Ticha was abandoned at the age of nine, but now has a human of her own. Photo Anne Fawcett.

Over 200,000 unwanted cats and dogs are killed in pounds and shelters in Australia every year, just because they can't find homes.

These are innocent animals, whose original human companions did not take responsibility for them.

Be part of the solution. Adopt a rescue animal.

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Settling an adult cat settle into a new home
Adopting an adult cat is a deeply rewarding experience. These cats, after having had the indignity of competing with those cute kittens, make fine companions.

Adult cats do adapt well to new homes, but they don't always settle in quite as quickly as kittens – there will be a settling in period.

Put yourself in your puss's boots – this moving house business can be quite traumatic (it often is for us humans too!). And your pet may have been uprooted from the only home they've ever known.

Your adult cat may have come from a cat shelter – so from your new cat's point of view, life's been pretty stressful lately. So take your new pet's previous environment into account – perhaps your new pet is also a new mother and just been separated from her kittens, or maybe your pet has lived in several homes before.

It's important to get off on the right foot – and the first step is the journey home. Your new friend may not be used to cars, and many cats don't particularly enjoy automobile travel, so be aware of this when you first take your pet home. Use a secure cat carrier, which will help your friend feel safer and more secure. Don't just rev up and drive away, let your cat become accustomed to the sound of the running motor before driving off – slowly.

Once home, ensure the environment is calm and quiet. It's exciting to bring this new arrival home, but keep things low-key. Confine your pet to one room – just at first – so the cat has the chance to get accustomed to the smells and sounds of this new strange place. This will help your cat feel secure, and is an especially good idea if there are other pets in the household. Introduce your new cat to the rest of the house slowly over the coming days.

Ideas for a purrfect welcome:

• Have your cat's room ready with litter tray and fresh water, which should be available at all times. Keep litter and feeding areas separate. Your new friend will love some new toys, and perhaps a scratching or climbing post. Pay special attention to organising a nice cozy bed for your cat.

• If possible, find out what kind of diet your cat was on previously. Avoid making sudden dietary changes. Your cat will feel more at home with familiar food. If you feel the need to alter your pet's diet, changes should be made very gradually.

• If there are children in your family, make sure you've explained all about the new arrival – especially the part about not pulling tails. If the children are young, supervise them when with your pet.

• Keep your cat confined to the house for about four weeks.

Don't feel discouraged if your new friend takes off and hides in the wardrobe – this is quite normal, and as your cat learns to trust you, things will improve. Tender Loving Care is often all that's needed.

Older and loving it
Adult and senior cats are fabulous

One common misconception about adult and senior cats seeking homes is that they've got "something wrong" with them. But this is rarely the case! Through no fault of their own, older cats find themselves homeless for a number of reasons: perhaps their humans have become ill, or have moved into a residence that doesn't allow pets. A relationship break-up can leave a cat homeless, as can a variety of other life circumstances.

But adult and senior felines have a lot going for them and make fantastic companions.

You can't really accurately predict the temperament of a kitten, but with an older feline, all has been revealed. You won't have to worry about litter training, and the older cat doesn't need the same intense amount of care and supervision that a young feline demands.

If you have specific needs – like a cat that's child-friendly, or an indoors-only feline – it's not that difficult to find an older moggie who's had the exactly right experience for the job. You may need a cat that enjoys the company of other cats, or one that is content to share life with a dog. You may prefer a feline with independent nature, or perhaps the classic lap-cat is more your style. Again, you can find an adult or senior cat to fit the bill.

There are other advantages to adopting a grown-up cat – for example, initial expenses will be less, especially if the cat is already desexed. But perhaps the greatest advantage of all is the 'feel good factor'. You'll feel great about bringing an adult or senior moggie into your home.

Articles by Annette Basile

Ingrid's Haven, PO Box 323, Broadford 3658 Victoria.
Call 0417 360 700.






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