinarian for the adopter to take to the new vet. If your cat is not spayed or neutered, please make arrangements to have spay or neuter done prior to placement in a new home.
Describe your pet’s age, activity level, and/or breed traits. Describe characteristics that make your pet suited or unsuited for living with other animals.. Tell the adopter something special about your pet’s personality, and how much you care about your pet. There can be a big difference between a 10-year-old cat and an active, inquisitive kitten. If your pet is quiet, calm and/or less active, point that out. If you have an active cat, explain how you fulfill his/her exercise requirements and what cat toys are used during play times.
Give examples of your pet’s good behavior. If your cat has lived in other homes before temporarily and is accustomed to changes, be sure to say so. If you have more than one cat or a dog, let the new home know how your cat gets along with the other animals. If your cat uses a scratching post, say so and make sure to note that your cat is litter box trained.
Explain any bathing or grooming requirements, including frequency of claw clipping and grooming, and shampoos used.
Describe any behavioral quirks, difficulties with certain situations (the vet, other animals, thunder storms, etc). The foster home needs to know what to expect for them to be a “good fit” for your cat.
In addition to your cat’s resume, you may also want to provide addresses of your cat’s usual groomer and a picture of your cat.