Cats take time warming to new home
Question: My family is considering adopting a cat and I want to convince my wife that two cats are better than one. What might get her to consider it?
Answer: Explain to your wife how you are better off with her than without her. Cats are no different than a human couple.
Twice the felines doesn't mean double the amount of care and work, because the cats help meet each other's needs. They provide each other with exercise, group interaction and mental stimulation. Cats that interact with other cats learn social cues from each other, boundaries on rough play and are less likely to be destructive or have other behavioral problems.
These benefits apply only when the animals are compatible and if they have enough space to interact comfortably. Consider adopting littermates, kittens of similar age, or adults that live as part of a group at your local shelter. Cats may take a while, sometimes up to one year, deciding whether they want to be friends. When matching two cats, consider their different levels of activity and sociability, as well as their age and exposure they've had to other cats.
Felines need various sites for resting and hiding so they can control when and where they want to interact. Providing access to a safe outdoor enclosure can also help.
Q: How do I introduce a new cat to our home?
A: Cats take time to adapt, so allow him to assimilate to his new surroundings on his own terms.
Gradually introduce the cat to your home. Confine him to a small area that offers a hiding spot, like a shelf or a closet. Bedding, food and water should be supplied, but place his litter box far from this area.
To encourage your cat to come out and greet you, place treats or kibble outside the hiding spot. Pet him for only a few minutes at a time. Sit next to him so he begins to feel comfortable with you.
Once your cat becomes accustomed to his new home, continue socializing him by handling, grooming and playing daily.
The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line. Or, write "Pet Ohana," Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu 96826.