Bringing a new cat home can be scary and stressful, but it’s important to plan and prepare to ensure your newest addition feels safe and right at home! Whether you’re bringing home your first cat or fourth, it’s always a good idea to prepare and make changes to your environment to allow your fur baby to fully integrate and adapt. The team here at Pet Boutique love sharing insight and advice with our lovely fur parents, but please keep in mind that this is not professional advice, and any serious concerns should be brought to a specialist. We also recommend carrying out your own research before adopting as different species may have special requirements and needs that we haven’t covered!
Prepare a room
Setting up a designated room for your cat’s arrival will make the transition to a new home easier and will allow your cat to feel around and learn to be comfortable. We suggest keeping your cat/kitten in one room for about 2-3 days – this encourages safety and gives the cat time to establish their territory. It may be difficult to provide a whole room, but the area must be quiet, well-ventilated, secure, and remain a comfortable temperature. Don’t forget to cat-proof the area! Check out additional resources to find out how to make the environment hazard-free as well as preventing any escapes.
Provide the room with cat food, water, and litter
Getting used to a new space becomes much easier when you have little comforts and luxuries – and this is the same for cats! Make sure to provide the safe space with water and food, as well as toys and perhaps even a scratching post. Check out Pet Boutique’s collection of Snuffle Mats and Balls to help engage your new cat and help make the transition easier! The idea is to show your cat that they’re being cared for as this teaches them to trust you and their new home. Most cats prefer to drink water away from their food so keep this in mind when laying out their food and water. It’s also a good idea to provide a box or something of the sort that your cat can hide in. This is because new cats are often shy and nervous, and hiding gives them comfort. Keep in mind: shyer cats may not eat as much in the first few days, try giving them tasty treats like canned tuna or salmon – if you’re still not successful it’s best to consult with a vet. Lastly, don’t forget to set up the cat litter tray at least 1.5m away from food, water, and bedding – the more private the better!
Avoid scaring your new cat
In addition to the safe space provided, we also recommend keeping the house quiet in the first few days and avoid making any loud, jarring noises. Unfamiliar sounds are likely to startle and scare your cat, creating a stressful environment where they don’t feel safe. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to introduce your cat on a quiet day instead of a busy occasion like Christmas or birthdays. As your cat acclimates and gets used to their new area, you may notice them hiding and keeping away from people – this is normal behaviour and should pass after the initial transition period ends.
Explore the house slowly
Cats are curious by nature and will want to explore their new house at their own pace. We recommend slowly introducing your cat to each room in the house after 2-3 days in one room. This will allow your new fur baby to explore their environment in a stress-free way without overwhelming their senses! This is also the time to slowly introduce your cat to the rest of the family – too much human attention at once can be scary so it’s best to do this gradually. Always supervise young children with new pets so that neither the child nor the cat gets hurt. Remember to teach your kids how to treat cats with respect to help establish a positive relationship between the family and the cat.
Keep your cat inside
Keeping your cats safe and happy is a top priority and this is encouraged by keeping your fur baby inside while they adapt to their new surroundings. We suggest keeping all doors and windows closed during this time to prevent them escaping and putting themselves in harm’s way. It’s also a good idea to desex your cat before you let them outside – some adoption places will desex before handing over to you, but this is not always the case and it is the parents’ responsibility to check this out. Best practice is to keep kittens inside for at least 6-8 weeks while adult cats will need at least 3-4 weeks (depending on how timid they are).
Love and care for your new cat!
It’s always exciting when a new member joins the family and cats are no exception to this! Once your cat has adapted to their new surroundings and feels comfortable, you’ll have a lifelong friend that provides you with love and comfort. Make sure to always be gentle with your cat and treat them with love and respect. Introducing a cat to its new home requires patience and understanding – some cats will acclimate quicker than others and it’s important to never force interactions or activities. As mentioned, this is in no way professional advice and we always recommend seeking out additional resources and opinions! The Pet Boutique team wish you all the best!