Day 1 in a new home is scary for cats – maybe a few days after that too.  Your new cat doesn’t know what just happened to them.  Although it’s tempting to immediately try to include them with the rest of the family, we recommend starting them in a small, enclosed space to start such as a bathroom or small bedroom.  Make sure they can easily find their litterbox, food, water, and they can hide if they get scared.  This lets them start to get used to the sounds and smells in your house.  A small space may feel confining to you, but to them it feels safe because it gives them fewer places they have to check for danger.  You should visit them often to reassure them they aren’t alone and let them start to get used to you.  Failure to do this could result in aggressive behavior toward other animals and people, or urination outside of the litterbox to create a defensive barrier.  

If you have other pets, it’s very important to give your new cat time to adjust to his new environment before introducing him to other animals in your home.  Get small cloths, enough for each pet, and wipe one on each animal’s mouth.  Put the cloths near the other animals’ food dish so when they meet for the first time, they associate the other animal with something positive (food).  Let animals smell and play with each other under the door as a safe early introduction activity.  Make sure to be calm and relaxed when introducing animals as they can smell the chemicals you release when you are nervous or stressed.  After a few weeks, let animals meet each other for short periods of time slowly lengthening the time they are together.  Do not leave them unattended together until you are sure they are getting along.  Some animal pairs can never be left alone together.  

This is a great article with additional information on introducing your pets.

Choosing a food for your new cat is important – if you know what they were eating before you got them, you should slowly switch over – see formula below.  If not, be aware that food changes can cause diarrhea and vomiting temporarily but should resolve within a few days.

Cheap food ends up being very expensive in medical bills later.  You can easily Google “is (name of cat food) good cat food”.  Look for review sites that aren’t owned by cat food companies.  Many cheap foods are the equivalent of feeding your cat fast food every day.  

Provide either filtered water or filtered water fountains to reduce the chance of your cat getting urinary crystals which is painful and expensive if vet visits are required.  This condition may require surgery.  

Switching food: For every 1 cup of fod, you normally feed your cat, reduce that to 3/4. Add 1/4 of the new food into the old food. Continue this ratio for 2 to 3 days. Over the next week or so, increase the ratio to 1/2 & 1/2 of each type of food. After a week and 1/2 to 2 weeks, you should be able to switch completely over to the new food. 

 The 8 Best Kitten Foods Of 2022: Unbiased Review – All About Cats

  •  Litter types – cats are very sensitive to smell so avoid all fragrant litter.  Your cat may avoid the litterbox if the litter contains perfumes or if they don’t like the smell or texture.  If you can, avoid clay litter too as the dust can cause breathing issues for cats.  Young cats may also consume it and get a stomach blockage.
  • Cleanliness – cats can smell up to 4 miles away!  A used cat box can be compared to an outhouse for humans.  Please clean often – up to multiple times a day.
  • Misunderstandings about what is a litterbox – cats may confuse dirty laundry, plastic, discarded papers, and planters for areas that should be used as litterboxes.  This is not misbehavior; they often can’t tell the difference.  For instance, if you use plastic litterbox liners, the cat may think any plastic bag is an appropriate litterbox.  Also, some litter brands use the same fragrance as common household items, like laundry detergent.  This could cause your cat to think your freshly washed laundry is an appropriate litter box.

If your cat stops using the litterbox, there are many things you can try including adding another litterbox, trying different litter types, or using cat attract litter to lure them back to the appropriate location.

  • Types of poop – small pebbles or straining to poop means your cat is constipated.  Runny or mushy poop could be a sign of intestinal parasites.  Both of these can be normal in healthy cats occasionally, but if it persists beyond a few days please look into ways to get them help.  Please see the Stool Chart on our Resources page for more information on stool types and how to correct them.


  • Probiotics – your new kitty will likely be nervous with so much change and this can kill important gut flora.  Probiotics are crucial for the first week to help avoid colds, diarrhea, and other minor medical issues from a stress-weakened immune system.
  • Catnip – catnip is not only essential for play, it also has calming qualities.  Sprinkle a little in areas you want your cat to enjoy.
  • Toys – Every cat needs 5 things: they need to hunt, chase, kill, eat, sleep.  If we fulfill these needs, we’ll have a happy cat.  It is important to use a variety of toys to find what will stimulate your cat.  Many cats will even play fetch with balls, especially if you give them a treat when they retrieve the ball.   Be careful of yarn, which your cat can’t spit out, strings left unattended, or anything small your cat may ingest. 

 Cats should not be solitary or hiding all the time.  This is a sign of a bored or unhappy cat.  Many cats don’t realize they want to play so you need to figure out how to stimulate their activity levels.  Cats need activity just like dogs.

  • Toothbrushes and water additives will help clean your cat’s teeth and help you save money in future dental work.  
  • Microchips – if they aren’t registered, they don’t work.  It is essential to register your microchip. is a free microchip registering service.  Even indoor cats get out and lost occasionally.
  •  Your cat should have been vaccinated at least two times (2-3 FVCRPP vaccines) even if they are indoor only and not exposed to other animals.  There are deadly diseases in our environment that you can track in on your shoes and can last in your home up to two years.  It is essential that you repeat the vaccines annually to protect your cat.  Cats over 4 months also need to have regular rabies vaccines.  Rabies shots are very inexpensive at vaccine clinics and must be done by a veterinarian.  


  • Scratching – cats need to be able to stretch their entire body.  Some cats enjoy scratching vertically and some enjoy scratching horizontally.  Pay attention to this to know what type of scratching posts you need.  Cats must scratch in order to peel off outer layers of their nails to stay healthy.  A stressed cat will scratch everywhere as their paws have scent glands that tell other animals it’s their territory.  
  • Biting – your cat may want to play with you like he does other cats and may not understand he is playing too rough.  Please avoid using your hands and feet to play with your cat.  You can use a stuffed animal, laser, or toy on a wand to redirect your cat to a more appropriate target away from your body.
  • Hiding – never reach under things for a cat that is scared unless they are in danger.  Try to use food or toys to lure the cat out. Pheromone plug ins like Calm Zone may help your cat feel safer.  There are many other products to assist in calming your cat such as catnip.  
  • Minor aggressions like hissing or smacking at other animals and people are your cat’s way to show displeasure.  They are normal behaviors.  Please respect your cat’s wishes by removing yourself from their space temporarily.  If it’s another animal, usually they can work this out.  If you become stressed, they will become more stressed, and it may escalate.  Try to redirect them with play or distract them from the other animal.

Meet Goose. Goose is a year old cuddly, orange tabby cat. He is technically a sanctuary cat because he has immune system issues. He was left outside as a kitten (not sure if he was born outside or just left outside; and we are not sure how long he lived outside for) and he picked up some bacteria that we can’t get rid of.  We took him in after his first adopter returned him to the rescue. Since October of 2021, Goose has had 9 rounds of antibiotics and has had some pretty serious symptoms. Every few weeks he suffers with lethargy, loss of appetite, and thick/sticky mucus that can seal his nostrils and his eyes. He loses a lot of weight and just wants to be carried everywhere. He has seen four vets and so far, no one has been able to cure him of the bacteria.

When Goose is healthy, he is energetic, playful, sweet, outgoing, and ALWAYS hungry. He is a therapy cat in training and likes going with me for coffee dates. He loves to go for car rides, meet new people and animals, and find new places to explore. When he is healthy, Goose has so much energy I can barely keep up with him. He bites my feet for attention, scratches up the couch, plays (loudly) with his adopted brother Mango ALL. NIGHT. LONG, and is intensely curious. He likes to follow me around the entire house and be an active participant in absolutely everything. He wants to see what is on the hot stove, what is in the sink, he likes to “help” me clean the counters. Some days it feels like he has enough energy for two cats. I just want to find a way to keep him that healthy. I see other cats from Instagram walking through a field of flowers or going to the beach and I think “how would Goose like this”? But he has health issues.

What I have been able to do is lessen his symptoms with some homemade remedies. I make him an immune booster that is made of:

· Lemon juice/ chicken bone broth

· L-lysine

· L-lysine with NAC

· Sodium Ascorbate vitamin C powder

· Vitamins

· Probiotics

· Milk thistle extract (liver and kidney cleanser)

· Krill Oil (which seems to help with his energy level and makes his fur look healthier)

· Pine Bark Extract (which seems to help with the amount of mucus)

I make this every week and now vary his dosage depending on his symptoms but have given from 2-5ccs once or twice per day. Too much makes him very lethargic but clears him up.  If there are any veterinarians out there who have other suggestions, I am happy to take them. I have run this list of items past two vets, and they have approved. The Krill oil and Pine Bark I added one at a time to test Goose’s response. I’m hoping this blog will help anyone else who has a cat with immune disorders find some new ideas and that someone else will have suggestions for me. This is an on-going battle for my cat’s health, and he is starting to perk up again as of this week. Goose is only a year old. I want him to have a full and healthy life but realistically if I can help him get past this year, I will be grateful. 


In November 2021 we rescued Goose. He was an exuberant young kitten who was returned to the rescue by his first adopter. He was sick when we took him in, and we started on his first round of antibiotics. Over the next 6 months he went through 9 rounds of increasingly stronger antibiotics for increasingly longer periods of time.  Vets had different opinions on what was causing his issues (mostly upper respiratory). The medications would work for a week or two tops then he reverted back. We decided to go the holistic route after that and he did pretty well for a while. There is more background in our blog “Cat immune issues – guest blogger”.

We recently noticed that Goose was losing weight and was very lethargic all the time. We added more to his daily vitamin routine but it wasn’t working and we were force feeding him several times a day. It was time to get bloodwork done and were shocked by how many of his indicators were too high or too low – this was more than an upper respiratory infection. The vet was pretty sure he had FIP, which was also causing liver and kidney issues, on top of his upper respiratory issues. We thought this was a death sentence and were trying to prepare ourselves for the worst.

We learned FIP is a mutation of the feline corona virus and affects 10% of cats. There are 4 types of FIP: 

*neuro: can cause seizures, tremors, affects the muscles and can cause a cat to lose the ability to walk

*ocular: causes blindness

*wet: causes mucus build up in chest, lungs, and abdomen. Cats can drown within 4-6 weeks

*dry: disease attacks organs 

Goose has dry FIP. 

We had heard about a new FIP treatment, not yet FDA approved but used in Europe, but didn’t want to put him through more suffering just because we didn’t want to let him go. Then we decided to just start asking questions. Someone who had adopted from our rescue had recently started the treatment that seemed to be going well, and a few people told us about the Facebook group FIP Warriors, so we started there and got answers to many of our questions. Then we found out about another local rescue who had good success with the treatments. We heard the treatments had an 80% success rate and that’s when we decided to give it a try. Goose isn’t even 2 years old yet and when he feels well he is everyone’s friend. He’s a great therapy cat who we feel has a greater purpose and we wanted to give him this chance.

Day 5 of our 84-day treatment. He is already more bright eyed, less lethargic, and eating on his own. Not gonna lie, he doesn’t like the shots. We are told they feel like acid in his body and they can cause sores, which luckily he hasn’t gotten yet.  The person helping us does a fluid bubble first and injects the meds into the bubble – that seems to help. He meows pitifully for about 30 minutes after the shots but then does better. We were told it’s better to start with shots to kickstart the treatments and then switch to pills. We plan for today to be the last shot. 

There are different brands of FIP medication. Some people swear by one over the others, some people say you may need to switch between brands if you aren’t seeing good results. None of them are inexpensive so that is a consideration as well. Also, if the disease caused other issues, those issues may still need to be treated so your cat may still need be monitored by a vet during the process (once a month bloodwork has been recommended). We have also heard that they can continue to be contagious even after they are considered cured but there are mixed responses on that as well. We have other cats but they have already been exposed so we aren’t going to quarantine him as one vet recommended. If we get more cats in the future, there are plenty who are FIP positive who need homes and we will consider that moving forward if needed.

Update day 12: Goose switched to pills day 6 as planned. We have seen small improvements daily but today has been the best! He woke us up playing with toys and with our other cats – he even bounded up the 7-foot cat tree. He’s seeking attention and interacting again. He isn’t gaining weight, but we’ve stopped force feeding him and he’s holding steady. He still occasionally has upper respiratory issues but it’s less often. We are anxious to get his next bloodwork results and see if the numbers confirm what we are seeing.

Update day 18:  We got Goose’s results back and every indicator was in the normal range (although some just barely).  Even the vet was amazed and excited by these results!   We are preparing some charts showing the result comparisons that we will share if anyone asks.  We have continued to give him our homemade immune booster.  Someone from a group for this medication said we aren’t supposed to, but after seeing his improvement we will continue to give it to him.  Someone else we spoke to said we should expect slight setbacks and some bad days.  He does still have mucous and sneezing but otherwise, things are going great.

So, there’s still a lot to learn about this but we recommend you ask questions to see if this may be right for your cat. We will continue to update our progress and are happy to answer questions. You can contact us through Act 2 Rescue.

Update day 29:  Goose has had a bad few days – he’s been very sneezy and mucousy, more lethargic.  We also had a foster kitten get sick with a URI so they are possibly connected.  We are considering starting shots again for a few days if he doesn’t start improving again soon.  We were warned that he may have some setbacks so it could just be that.

Update day 45:  Goose was looking pretty bad again, so we did end up going back to shots for 5 days and that did the trick – pulled him out of the decline he was on.  Since then, he seems to be holding steady with just occasional runny nose and sneezing.  He’s a normal weight and his fur is soft and silky again.  We had more bloodwork done last week and he’s doing great except for his kidney function.  We’re adding a new supplement to his daily mix to try to boost his kidneys and the vet has recommended low protein food for a while, so we’re waiting on that prescription.  

Update day 64:  Wow, day 64 – we’re hopefully close to the finish line with this.  Someone else we know had to go an extra two weeks with medication but recently got a clean bill of health so we are hopeful.  Goose had another down turn and we started on a few days of shots plus some antibiotics – we think he has some kind of secondary bacterial infection.  We had to adjust dosages a little as he was throwing up but now seems to be back on track and feeling better again.  

The issue of cat overpopulation is a growing concern, leading to countless kittens born without homes each year. One effective way to combat this crisis is through sterilization or spaying/neutering. It takes a village and you are crucial in this. 

Step 1: Ensure Vaccination

Before proceeding with sterilization, it’s crucial to prioritize the cat’s health and safety. Many diseases can be transmitted while in the hospital setting, especially in high-volume clinics like low-cost options. To prepare your feline friend, make sure they have received their 3 in 1 or FVCRP vaccines. Having at least two doses of the vaccine is essential to ensure the cat or kitten is fully protected. For more information about vaccines and where to get them, visit our comprehensive guide: Shots, Shots, Shots!: What You Need to Know About Vaccines.

Step 2: Secure an Appointment

Appointments for spaying or neutering can be challenging to come by and often fill up rapidly, especially at low-cost clinics. As soon as you welcome a cat into your home, regardless of their age, call to make an appointment for their spay or neuter procedure. Early booking increases the likelihood of securing a slot, so don’t delay.

Keep in mind that low-cost clinics may require frequent checks for appointment openings, so stay vigilant in your quest to provide responsible pet ownership or with helping your area reduce the overpopulation crisis.

Low Cost Clinics: 

California Database Search:   SpayCalifornia

Riverside:  The Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center – Spay/Neuter ( 

Ontario:  Ontario Spay and Neuter 

Loma Linda Walk in Same Day (go early):  Services — Loma Linda Animal Hospital ( 

Step 3: Seek Financial Assistance

We understand that the financial aspect of sterilization can be a concern for many individuals and families. If you need financial assistance to cover the costs of spaying or neutering, consider reaching out to organizations like Actors & Others or exploring the resources available on POPCO.

Actors & Others :  Actors and Others for Animals : Spay / Neuter Assistance, Pet Over Population 

 POPCO: Riverside County Residents ( 

Sterilization is a vital step in reducing cat overpopulation and ensuring the welfare of our feline friends. By following these steps and seeking assistance when needed, you can make a significant difference in curbing the kitten crisis and promoting responsible pet ownership. Together, we can create a safer and healthier environment for cats and kittens across our communities.

In California, it’s important to note that rescue organizations cannot rehome cats and kittens unless they are fully vaccinated, microchipped, and sterilized. These measures are not only essential for the health and well-being of the feline population but also contribute to responsible pet ownership.

Caring for our feline friends is a top priority, and one essential aspect of their well-being is vaccination. Act 2 Rescue understands the importance of protecting our furry companions from common feline diseases. In this blog post, we’ll provide valuable information about the FVRCP vaccine, vaccination schedules for kittens and cats, as well as some important considerations regarding vaccines.

The FVRCP Vaccine: A Triple Shield

The FVRCP vaccine is a superhero in the world of cat health, guarding against three common feline diseases: feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR), calicivirus (C), and panleukopenia (P). These diseases can wreak havoc on a cat’s health, and vaccination is the key to preventing them.

Kitten & New Cat Vaccination Schedule: Building Immunity

For kittens & cats, the initial vaccination series is crucial in building their immunity fortress. Here’s a typical schedule:

First Vaccination: Usually administered at around 6 to 8 weeks of age. In rescue’s, this may be done at 1 lb/4 weeks if the kittens are healthy.

Second Vaccination: Given 3 to 4 weeks after the first shot (around 10-12 weeks of age). In rescue, this might be as soon as 2 weeks after the first vaccine.

Third Vaccination: Not needed in adult cats. It is administered another 3 to 4 weeks after the second shot (around 14-16 weeks of age). In rescue, this is done until they reach 16 weeks, regardless of whether it requires more than three vaccines. Mother’s milk can contain antigens that interfere with vaccine effectiveness, so it’s important to persist while in the rescue setting.

These initial vaccinations lay the foundation for a strong immune response to these diseases, helping kittens grow into healthy adults and keeping house cats safe from illnesses that may be brought in through shoes, bags, etc.

Booster Shots: Maintaining Protection

After the initial series, booster shots are crucial to maintain immunity. The frequency of boosters depends on various factors, including the specific vaccine used and the cat’s risk factors. In general:

One-Year Booster: It’s important to update the FVRCP vaccine annually, even if your cat stays indoors. Deadly diseases can linger in the environment, potentially endangering your cat.

Rabies Vaccine: This vaccine can be given after 4 months of age and is important for cats visiting groomers or boarding facilities. Indoor-only cats may not need this annually as there is not really a risk of exposure; consult your vet for guidance.

FELV/FIV Vaccines: These are typically unnecessary unless your cat is exposed to FELV/FIV-positive cats or roams outdoors. Act 2 Rescue advises caution regarding these vaccines due to the potential for “vaccine-induced false positives.”

Understanding Vaccine-Induced False Positives

Vaccination against FELV/FIV can lead to false positives on SNAP tests, as the vaccine stimulates the production of antibodies that the test detects. It’s crucial to consult your veterinarian and consider a SNAP test before vaccinating for these diseases, especially if you have a healthy cat.

If your cat tests positive on a SNAP test, consider further PCR testing, as SNAP tests can yield false positives.

Low Cost Options: 

In Riverside:  The Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center – Vaccinations ( 

San Gabriel for Rescued Animals only (No Pets):  Services | SGV Animal Advocates ( 

Consult Your Veterinarian

Remember that the vaccination schedule should be tailored to your cat’s individual needs and local disease prevalence. Annual veterinary check-ups are essential to ensure your cat’s vaccinations are up-to-date and to receive guidance on their overall health.

Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians. Please verify the accuracy of this information with a qualified veterinarian. Act 2 Rescue is not responsible for any adverse outcomes resulting from the information provided. Your cat’s health should always be overseen by a licensed veterinarian.


At Act 2 Rescue, we share your passion for helping unhoused cats, and we understand the frustration that can arise when it feels like there’s no one to turn to. We receive hundreds of phone calls each week from compassionate individuals like you, but our resources are limited, and we want to shed light on why we may sometimes be unable to accept cats immediately. This blog is dedicated to providing guidance on what to do when you find a cat in need and how you can make a difference.

Step 1: Check for a Microchip & Seek Medical Attention If Needed Immediately

One of the first things to do when you encounter an unhoused cat is to check for a microchip. Don’t assume that friendly cats are “community cats.” It’s incredibly challenging for a cat, especially a friendly one, to survive on the streets. They lack the instincts needed to protect themselves and may not know how to hunt. If you find a friendly cat, take it to a veterinarian to have it scanned for a microchip. It is free and no appointment is needed. If there’s no microchip, proceed with the following steps.

If the cat needs medical attention, please don’t wait for help. It needs to get to a vet or worst case the shelter (which will pry euthanize but will end the suffering). Be aware some vets have extremely high pricing due to the shortage of vets. Be careful of this. See Veterinarians we Love! ( for recommendations.

Step 2: Do Not Relocate the Animal

Resist the urge to relocate the cat. Relocation will take the animal away from the little protection it may have in a local colony or even people helping feed it. Relocation is a delicate process because a new cat in an area will likely be a target of attacks from established colonies. 

Step 3: Provide Food and Water

Friendly cats are often unable to fend for themselves outdoors. If the cat is friendly, please try to find options for it besides an outdoor setting. Please give them food and water at minimum. Friendly cats are often unable to hunt and will likely suffer and slowly perish. New cats will inevitably take the place of the other cats. A small fixed colony of ferals is very healthy for the environment to control pests. Unfixed colonies can quickly spiral out of control, leading to hundreds of offspring.

Step 4: Secure the Cat or Kittens

 Secure the cat or kittens in a safe location. This could be a large dog kennel, bathroom or extra bedroom with few hiding places. 

If you’re dealing with kittens, it’s essential to monitor them for a few hours before taking them in, as they may have a mother who is their primary source of nutrition. Capturing the mother along with the kittens is ideal. Kittens without teeth need to be bottle-fed and have their waste stimulated every 2-4 hours. They also require a low heat source, like a pet-safe heating pad. 

Step 5: Call for Rescue Support

Rescue organizations operate primarily on volunteer efforts and often have limited budgets. When seeking rescue support, be prepared for volunteers who are juggling overwhelming demands.  If you find a rescue who can assist you, please also check to make sure they are a safe rescue with good outcomes. If you can foster the cat or kitten and prepare them for adoption by ensuring they are vaccinated, sterilized, and microchipped, you significantly increase the chances our being able to assist you. If you are able to do this, please text 951-444-9108 and ask for assistance. You can also email us at Be aware we can miss messages in the volumes we receive so plesae message again if you don’t get an answer in 24 hours.

Another humane option is to call the animal shelter and ask if you can foster for them. They will assist you with getting the kitty prepped for adoption. Once adoptable, they can put it in windows or adopt out. This option doesn’t have the safeguards of rescues checking the adopters so you can also ask a rescue to pull your foster from the shelter until together you can find a safe home. (Be aware, even fostering for the shelter, if the animal gets sick, it will be euthanized). Our rescue does assist shelter fosters when animals are ill or if they need behavioral assistance and has pulled from the shelter so the foster has a more vetted adopter. Contact us at the above number/email if you need support with this. 

If you are fostering, we offer behavioral assistance.  text “woof” to (951) 261-8100 to receive 30 days of Petcademy support 

Step 6: Continue to Assist

If you’re unable to foster, search for a suitable foster and continue to assist in finding a home for the cat. Even if you give your cat to a rescue, your help in locating potential adopters can be invaluable.

Caring for cats in distress is a shared responsibility, and together, we can make a significant impact on their lives. While we may sometimes be unable to accept cats immediately due to limited resources, your dedication and proactive steps can save lives. Remember, every small effort counts in providing a better future for our feline companions. This experience has probably shown you the critical need for rescues which are privately funded. Please consider monthly donations to our rescue to assist us in continuing this vital community support.