Your New Cat: Why Are the First 24 Hours So Important? Part 1

 


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The cage was small, but the people were nice and Tiger felt safe. He was fed, petted and regularly groomed. Still, it wasn’t home. Tiger had been ‘home’, and still had vague memories of the woman who had cared for him and the other cats who lived with her.

Then he had been taken to this place, and had been here so long he had almost forgotten ‘home’, and the woman.

There was uneasiness here, though, and Tiger felt it. Something was about to happen. Something bad.

Then two humans came in. He was put in a cage with them. He jumped up in the woman’s lap. He was put in a dark place that bumped and jostled. He heard strange, scary noises. He howled, and a male voice answered with noises he couldn’t understand.

Then there was light. And TERROR!

A small hand reached for him and tried to grab him. There were people he didn’t know; they all approached him. There was another cat that arched and spat.

Then, horror of horrors…

There was a dog!

Tiger fled. He fled down a long corridor and bolted through the first open door he found. He hid in the darkest place he could find…among soft and hard things he didn’t recognize. He heard voices. He heard the dog bark, and he shuddered. He heard the child’s high pitched voice, and a woman’s voice…which were easier to bear.

He hunkered down and remained as invisible and silent as he could.

ADOPTION IN HASTE

The staff of animal shelters greet people looking for new pets with both joy and misgiving. People walk between the cages, looking over each cat, and the staff hope they will select a cat that has been there for a long time.

But they know what the people are looking for; they are looking for kittens, not adult cats.

If there are no kittens, the customers will sometimes reluctantly choose an adult cat as a “consolation prize”, pay the adoption fees and cart him or her off…

Only to return the cat two or three days later.

“I’m sorry, but this cat just didn’t work out. We couldn’t fit it into the family. ”

Or…

“This cat is just too wild. We need something tamer, something that will fit in. ”

“What happened?” The staff member asks.

“The cat bolted and hid. It took us three days to find it, and when we finally did, we had to chase it all over the house before we caught it. We need something tamer; something that will fit in better. ”

So go the sad tales of the returnees… but wait, it can be worse for cats adopted in other ways.

“The landlord won’t let me keep her, could you please take her in?”

People who adopt strays off the street, or a friend’s cat, many times don’t realize the full extent of the things they need to do for their new cat…

In Part 2 We’ll discuss those things. Adequate preparation would have saved Tiger - by safely and easily introducing him to a happy home…

Copyright 2006 John Young

John Young is a writer and cat lover who has owned one cat or another ever since he was four (or, maybe they owned him). His book “Your New Cat's First 24 Hours", http://www.yourcatsecrets.com , is written for new and veteran cat owners who want to smoothly introduce a new cat to their household and care for her thereafter.

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