Thoughts on bringing home a cat

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BEFORE bringing a new cat into your home you should remember that your responsibility should be primarily for the cat or cats already in your care.

Think hard before asking a very elderly cat to put up with a new companion. Kittens may be accepted better than an adult cat, but kittens often pounce on and pester old cats. Some old cats will mother a kitten; others (like my eight-year-old) definitely won’t! A very energetic kitten can make an old cat’s life a misery.

It can take months and months for harmony and sometimes the cats will never be friends. An introduction takes at least a month – don’t hurry it. The slower you do it, the more likely it will work out OK. Cats which are used to a multi-cat household will be less upset than a cat which has lived alone. Get a kitten from a cat shelter which will promise to take it back if the introduction really doesn’t work out. A male and female mix is probably better than all female.

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Be careful about accepting the local stray into your home. Ask yourself if an existing cat should have to put up with a former stray, who may bully her/him. Also think about checking for FIV, the cats Aids equivalent. In the case of a stray, you can feed it, then when it is tame enough find it a new home.

Next week I, with the help of Celia Haddon, shall be looking at tips to make a cat feel at home and be accepted by already resident feline friends.

 


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