Congratulations on your newest family addition! Cats have a unique ability to bring joy and comfort to those who love them. Your new family member will undoubtedly make you laugh and feel loved, but what do you do now? How do you best prepare your kitty for its new home so it will feel safe and secure?
First, you need to prepare kitty’s space in advance. Your new cat will likely be scared and apprehensive, so it’s important to prepare a space where kitty can relax and feel secure. You’ll want to find a small room, with little spaces for kitty to hide, but big enough for a litter box and fresh food and water. Remember, cats don’t like to eat near their litter box, so there should be enough space to separate the two items!
Now that you’re prepared for kitty’s arrival, it is important to isolate your new furry friend for seven to ten days. When you first arrive home, open the carrier/crate door and let them come out on their own. It’s also a good idea to leave the carrier/crate in the small space with your kitty for support, but leave it near a wall for an added feel of security. As far as your presence, make sure you just sit and quietly observe the kitty — don’t try to grab them or force them to be held. This is a crucial time for your kitty to adjust and find a new routine.
Be sure to visit the room often and bring a present each time, such as treats or a toy. Everyone in the family should make their rounds so kitty will become familiar with everyone. Remember not to grab kitty or make fast movements around them. You can try to coax them to come to you, and if they do, give them a gentle chin pet! And don’t be afraid to talk to kitty — let them get used to your voice, as long as you speak gently and quietly.
When the time comes when kitty greets you at the door, possibly meowing with their tail straight up, it’s time to tour the home! But you must make sure your home is safe and prepared for your cat’s curiosity. Make sure there are no doors or windows open and try to limit the hiding spaces where kitty could not be reached. If you notice kitty getting stressed, it’s time to go back to the safe room. Give kitty a few more days in the safe room, visiting as often as before, and try again when they are calm. Once you observe your kitty remaining calm in the home with your supervision, they’re then ready to roam freely around the home.
Every kitty is different. Some cats will come to you right away while others may take weeks. Read the cues from your kitty and let them decide when to advance. Taking the time now to properly introduce your kitty to its new home will build a strong foundation for your relationship for years to come!
BC SPCA. (2023, September 13). How do I welcome a new cat into my home? – BC SPCA. https://spca.bc.ca/faqs/welcome-new-cat-home/
Article by Jennifer Walters