Expert Tips for Introducing a New Cat into Your Home
Having a new feline friend as part of your family sure seems dreamy and exciting. You can finally get slaved by a cat with all its fluffiness, companionship and the never-ending supply of chin rubs and purring.
Bringing a cat to a new home, with all-new surroundings, can be the trickiest part of introducing her to your life, though. Depending on the behavior of the cat, it might take quite long for her to get used to her new forever home. But with the right dose of patience, preparation, and knowledge, this tricky part will be a piece of cake for both of you!
Whether you’re having a new pet/cat at home, or you’re growing your pet family, this article will handle the knowledge part of the introductory phase for you. Discover the tips to preparing your home for your cat and how to help her get accustomed to the four corners of your home!
Preparing Your Home for Your New Cat
Your home should welcome your new cat with a warm and interesting environment at first glance. To make your home the perfect new abode for your cat, follow these tips:
#1: Dedicate a small area that your cat can call and mark as her own.
One thing to remember here is that cats are territorial animals, so they might get uneasy and extra wary when being introduced to their new home, especially when she’s not your first pet at home.
To ensure she feels safe during her first few days, separate an area your cat can call as her own. Space should be wide enough for the bed, food and water bowls, litter box (make sure this is away from the food and water bowls), some cat toys and space for when you hang out with your cat. It should be sectioned away from other pets at your home to avoid scaring her off with unfamiliar scents of other animals.
#2: Check out any cracks or holes the size (or larger) than your new cat.
Cats are curious creatures, and if they see any holes in the walls interesting, they’ll try to squeeze in there, only to find out there’s nothing in there and now she’s trapped. Cover these holes whenever possible to avoid getting your cat trapped (and calling a fireman to rescue your kitty).
#3: Buy the cat necessities in advance.
Cat food, accessories, scratching posts – buy anything your cat will need during her first few weeks or days before bringing your new cat home. You don’t want to make an impression as a human who starves his/her cat, and you wouldn’t want your sofa to serve as a scratching post, right?
#4: Remind everyone in your family to carefully approach your new cat once you bring her home.
Too many strangers approaching at once can be too much for your new cat, especially when she’s just starting to get familiar with her surroundings. So make it a house rule to approach the cat one person at a time, at a safe distance, and with an interval visit period.
Bringing Your New Cat Home
The most exciting part of having a new cat is bringing her home and thinking of all the bonding time you’ll spend together! So to make sure she adapts well to her new environment,
#1: Put her in a carrier during the ride home.
The ride home can be traumatic for your cat since it’s another new environment and the bumps along the way might scare her. The carrier makes her feel safer and prevents her from rolling, jumping or scratching everywhere in the car out of fear.
#2: If you have other pets at home, introduce your new cat to them while she’s in a carrier.
It’s best to keep a barrier between her and your other pets during the introduction phase. Do this introduction for an hour and a few times a day until they slowly get accustomed to each other’s scent and presence, or until your new cat feels confident to socialize with the others.
#3: Let her explore her new surroundings at her own pace.
Don’t be disappointed when she avoids you at first, or if she stays at her cat bed/carrier all day. She might just be shy getting accustomed to her new home while you’re around. Sometimes, she might choose to explore at night, when everyone’s sound asleep! Just keep sitting near her and encourage her to approach you little by little.
#4: Give your cat the same food she’s given at the shelter or previous foster home.
Chances are, your new cat might not eat much while she’s adapting to her new home. It’s best to give her the same cat food she’s given before, then slowly feed your cat with some quality cat foods. If she’s not eating for a few days, it might be good to consult a vet.
#5: Keep observing her behavior every day.
Is there anything or anyone at home that scares her off? Which things, pets or humans catch her interest the most? Take note of everything that scares and interests her to help enhance a more safe environment for her.
The Furry Takeaway
Helping your cat get familiar and happy with your new home is like introducing a kid to his/her new school. She needs your full-time guidance and patience while she takes in the new things, creatures and humans around her. Not all cats are made with the same behaviors, so give her some room and time to build up her confidence in her new home! Once she’s all good, you’ll find yourself trying hard to keep up with her limitless energy!
Catherine Sullivan is an avid cat lover and owns a lovely ragdoll named Mimi. She shares her experiences as a cat owner on her personal blog, Cats.How.