Bringing home a new cat or kitten is such an exciting time! For your cat, it is a life-changing moment that may be stressful. Cats have very long memories, so you want to make the best first impression possible. The following tips will help create a smooth transition to your home for your new cat.
Prepare before adoption
You’ll want to get the necessary supplies ready before you bring home your new cat. Take a trip to the pet store for litter, a litter box, a scooper, food, treats, toys, and bedding.
Consider purchasing Feliway Classic Spray. Feliway mimics cat pheromones, which reduces their stress. You can spray it on bedding, carriers, or in your vehicle. Never spray it directly on your cat.
Decide where you will set up the litter box in your home. It needs to be easily accessible for your cat and away from where other pets in the home might disturb it.
For the first few days in your house, it’s best for the cat to only have access to a small area, like a bedroom or bathroom. After acclimating, your cat can explore larger parts of the house.
Bring your cat home in a carrier
Before placing your cat in the carrier, place a soft blanket or towel in the bottom of the crate. Spray Feliway in their carrier before placing your cat inside.
Place the carrier on the floorboard behind the front seat, if possible. This is the most secure place for your cat to be when in their carrier.
Play classical music at a low volume while in the car to further relax your cat.
When you get home, place the carrier in a quiet area of your home near your cat’s food, water, and litterbox. Open the carrier and allow the cat to exit when they are ready.
Create a cat sanctuary
Cats need to feel like they are safe and secure to be successful in their new home. Since cats appreciate predictability, moving into a new home can be difficult for many adult cats. Kittens may adjust more quickly than adult cats.
Provide your cat lots of things that they will enjoy, such as:
- Perches at different heights or cat trees
- Comfortable bedding
- Things to hide in such as boxes or covered beds
- A litterbox of their own
When you get home, place the carrier in the cat’s new area near their food and water, open the carrier and allow the cat to exit when they are ready.
Introducing your cat to other pets in the home
Take your time introducing your new cat to other pets in your home. First impressions are very lasting for cats. For the best results, you want the meeting to go well.
Keep all other pets away from your cat’s sanctuary place until your new pet has had a chance to get adjusted, eat, and use the litterbox.
Once your new cat has settled into his new home (this could take a few days or weeks), you can allow the new cat to explore your home while placing your other cat (s) in the cat sanctuary room. This will allow the other cats to get used to the new cat’s smells.
The cats may smell each other through the cracks in the door or a pet gate. These are all great ways of getting your cats used to each other before meeting each other.
You can read more in our Introducing Cats resource.