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Bringing Kitty to her forever house is so exciting. But you can’t just open the door and expect her to make herself at home. She’ll likely be a little shy, or want to explore everything. And she’ll want to know where her basics are right away: the litterbox, the food, and the bed to hide under. We’ve got some great tips to help you make it the best day ever.

Take it slow.

While you’ll be excited to introduce your new furry friend to your friends and neighbors, it’s best to give kitty some quiet time to adjust to new surroundings. A new cat may take a few weeks to get comfortable with a new home and new schedule.

Keep it simple.

For the first week or two, keep your cat’s diet similar to what he or she received at the shelter. If you want to change to a different brand or flavor, do it slowly over a period of weeks, mixing the old food with the new.

Stage the loo.

Set up the litter box in a quiet, low-traffic area that the cat can always access. Be sure to fill the litter box with 3–4 inches of Fresh Step® litter. Cats need a clean environment and are very fussy about cleanliness, so be sure to clean out solids once a day and clean the rest of the litter according to the package instructions. Leave a nice copy of Cat Fancy™ next to the box for those longer sessions.

Make sure kitty loves her litterbox.

Kitty’s box should be just right for her. That means the right size (one and a half the size of her body), whether she likes covered or uncovered, and have the right number of litterboxes in the right places. Think inside the box with our Choosing the Best Litterbox for Your Cat article.

Kitty-proof the house.

Before letting your feline friend loose in the house, be sure to put away any potentially harmful things like cleaning products, medication and any poisonous household items or plants. We’ve got more details in our Kitty-Proofing Your House article.

Take kitty to the vet.

Bring your new cat to a caring vet for a wellness exam within one week of adoption. Cats typically should be seen by vets annually in order to keep up with vaccines and other preventive care.

Cats will play with anything and everything around the house. They’ll think a cardboard box is a great hideout, eat crumbs off of the ground, and munch on houseplants for a snack. If you’ve noticed that your cat has a penchant towards eating plants, you’ll want to check the following list — because a lot of plants are actually poisonous for cats.

Steer clear of these greens, or put them in a hanging container out of Kitty’s reach:*

This is only a partial listing of plants that may be harmful to your cat. Visit ASPCA for a more comprehensive list.

Uh oh. What symptoms will my cat show if he ate a poisonous plant?

The most obvious symptoms will be irritation, inflammation, swelling, or itchiness on their skin or around their mouth. If the toxicity of the plant effects a particular organ, you may notice the following symptoms:

Yikes. What should I do if I notice these symptoms?

Try the following steps:

  1. Try to identify which plant your cat has consumed. This will help your veterinarian treat your furry friend.
  2. If your cat is throwing up or clawing at his mouth, you may want to call the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 213-6680 to determine next steps.
  3. When in doubt, it’s always best to call the vet.

On my way! What will my veterinarian do?

Your veterinarian will give your cat a physical exam and order any tests as needed to determine your cat’s overall health and if the plant consumption has harmed your cat. If your cat has vomited, the veterinarian may feed him or her activated charcoal to absorb any of the toxicity in its system. They may also administer medication such as sucralfate, which will protect your cat’s stomach, or an intravenous medicine.

That was a close call. How will I take care of my cat after this incident?

Some plants, such as lilies, may be fatal if ingested by your cat. However, other plants may cause enough damage for your cat to need special medication or a special diet afterward. Your veterinarian will give you instructions for your cat and her needs, and it’s always best to heed the veterinarian’s advice.

Need some R&R with your cat?

After a close call, you could both use some meditation. Join the Paw Points® Reward Program, and earn enough points to score access to rewards like Me-owm Meditation. Center you and your cat’s mind and say meowmaste to these guided meditations featuring purring cats and sage wisdom. Or check out the full Paw Points® catalog and go to your happy place, dreaming of all those cat-friendly rewards.

* Source:

While there aren’t two dueling teams — one for dry food and one for wet food — the topic is heavily debated. The best answer is always to speak with your veterinarian to see what’s best for your cat. Similar to humans, a cat’s food choices are going to be different based on what works for their body and what their body needs. Let’s explore the pros and cons of both a dry and wet food diet.

Exploring a dry food diet.

Some cat owners will rely on a strictly dry food diet because dry food is cheaper, easier to preserve, and easy to leave out for the day, so your cat can feed herself whenever she gets hungry. Though there’s been some debate, many also believe that certain dry foods can help a cat’s teeth and dental hygiene. Still, dry food is not a substitute for oral hygiene, and it’s important to make sure that you’re not using dry food as a substitute for dental care (read this article for more on how to treat your cat’s teeth right).

One of the main concerns about dry food is that it doesn’t contain moisture or high water content, and cats tend to not drink as much water as they should (another instance of Cats! They’re just like us!). H2O keeps your cat hydrated and can benefit cats with kidney problems or lower urinary tract disease. However, if you have a perfectly healthy cat who mainly eats dry food, you can also be sure that your cat is drinking a lot of water by investing in a fun cat water fountain, or making sure their water bowl is always filled and fresh.

Exploring a wet food diet.

As mentioned above, it’s important to consider incorporating wet food if your cat has kidney problems, doesn’t drink a lot of water, or is a picky eater. Many cats seem to find wet food more palatable. Also, wet food benefits cats with kidney or urinary tract infection issues since wet food is about 75 percent water, whereas dry food is only about 10 percent water. Though some studies show that canned wet food helps cats develop strong muscles, it’s important to note that there isn’t enough research to confidently state that a canned diet can prevent these symptoms. However, some veterinarians do warn that insufficient moisture in the diet may increase the risk of crystals or stones in a cat’s urinary tract.

Exploring a happy medium of wet and dry food.

Many cat owners have decided to incorporate the best of both worlds and use mainly dry food with about a half can of wet food daily. That way, your cat can enjoy the benefits of both foods and have some variety in her diet. It’s always best to see how your cat reacts and what they seem to be enjoying. Take your cues from your furry friend and trust that she knows what’s best for her body when you lay all of the options out in front of her.

Cats & milk.

There are many images out there of cats lapping up a special treat of milk. Although this is an adorable visual, it’s largely false: Most cats are lactose intolerant and don’t have the enzymes necessary to break down lactase, which is found in milk.1

It’s true that not all cats are lactose intolerant, but a majority of cats are, and there’s virtually no way to tell if your cat is intolerant or tolerant without giving him or her a taste test, and possibly getting them sick in the process.

Let’s explore when it’s okay to dish out some milk and when it may be harmful to your furry friend.

What’s with the myth?

Cats are very fond of cream. While cream often rises to the top and is desired by cats for its fat content, most milk that you find in your supermarket today contains little fat, and while it may be tasty, it’s very difficult for cats to digest.

So, a treat of milk might very shortly turn into the runs for your kitty. But what about when kittens are born? Don’t they drink milk from their mothers?

Kittens vs. cats.

When cats are young kittens, they are typically reliant on their mothers for nourishment — and that means mama’s milk. However, as they grow kittens begin to lose the lactase enzyme that allows them to digest the lactose found in milk.1

If your kitten is young enough to be bottle-fed, don’t go for cow’s milk as a replacement. Instead, find a kitten-specific formula,2 which has all the nutrients necessary for a growing kitten.

Alternatives to milk.

If you want your kitty to be hydrated and have a productive digestive system, allowing her to drink water is always the best choice.3 Aside from wet food, cats typically don’t get enough water in their diet and can be prone to dehydration and other underlying diseases that are associated with not drinking enough water.

If you want to make water a bit more enticing for your cat, consider purchasing a fun cat water fountain, or simply let the faucet drip and have your cat drink from the bathroom tap — under supervision, of course.

What about almond milk? Though you may be tempted to run out and buy almond milk for your cat, this also isn’t recommended.4 It’s true that almond milk doesn’t contain lactose, but almond milk does contain — you guessed it — almonds.

Cats may be sensitive to certain nuts, which can also cause stomach problems. So, if you’re seeking an alternative milk treat, we recommend lactose-free milk, which is usually available at pet stores and grocery stores.

This milk may be a safe treat for lactose-intolerant kitty cats (and humans if you so desire) to enjoy from time to time since the lactose is removed. At the pet store, you’ll also find cat-specific milks that are an acceptable and safe treat.

1. Why cats and cow’s milk don’t mix. (n.d.).
2. Recipes for homemade kitten formula. (2019).
3. Huston L. (n.d.). How to get a cat to drink water.
4. Wooten S. (2018). Can kittens drink milk?

Lots of vets recommend you keep your kitty indoors to keep her safe from cars, other predators, and things like rat poison. But there’s also plenty of danger lurking inside the house for a fuzzy someone that likes to explore, chew and scratch — we’re talking about your cat, not you. Here are some quick tips to make sure your home is safe for your BFF (best feline friend).


Cats are famous for chewing on any and every plant in the home, mostly out of curiosity. But you know the saying about curiosity…It turns out that many indoor plants are poisonous for kittehs, including poinsettia, lilies, philodendron, azaleas and many more. Do a quick search on plants that are poison for cats, and either put them in hanging planters out of Kitty’s reach, or retire your indoor green thumb. We know it’s hard. But it’s the plants or the cat.


Kitty (especially kittens) won’t be too discerning when it comes to grabbing food that’s been left on the counter. Put away anything that could upset her tummy — or which you’re saving for your dinner.

Electrical cords

For a cat who loves to chew, electrical cords are like Twizzlers. Twizzlers filled with dangerous electricity. Either tape your cords to the side of your appliances, or bundle them up in harder-to-chew cord protector

High shelves

Cats are naturally gifted climbers. This means that they’d love to climb up on that shelf and knock over your grandmother’s tea set just to see what happens. Unfortunately, if the shelf isn’t secured, it could topple over, Kitty and all. Secure the shelf to the wall, put away the Waterford crystal, and get the cat tree that your feline craves.

Cleaning supplies

Make sure all cleaning supplies are in a closed cabinet out of Kitty’s reach. And remember, when you’re done cleaning the tub or the sink, give it a thorough rinse. Kitties love to get in the tub and drink the water.


These tiny troublemakers love to knock over the trash to see if there’s something tasty in there. While there might be, there might also be something poisonous. This one’s an easy solve: just get a garbage can with a secured lid.

Windows and doors

Especially when you’re bringing Kitty home for the first time, make sure all windows and doors are secured. Otherwise, your new kitty will escape — and won’t know how to get back to her new home. 

Craft supplies

Cats love to play with — and sometimes ingest — yarn, thread and ribbons. If you want to avoid a hefty vet bill, make sure all these items are secured when the crafting session’s done.

We know all this sounds like a lot. But it’s absolutely worth it to make sure your cute furry friend has a safe and fun time in your house for years to come. 

Distract Kitty with a good toy.

A great way to keep cats from destroying your stuff is to give them something better. Entertain Kitty with a toy built especially for her. You’ll find that game and much more in the Paw Points® Rewards catalog.

What exactly is catnip?

Catnip, or Nepeta cataria, is one of 250 species of mint.1

Why does it make one of my cats crazy and not even affect my other cat?

The essential oil in catnip can turn one lazy cat into one crazy cat only if the cat has inherited sensitivity to catnip’s effects. This trait doesn’t emerge until a cat is around three to six months old.1

Catnip sensitivity is hereditary and it’s estimated that approximately half of cats have no reaction, while the other half are highly affected by catnip.1

Why exactly is my cat crazy for catnip?

When cats who are affected by catnip get a whiff of it, the scent targets the “happy” receptors in a cat’s brain. However, when a cat eats the catnip, it tends to have the opposite effect. The catnip acts as a sedative and the cat will often mellow out, roll around, flip, rub themselves on furniture, or zone out, and some cats may even get aggressive and growl or meow.

Either way, these moods often last about 10 minutes, after which the cat will reset and become their normal, furry selves again.2 The cat won’t have another reaction to more catnip until about 30 minutes after they’ve had their initial dose of catnip.3

Does catnip get my kitty high?

Yes, in a way. The main ingredient in catnip is a stimulant that produces a “high” that, for your cat, is similar to either marijuana or LSD.2 This is why he looks like he’s in a trance after eating or sniffing catnip.

Can my cat overdose on catnip?

Although cats are unlikely to overdose on catnip, they can get sick and have diarrhea or vomit from eating too much of it — whether that means they’ve consumed all of the catnip hidden in their toys, or too much catnip oil is rubbed onto them.2

Trust your cat to know when she’s had enough, and be mindful of how much catnip you feed her, too. After all, catnip is meant to be a treat, so be sure to only give her catnip in limited doses, not as her regular meals.

So, is catnip safe to feed my cat?

Yes, catnip has been proven safe for cats. In fact, people used to use catnip to brew tea and soothe upset stomachs (catnip doesn’t affect people the way it affects cats).4 Catnip isn’t toxic or addictive, and it can be used as a reward or training aid.

Although, again, be mindful of how much catnip you’re giving your cat since, as mentioned above, excessive amounts may cause your cat to get sick, and maybe even have short spells of diarrhea or vomiting.1 Try not to indulge them more than every two or three weeks.2

Plus, if you give your cat too much catnip, his body may acclimate to it, and the exciting effects that it usually gets will wear off over time. If you spread out how often your cat receives catnip, he’ll still reap the benefits of it.

Should I put catnip in my cat’s food?

No. It’s best to save catnip to rub onto scratching posts, stuff into their toys, or sprinkle it into a new bed so she can adjust to a new environment.

Although catnip is available in spray forms, we’d recommend using the dry type that’s often found in a package. Plus, it’s always fun to shake the package and see how your cat reacts — she’s likely to get very excited!

Want to keep the treats rolling in?

Join Paw Points® and get your paws on some treats. Use your Paw Points® to get fun treats. Check out the catalog to see all the fun, irresistible ways to make your cat feel special.

  1. Crazy for catnip. (n.d.).
  2. Coates J. (n.d.). Does catnip really get your cat high? Facts about your cat’s favorite plant.
  3. How does catnip work its magic on cats? (2007).
  4. Nepeta cataria effects on humans. (n.d.).

Cats can be picky about toys — sometimes you buy one and they never play with it, or they play with it for a day or two before moving on to the newest, shiniest object. Instead of blowing your budget to keep your cat entertained, give your favorite feline toys they’ll treasure while saving some dough. How? Create your very own do-it-yourself (DIY) cat toys! Don’t worry — these ideas are for novices and experts alike.

Crafty little Kitty.

Let’s get into some crafty, budget-friendly toys your cat will love:

  1. Reuse your wine cork. We all know that our furry friends are easily distracted. So, if you’re a wine lover, recycle your old cork and glue some feathers, ribbons and strings around the cork to create a fun distraction for your cat. Don’t forget to add bells too!
  2. Old shirt, new toy. Instead of tossing your stained t-shirt, cut off some of the fabric and tie it into knots. This will create a bunch of fun playthings for your cat to chase or claw at. You’ll be able to create so many with just one t-shirt, that you can gift them to your favorite cats around the neighborhood.
  3. Keep the good times rolling. When you’re finished with your next toilet paper roll, instead of tossing the cardboard, simply let your cat roll it around and repurpose it into their next favorite cat toy. Your kitty will love to kick around the cardboard cylinder and stick their paws into the center hole.
  4. Sock it to me. Got some singleton socks lying around (and who doesn’t)? Create an irresistible toy by stuffing an ankle sock with fun crinkly packing paper — or catnip, and tie off the end. Voila! An instant use for that one lonely sock.
  5. Kitty doesn't smoke, but loves a good pipe cleaner. Bend sparkly pipe cleaners into balls or fish shapes, making sure that all sharp edges are either filed down or bent inward. You can even have fun incorporating little bells. This is one toy that you want to make sure Kitty only plays with under supervision because you don’t want her eating the pipe cleaner.

Want to keep the treats and toys rolling in?

Cats can be picky about toys — sometimes you buy one and they never play with it, or they play with it for a day or two before moving on to the newest, shiniest object. Instead of blowing your budget to keep your cat entertained, give your favorite feline toys they’ll treasure while saving some dough. How? Create your very own do-it-yourself (DIY) cat toys! Don’t worry — these ideas are for novices and experts alike.