Welcoming a cat home

United States
March 1, 2009 2:13pm CST
I am going to be fostering a cat for a few months. My parents had a cat when I was little but I don't really remember much about taking care of a cat. What do I need to buy ahead of time? Any general advice on owning a cat would also be appreciated. Thank you!
1 person likes this
5 responses
1 Mar 09
Umm, no offense intended but surely the people bringing you a cat to foster should have screened you first? As in checked that you know what you need and so on? It's their job to make sure you're a responsible (potential) owner - which I'm sure you are! - and to answer all your questions!! If they haven't done that and you're fostering a rescue cat, you might be in for one hell of a shock: rescue animals are not the easiest to deal with and if the people bringing him/her haven't bothered to prepare you, they may not be there to support you either. May I suggest contacting the organisation in question? If they're this flaky, goodness only knows what'll happen...
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Mar 09
I actually volunteer for the organization but I only work with the dogs because I have experience with dogs. I have fostered dogs in the past with severe anxiety issues and aggression problems so I am pretty sure I can handle a cat. I just don't know that much about cats because I do not have experience with them. They did screen me but it was for dogs only because at the time I was only going to foster dogs but then I saw one of the cats and he was so sweet and they said he needed a foster and since I had already been screened they oked me to foster him. I think they assumed that since I volunteered there I knew more about cats than I actually do. I can ask them for advice too I just wanted some general advice on having a cat from fellow mylotters. Thank you for the response and the warning. I do realize that the cat may have behavioral problems because of his past but I am willing to help him.
2 people like this
@hanasays (212)
• United States
1 Mar 09
Spike, don't be so harsh. It takes a lot of dedication to be willing to foster a cat, especially a handicapped one. She's going out of her way to help an animal, and honestly, cats aren't that hard to take care of. It's pretty unkind of you to call her competence into question this way. She clearly has a good heart and intends to do her best to take care of this cat, which is more than many pet owners are willing to do. Runner0369: Good for you for being willing to foster a disabled cat. I'd just make sure you're up to speed with the shelter about any special needs the cat may have. Research the cat food you plan on feeding him or her since there was that whole Melamine scare, and I think it applied to cat food as well as dog food. Cat toys are a good idea. Most cats like stuffed mice and the ever-popular LASER POINTER. You may want to get a pet bed and encourage the cat to use it if you don't plan on letting him or her sleep on your own or on the couch. Good luck with your kitty. :-)
1 Mar 09
Phew! I know I souded a little harsh but, as you know, we're talking about a living thing here. Sounds like you're well aware of the potential problems (and reward in cuddles!). Apart from the litter and bowls, some toys are good (just basic stuff) depending on age. The cool thing is that even just scrumpled-up paper works as well as an expensive shop-bought toy. Avoid aluminium foil, though, as a lot of cats HATE the sound it makes when they claw it (or pee on it, which can be useful for discouraging spraying). If your home is prepared for dogs, it might be worth getting some Feliway (that's the neutral pheromone spray/air-freshener-style-thing that helps them be calm) and a freshly-washed, comfortable blanket/towel for a sleeping place. Chances are the puss will pick a spot himself, though. Make sure there's a few hiding places as well: unlike dogs, cats need their privacy at times. Ours (who's been with us for 10 years from a kitten) still loves to sneak behind furniture where it's dark and we can't see her. Cats also like high places, so it's good to check there aren't any breakables on a wide shelf s/he can reach. A scratching post is also essential unless s/he'll be going outside, or your furniture will suffer! If you can't get a cheap one, you can wrap thick string tightly around a table leg or something. I don't know what the weather's like there, but if it can get a bit chilly, we've found that having something soft in front of a radiator is a good idea. Our little Biscotte loves to curl up where it's warm. If the new puss is nervous, just being in the same room and talking is good. Ours loves it even now. She even sits and watches films with me, as long as I chat to her occasionally. If you can convince your new arrival to be stroked, make sure you let him/her rub against you with the sides of the face: that's where their marking glands are (amongst others - one just at the base of the tail on the back, as well) and it allows them to mix their scent with yours and create a sort of 'group odour'. It's their way of recognising that you're a part of their family. Don't pursue them, though: a cat will come to you when it's ready. One other thing: if s/he's had a troubled past, make sure the litter tray is away from doors and is in a place that's fairly hidden. Cats feel terribly vulnerable when they, uh, 'eliminate'... making sure it's private can help a lot. Good luck. As someone else said, it's a wonderful thing you're doing. I rescued a cat a few years back and it still warms my heart to see photos of him now, all cuddly, fluffy and so full of love from his new owner! Much respect to you.
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 Mar 09
Probably the basics such as food, litter box, a place to sleep, and of course love! Do you know how old it is? Does it have any conditions that you need to also consider? You should ask yourself this before taking care of the cat. Well anyways, good luck and I hope you both get along well!
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Mar 09
Thank you for the response. He is about two. He is physically handicap and has chronic conjunctivitis. They are going to show me how to put drops in his eyes and stuff. Thank you for the luck too!
@ElicBxn (60884)
• United States
1 Mar 09
a couple of bowls, ceramic or metal rather than plastic for food, maybe another bowl or plate for wet if you decide to feed wet food, a litter pan and litter and a scoop to get the waste out
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Mar 09
Thank you for the response and tips!
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Mar 09
Like the previous poster said basics like cat food, litter box, cat litter. Cats are wonderful pets and don't get as much credit as they deserve. There is not much effort when it comes to taking care of cat, but in your case it may be different. Since this is a foster cat, I'm assuming his/her life hasn't been perfect and maybe they are going through some kind of trauma? You may want to get some anxiety spray at the vet so he/she won't feel so nervous in it's new surroundings. Also make sure to introduce the cat to one room at a time so it's not overwhelmed. But who knows maybe the cat will be a social dynamo and have no problems adjusting. Good luck, and you are doing a really wonderful thing!
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Mar 09
The cat is physically handicap but does not have any known social issues. He has done well at the shelter so hopefully he will have no problem adjusting here. Thank you for the response!
@alharra (508)
• United States
1 Mar 09
Obviously cat food is needed. You will also need to get a litter box and cat litter. How old is the cat? You might think about getting some cat toys. Taking care of a cat is fairly easy all things considered.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Mar 09
Thank you for the response, the cat is about two years old.