As any cat lover out there can tell you, nothing can beat the feeling of opening up your home to a new cat. There is just so much for you to learn and explore together, and you might want to get started on all of your dreams for a new cat right away. However, you’ll need to put all of that on hold and make sure your new cat feels safe, welcome, and happy in its new home.
Welcoming Home a New Cat
Whether or not your cat adjusts to the new environment around you can depend on a number of things, such as the breed of the cat, the age, and whether it is a rescued cat. However, there are some things that are universal precautions that you can take.
1- Give the Cat Space
No matter how acquainted you are with cats, you’re probably going to want to see that cat turn into your best friend on the first day it comes home, but that’s not going to happen in a few hours or days. Be patient, and let the cat get used to your home.
One very important thing you can do is keep the cat in a smaller area at first. Cats, being territorial animals, tend to get uneasy when there is a lot of unexplored space around. This is why you can keep them in a separate room, for example, so they can slowly explore the home little by little.
However, this space isn’t just physical – it’s also metaphorical. If there are a lot of people in the home, try not to crowd the cat or come to it all at once. In the first few days, make the cat feel safe and reduce the overall movement in and out of the room.
2- Give it a Place to Hide
Most cats out there love tiny nooks and crannies, because they are excellent places to hide and give the cat the best possible view for upcoming predators. In your home, the cat won’t encounter any such predators, but it will still work based on its instinct and look for a place to hide in to make itself comfortable.
If possible, you should try and provide such a place for the cat that is also comfortable and safe, such as a box with blankets, or a cat bed. Sometimes, the cat may not like the box or bed, but it may have more to do with the positioning than the actual item. Try moving it so the cat can directly view the door or the windows and so it feels safer.
3- De-brief your Family
If you are living with other people, you might want to sit and talk with them about the cat and what it needs. They will need to be informed, especially if there are children around, that the cat shouldn’t be disturbed or annoyed, especially in the first few days of its stay.
4- Provide the Essentials
If you’re keeping the cat inside a room or space, you need to make sure that the cat has everything that it will need as it adjusts to your home. Make sure it has enough food, water, and a litter box that it can use. These first few days are essential in building healthy habits for your cat so make sure everything is in order!
5- Choose the Right Cat Litter
What litter you want to use for your cat can seem like a trivial problem, but it is actually a very important decision for you as a pet owner. You can choose between the various types, granulated, clumping, or natural litters, depending on what you can afford and what best suits your cat over time.
Most cat owners tend to go for clumping litter, as it avoids smell and there are little chances of it being dragged out with your cat. However, granulated litter is cheaper and easier to use. Plus, if you are concerned about ingestion or the effect on the environment, you can go for eco-friendly versions such as wood and paper based litter. It all depends on your usage, your cat’s habits, and your affordability.
6- Meet the Nutritional Needs
Another important decision for you will be the kind of food you go for. Depending on your cat’s age, you may have to choose different foods as well. For example, most brands usually have different sets of food for kittens and adult cats, as they have different nutritional needs.
7- Let it Scratch
I know, I know. You’re worried about those sofas and curtains, aren’t you? Well, scratching is a thing that cats must do to keep their nails in shape, but that doesn’t have to happen at the cost of your furniture. Buy your cat alternatives such as scratching posts and place them in the room that your cat is in, so that it can learn to scratch there instead of furniture.
8- Cat-proof the Home
Just like when you bring home a child, you need to check the home and make sure its safe for cats to explore. Take care of loose wiring, holes in walls, and anything that can be potentially dangerous to your new cat.
Cats, especially kittens, can climb into holes in the walls and get stuck there, which can be a serious problem. Trust me, you don’t want to call in a fireman to your home and have to break the wall to get the kitten out of there, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
9- Protect your Belongings
The cat isn’t the only one at risk – it’s a good idea to keep delicate items and decoration pieces out of harm’s way when the cats starts exploring. Height isn’t usually an issue – cats like the comfort of sitting at heights and surveying the view below them, so keep your breakable items somewhere safe, such as inside a closet or in a closed box.
10- Meeting other Pets
If you have other pets, you will have to do some extra work too. Keeping the door closed for the first few weeks and only allowing supervides interactions is a good way to start. However, keep in mind that cats are not generally pack animals, so don’t expect your cat to become best buddies in just a few days.
Under some circumstances, you may have to consider some different aspects.
If you have recently adopted a cat, you may have to take different precautions. For example, the cat may already be litter trained at the shelter where you got it from, and so you won’t have to worry about training.
Rescue cats, however, are a different story. If you rescued an animal that wasn’t previously at a shelter, you may have to train him or her into using the litter. In this case, if the animal has not been to a vet, or has injuries, you will need to take care of all of the medical needs as well as the average needs of the cat.
When it comes to taking in kittens, keep some things in mind. For example, as mentioned above, kittens and adult cats have different nutritional needs, as well as litter needs. Depending on how old the kitten is, it may need some training on using its litter box as well.
At the end of the day, giving all of these, along with an atmosphere of love, care, and comfort will guarantee that your cat will build a strong bond with you in its new forever home.