Cat Adopter Resources

Introducing Your New Cat To Your Home

from our Feline Specialist, Colleen Hickman

Set Up a Sanctuary Space: your new cat will need a smaller space all their own to get used to the new surroundings. This space will need to have all of the essentials – comfy bed, food & water, litter box, scratching post, and solo toys.

Things to consider for optimal results:

    • Block off any areas that the cat can hide in that you can not access them from. You can leave the cat’s carrier or a cardboard box in the room to provide an appropriate and safe place to hide.
    • Using Feliway may help the cat relax
    • Classical music played softly may help the cat relax.
    • Do not force interaction with you, let them approach you in their own time.
    • During the cat’s time in the sanctuary room, feed 2-3 meals per day so they will associate you with good stuff.
    • Sit and talk quietly with the cat
    • Once the cat has had a chance to explore the sanctuary room, you can introduce interactive play.

Allow Your Cat to Explore the Home: your cat may stay in the sanctuary space for a few days or few weeks, it all depends on them. They will let you know when they are ready to come out of the room, by crying or scratching at the door. Let the cat explore at its own pace  – whether it wants to check out the whole house or if it just comes out of the room a few steps.

Things to consider for optimal results:

    • First, be sure to do a scan of your home. Secure the home for the cat’s safety, tidy up things like loose wires and cords, move or remove potentially poisonous houseplants, block off any areas that the cat can hide in that you can not access them from, makes sure hiding places like under the bed dont have too much clutter that it becomes dangerous, ensure there is nothing out like human food, plastic bags, or other things that could be harmful to the cat
    • Once your home is secure, prop open the door to the Sanctuary Space and allow the cat to choose to leave the room or not.
    • When the cat chooses to fully leave the room and explore, give him some time and space to learn the ins and outs of the new environment. The cat will likely find some hiding spaces and may even want to stay there for a little while he takes in the rest of the new environment from a safe place.

Welcome Your New Cat: welcome your new cat to the home and to your daily routine with plenty of treats, positive and loving talk, play time, and a consistent mealtime routine. Help them learn and understand desired behavior by positively reinforcing things you want your cat to do – like sitting on your lap or scratching the cat scratcher. 

Have Another Pet at Home? Here are the next steps in how to introduce your new cat to another pet.

 

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