Meeting Your New Cat
Adopting a cat is such an exciting time, for you and for us! We love introducing Adopters to the cats staying with us in the hope that a bond will ignite. Here is some information about what to expect when you come to the Cattery, and some tips to get the most out of your Meet and Greet with your potential new friend.
When you arrive at the Cattery, you can have a chat with a staff member about the Adoption process, and caring for your cat. We'll also talk to you about the cat's medical history in more detail, and their individual behaviour (we'd have already given you the main points when you first enquired). We'll then take you to meet the cat or cats you're interested in adopting. The whole appointment can take about 45 minutes-1 hour.
Play hard to get!
Ever noticed how cats always go to the one person in the room who doesn't like cats? They feel more comfortable when you don't make eye contact, and leave them to come to you, in their own time. So, when we first open their pod door, pretend you don't mind if they come to you or not. Every cat is different in their confidence, and the time it takes will vary, but curiosity will get the better of them and they'll soon come to check you out. They often start by sniffing your bag or shoes to get to know you.
Here's Patrick Touch-Zone to tell us about Cat Friendly Interactions
Hi, I'm Patrick! I'd like to talk to you about cats' Touch Zones and Cat Friendly Interactions. As you can see I'm sporting a Traffic Light patchwork coat to show you the different Touch Zones.
Particularly while we're in the Cattery environment, and settling in to our new home with you, we need extra careful handling. To help us feel more secure during this tricky time in our lives, please stick to the Green Zone. When we feel more settled, some of us cats will tell you to move on to the Amber Zones. You can do so, but only when we offer it to you, by rubbing round you with those areas. And occasionally, some rare folk, who leave their dignity at the door, will enjoy the odd Red Zone, but it's best to always steer clear as we can't be held accountable for our actions!
Start by holding a softly closed fist towards them for them to approach and sniff.
If they nuzzle round your hand, try giving them a short fuss around their cheeks.
Stop every few seconds and offer your hand again for them to nuzzle. This is them deciding they'd like more. It allows them to withdraw and end the interaction without getting overstimulated or annoyed. They can walk away, or even just choose not to head bump you again. So if they don't nuzzle you again, the fussing ends for now. They are more likely to come back to you when they understand that you will let them start and end it on their terms. This builds trust from the start of your relationship.
The best way to build trust and help my cat friends start to bond with you is to follow the Cat Friendly Interactions guide.
If someone doesn't head bump you, don't be offended, it might not be anything personal. We have a lot on our plate at the moment, so just try again another time.
When everyone approaches and handles us in the same way, we'll know what to expect, whoever you are, and we'll feel safe and secure.
Children & Cats
We strive to find the best match possible for all our cats, for their sake and of their new family, so please be patient if it takes a little longer to find a cat-match for your family. Sometimes the cats we have waiting for homes are more shy, or clearly not socialised with young people. Staff will make sure that they are relatively comfortable around the whole family and have the potential to settle into a family home. Occasionally, they surprise us and are not as confident with children as we expected. In which case, if possible, we'd introduce you to another cat, or keep a look out for other potential suiters coming into the Cattery for you.
To give your cat the best chance of settling into family life and becoming a fully integrated member of the family, it's best to get everyone into good habits and teach your children how to interact with them in a Cat Friendly way. To help, we'll introduce you to Patrick when you come to the Cattery, to demonstrate, before introducing them to their potential new friend.
We have also devised a simple game you might like to play in the first weeks of welcoming them into your home. This will help lifelong friendships to grow.
In the first few days to weeks, your cat will be in their settling room and gradually venturing out to explore more of the home. In this time, interactions with children will naturally be more heavily supervised. With very young children, all interactions should be supervised.
So, you could introduce a points game, with points awarded for fussing the Green Zone, and points deducted for touching Amber or Red Zones. At the end of the week, if they get a certain amount of points, they get a prize. To make it more interesting, let them catch you out as well (but quietly, so as not to frighten the cat!).
Green Zone = 10 points
Amber Zone minus = 5 points
Red Zone minus = 10 points
If they get 100+ points in a week, they can have a little prize. You might decide to increase the value if they get a lot more than 100.
You can adapt this to suit your children, to make it easier or harder. And if you notice any other areas your cat doesn't like being touched, add those to the Red Zone, to help them learn not to touch those areas.