10 Things to Know Before You Bring in a Stray Cat - Pet Hub USA

10 Things to Know Before You Bring in a Stray Cat

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Taking in a stray cat requires more care and patience than adopting a kitten, but can result in a loving, lifelong companion if handled correctly. Doing these 10 things when bringing in a stray can make all the difference.

10. Confirm the Cat Is a Stray

Furry Tabby Cat
Photo by Berkay Nebioğlu on Pexels

Confirm the stray doesn’t have a previous owner. Try posting “lost cat” flyers in the neighborhood and on social media. Have the cat scanned for a microchip. Local laws may vary between 5-10 days of trying to locate the owner before you can obtain ownership. Contact a local animal shelter or rescue organization to complete the legal adoption process.

9. Prepare Your Home

orange and white tabby cat sitting on brown wooden table in kitchen room
Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Cat-proof your home by making sure a curious and/or anxious cat won’t cause itself harm or get into trouble. Shut doors to rooms and close windows the cat could escape from. Cats also love and need hiding spots. A cardboard box, pet crate, or designated area is important for making them feel safe.

8. Accumulate Supplies

black cat on white cat tree
Photo by Madalyn Cox on Unsplash

If you decide to parent a cat, there are several necessities you’ll need right away. At a minimum, you’ll need food and water bowls, an appropriately-sized litter box, fresh kitty litter, and food. You’ll also need a collar and/or a harness, a leash, toys, treats, a bed, and a crate.

7. Visit a Vet

Cat Getting Ears Cleaned by a Vet
Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels

Because you don’t know the stray cat’s medical history, it’s important to take it for a veterinary examination right away. Ensure that it is well and has no underlying health issues. It’s likely the cat may not cooperate, so you may need a harness and leash, as well as a crate to transport the cat to the vet.

6. Microchipping, Fleas, and Parasite Treatment

Cat at the Veterinarian
Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels

Stray cats living without a home are prone to fleas, ticks, ear mites, and other parasites. During your vet visit, the veterinarian will check for and treat these conditions. Your vet can also microchip the cat to increase the odds that, if it becomes lost again, it can be returned to you.

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5. Make Sure They’re Spayed or Neutered

a couple of stray kittens under a car
Photo by Jonathan Ansel Moy de Vitry on Unsplash

If there’s any chance at all your cat can get outdoors, you’ll want to first ensure they’re spayed or neutered. You don’t want to be surprised with a litter of kittens, nor do you want your male cat leaving an unwanted litter behind. Spaying or neutering your cat is the responsible thing to do.

4. Consider Pet Insurance 

Crop young positive female smiling and taking notes in organizer while cat watching on netbook at table at home
Photo by Sam Lion on Pexels

No matter the age of your cat, it may be beneficial to invest in pet insurance. This can make it easier financially to provide routine and emergency care. Make sure to question the provider’s policy on pre-existing conditions. Another option is a pet wellness plan which covers only routine care.

3. Clean Environment, Fresh Food, and Water

Cat in bathroom sink
Zülal Kaya, Pexels

Cats are very clean animals that use the litter box frequently, so it’s important to keep it clean. They also can be finicky about old food, which can make them sick. Always make sure your cat’s food is fresh, and wash its food bowl daily. And always make sure the cat always has fresh water as well.

2. Be Patient With Them

shallow focus photography of white and brown cat
Photo by Yerlin Matu on Unsplash

Although you’re excited about sharing your life with your new cat, remember that the animal may be anxious and shy. Don’t force a relationship. Ease the cat into your family. Give the cat plenty of space and allow it to come to you rather than chase after it. This will help build trust.

1. Be Prepared for Challenges

orange tabby meowing

A stray cat may have been living alone for years, so expect it to take time for it to adapt to its new environment. Be patient with your cat learning “the house rules.” Give it lots of love and never use physical punishment to correct behaviors. Cats respond much better to positive rewards. Punishment will only harm your bond.

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