If you have adopted a cat/kitten:
Preparation & Patience Are Key
There’s often a transition period for you, your new pet, and other animals living in your home. It can take anywhere from two days to two months for you and your pet to adapt to each other. Here are some tips to ensure a smooth transition and a happy homecoming:
Plan your cat’s arrival
Try to arrange the arrival of your new pet for a weekend or when you can be home for a few days. This will allow the pet to adjust to his new surroundings much faster. Get to know each other and spends some quality time together. Don’t forget your other pets and people in your home, too! It’s often best to keep the new pet in a quiet room the first several days and away from other pets in the home. Let them get used to each other’s smell through a door.
You may already know this, but cats hate to travel. For the trip home, confine your pet in a sturdy cat carrier. Don’t leave him loose in your car, where he might panic and cause an accident, or escape when you open the car door. He may howl, cry, and use his herculean muscles to try and escape, but don’t give in. He’s much safer in the carrier until he has reached his new home.
After the ride home, your cat, will likely be tired from the ordeal and won’t be in the mood for fun. To ease the transition, select a quiet room where he can hide until his catches his breath and is more comfortable. If necessary, sit on the floor next to him, offer him treats and some light conversation. Let him sniff all your belongings and investigate all the hiding places.
Gather the necessities your cat will need
- You’ll need a breakaway collar
- ID tag
- Food and water bowls
- Litter box, litter and scoop
If you have adopted a dog/puppy:
Plan your dog’s arrival
Ideally, your new dog will be arriving during a time when you will be home for a few days and be able to establish a routine. Plan for a space for the dog to eat and to relax in advance, and have those spaces ready when the dog arrives with the volunteers for adoption. If you are going to use a crate, have it ready and looking inviting. Welcome your new family with treats and equip all persons in the home with some for a friendly greeting.
Arriving, and the first few days
When our Happy Tails volunteers finalize the adoption and leave, often times the dog will be concerned and look for their foster to return. Try to read the dog’s body language, and provide a positive distraction such as treats or playtime. If you have a yard, try a walk around the yard with a leash to get used to you, the yard, and walking with new family members. Reward good potty habits right away with praise and a treat.
Go slow, be patient, and allow the dog to explore the home one room at a time. Close off areas of the home that present easy hiding options, are cluttered, or where there are valued items such as a child’s favorite toy that you may not want to be mistaken for a dog toy. Allow the dog to acclimate to your home and the human residents at a comfortable pace. New people should avoid bending over the dog, or extending a hand with open fingers to “sniff”. Instruct family or friends to remain upright and just allow the first few hours to be at the dog’s pace. For the first few days, set a routine for food, potty breaks, walks, playtime and bedtime. Many dogs will start to settle in in approximately three days to a few weeks.
What to expect for housetraining
Some dogs take longer than others to understand where it is appropriate to pee or poop and where it is not, as well as when to expect to be let out or take for a walk. Use positive reinforcement techniques and reward success. Some males may benefit from wearing a belly band until they understand that marking inside is not OK. Allow a full week or so for a new dog to learn. Reach out for help if you get frustrated!
Happy Tails highly recommends professional dog training, at least a few sessions, for all dogs regardless of breed or age. Learning how to effectively communicate with your dog will benefit everyone in your household. There is no such thing as a dog, or a person, too old to learn new tricks from a great trainer. Involve all persons in the household in training routines, especially ones the dog may seem wary of. Breaking through fear barriers involves building trust, and patience.
Gather the necessities your dog will need
- A secure collar
- ID tag with your phone number
- High quality food and water bowls
- Training treats