Bonding – SO IMPORTANT – Bonding
You only get one 1st time bonding with your new kitty!
The more you put in the more you will get out!
I get questions from time to time asking why I feel setting a kitty cat up in a safe room is so important.
Kitties from breeders are leaving a stable home life with a bunch of their siblings or playmates. They differ from cats at the shelter. The shelter cats have had to at one time or another fend for themselves.
Breeder kitties are more sheltered, no pun intended, but we baby them, give them tons of attention so they look at other humans as strangers and wonder if the stranger is a good or bad stranger. So it takes more time with a ‘sheltered kitty’ than a kitty ‘from a shelter’ – these kitties from a shelter may have been a street kitty, had to be a tough kitty, bolder kitty and seek out humans faster than one that already comes from a family environment.
So this is why we feel doing a slow and easy approach is better.
I think it is time for you to decide just what kind of kitty you want your kitty to turn out to be. A kitty that is just a kitty, or a family member kitty?
If you want a family member kitty, one that greets you when you walk into a room, one that can’t wait to be pet by you I would strongly consider these steps.
Now the work begins for you!
Do NOT bring your kitty home, open up the carrier door and say welcome home kitty. Big, Big mistake.
If you follow these steps you will thank me in a few months, trust me!
You need to set up a safe room for your kitty. This room will work throughout your cats life. (more on this later!)
FIRST COUPLE OF NIGHTS:
I strongly recommend your master bath the first couple of nights. It is small compared to a bedroom, less over whelming for him/her. You need a litter box, water bowl, his/her carrier with door open so they can use it as a bed. During this time, you need to go into the room and spend as much time as you can with the new kitty. Get down on the floor, we are giants to these cats. Some clients have taken a book into the bathroom while waiting for kitty to come around. Talk to your cat, talk a lot! This new kitty needs to learn your voice sound, your smells, your mannerism — everything about you. I mention the first couple of nights, if more is needed that’s ok each cat is different. When you see your kitty is less scared of you, using the litter box, eating and drinking you can move on to the next step.
2 WEEKS OR MORE IN BONDING ISOLATION:
When you feel it is ok to move on, walk out of the bathroom leaving the door open, but make sure your bedroom door is closed. Do not bring your kitty out of the bathroom, let him/her come out on their own. If you work on their terms you will move forward faster, I know it doesn’t seem it but it will be faster.
When you are in your bedroom with your kitty, now you should have a litter box in the room, and a cat condo. You can leave the water and feeding area in the bathroom. You are going to start over in this room. If you have a TV in the bedroom keep it on, it will calm kitty, silence in a new house is scary. Spend as much time as possible in the room, talking, talking and more talking to your kitty. Play with your kitty, win over his/her confidence. I usually recommend 2 weeks as a minimum some cats take longer. When your kitty comes running when you come in the room, rubs up against you, looks up to you for lovin’ your getting there. If kitty runs and hides while in the room you should keep him/her in the room until this stops.
Remember, the more you put in the more you will get out of your new family pet member.
When you feel the time is right do the same as you did when kitty came into the bedroom. Go out of the bedroom leaving the door open. Kitty will venture out, may run back in the room a few times, but when kitty is ready to meet the big house you will know. Slow and steady works best.
Before you allow kitty to roam the house make sure you have litter boxes in place – guide kitty over to them so they know where their potty box is.
By starting your kitty out this way you have created a room where your kitty can go to be safe. If you have contractors in and you are trusting they will not let your kitty outside. Big mistake. I suggest you put kitty in the safe room when you have them in. If you are having a party use the kitty safe room. You will be happy that you are not out searching for your kitty after the party.
I do these steps myself when I bring in new cats to our program. I will also do this if I have one that is just a little shyer than others. So I am speaking from experience. 🙂