At-Home Checklist to Get Ready for a New Cat

Cat Resting
Create a comfortable resting area for your cat, and remember to reward her for using it.

Resting areas: Providing various places for your cat to rest can help keep her out of spaces that are off-limits — the kitchen counters, for example, or bookshelves. Make these designated resting areas as inviting as possible, and reward your cat with attention and treats for choosing the desired area. If your cat likes to hide, consider covered beds placed in spaces where she’s likely to feel protected, such as up high or behind a large object.

Climbing spaces: Vertical spaces, such as cat trees, cat condos or cat shelving, can help create more square footage for your cat without taking up too much floor space. In addition, vertical surface areas can provide your cat with potential escape routes or getaway spaces from children or other pets.

Scratching posts: To help prevent scratching on inappropriate surfaces, like your couch, give your cat multiple acceptable areas to scratch. Provide at least one post that’s sturdy, high and vertical to allow your cat to stretch out completely. Use coaxers around the scratching area, such as catnip, or draw her to the scratching post with toys and treats.

Other Necessities

As your new cat settles in, there are a few final things to consider.

Crate: Your cat needs a portable kennel for any travel, including veterinary visits. Opt for one with a removable top and at least two exits. Train your feline to enjoy her crate space.

Toys: Playtime helps your cat release energy and bond with you and your other cats. Offer your cat both toys with which she can play on her own (including motorized versions) and interactive toys, like the feather and wand type, that she can enjoy with you.

Personal space: Your cat needs an area where she can hang out safely when you’re not around to supervise her. This space should include all of your cat’s essentials, including food, water and a litterbox, and should be free from any hidden hazards, like small items on the floor or exposed cords.

Safe outdoor access: I’m in favor of allowing cats to experience the outdoors, but only in a protected space, such as an enclosed patio, cat enclosure, cat-safe fence or on a kitty harness and leash. Or, you can bring the outdoors inside for your cat by creating an indoor garden of cat-safe grasses and plants on which your feline is allowed to chew.

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