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Your Cat's First Month at Home

Your Cat's First Month at Home

After a few days in your home, your cat will likely start settling into new surroundings. It's time to start thinking about long-term care and making sure you're prepared for a long, happy life together. Here are some basics to get you started in the first month.

The right bedding for beauty sleep. Cats can sleep up to 18 hours a day, so creating the right conditions for your new cat is important.

  • Make sure bedding is soft and washable, and place it inside a basket, small box, cozy corner or a particularly ideal sunny spot of the house
  • Beware of letting your cat sleep with you. Remember that cats tend to be nocturnal, which may disrupt your sleep. If late night antics wake you up, gently put your cat on the floor. Don't reward a disruption with attention or you're inviting your cat to wake you up over and over

Typical toys. Good toys for cats are easy to find and widely available at pet specialty stores. Ask your veterinarian for specific recommendations to help determine the best toys for your specific cat.

Safe on the go. Cat carriers are the safest, most comfortable way to travel. Before hitting the road, take time to familiarize your cat with the carrier by storing toys in it or making it a cozy place for a nap inside your home.

Proper identification. Always have an ID tag and proper registration information attached to your cat's collar (rabies, license, etc.). A collar should fit with some slack but not so loose that it slips over your cat's head. Allow two finger-widths of space between the neck and collar.

Laws of the litter box. For single cat homes, you need at least two litter boxes for easy accessibility - one for each floor of your home. A home with multiple cats requires one more litter box than the total number of cats. The litter box should be at least 1½ times the length of your cat and once placed shouldn't be moved to different locations. Please note that not all cats like litter box covers or liners.

  • Make sure the litter box is in an easy-to-find, quiet place away from high-traffic areas of the house where other pets or people won't likely disrupt your cat's routine
  • Litter boxes should be placed in different locations in the house, not in the same room
  • Fill your cat's litter box with about an inch-and-a-half of natural clay or clumping litter. Although clay and clumping litters are preferred by cats, some cats have a preference for different litter textures. If your cat will not use clay or clumping litter, try different litters until you find one your cat prefers
  • Scoop twice daily and change litter completely every week because your cat will prefer to use a clean litter box. Consider feeding a cat food that reduces stool odor. Always wash the box with a mild detergent before refilling it with litter
  • Never touch or disrupt your cat while using the litter box
  • Contact your veterinarian if your cat goes to the bathroom outside the litter box, stays in the litter box longer than normal, or vocalizes while in the box because a medical problem might be the cause

SOURCE: Hill's Pet Nutrition "The Guide for Lifelong Health" ©2008

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