Moving from one residence to another can be difficult for people and even more so for a new cat or kitten when they first come to your home. When a cat joins your family, the animal may suspect they have landed somewhere in outer space because everything is unfamiliar and possibly frightening.
You can help your new cat feel welcome and comfortable when you bring them home. Here are the best ways to do that:
- Provide a safe, limited space for your cat, such as a guest room, home office, or other space that’s separate from the rest of your house. Keep the doors to other rooms closed so the cat won’t feel overwhelmed by the size of their new environment. Make sure that the cat’s space contains no toxic plants, cleaning products, or electric wires that could harm them.
- Your cat may decide to hide for a few days, or even weeks, while they become accustomed to your home. Be patient with them and give them the time they need to feel comfortable. Spend quiet, short periods with the cat at first. You can read, do quiet hobbies, and enjoy similar calm activities. Be available often enough that the cat can come to you when they’re ready.
- Show your cat where the essentials, like food, water, and litter boxes, are. Place their litter boxes a good distance away from their eating area. Cats, like people, don’t want to eat near their bathroom. Remember, the recommendation for litter boxes is one for every cat plus one. If you have one cat, they should have two litter boxes.
- Because cats need to scratch their claws, show them where you want them to scratch, whether that’s on a post, cardboard pads, or sisal rope. Every cat will scratch, so make sure that the activity is done on your terms.
- During the first few days, feed your cat small amounts of food several times throughout the day so that they become accustomed to receiving good things from you. Always use positive rewards like toys, treats, and gentle praise.
- Go slow with hugs and cuddles. Let the cat show you that they’re ready to be petted through head bumps and purring. Keep your voice low and try to avoid making loud noises or fast motions until well after they’ve settled in.
- If you have other pets in your home, wait until your new cat seems comfortable before you introduce them. When your cat has grown confident about their new surroundings, they’ll be more likely to adopt well to other animals. Introductions should be done slowly.