Help Your New Cat Adjust to Your HomeUpdated: April 14, 2023
"Allow your cat to decide when and how they want to interact with you. It’s best not to come on too strong by playing with, snuggling, or petting them without consent."
It can be exciting and wonderful to welcome a new cat into your home. However, it can also be a challenging time for both you and your furry friend as they adjust to their new environment. Due to their habitual nature, cats can become quickly disturbed by changes in their environment.
This article will offer pointers on how to introduce a new cat to your home, so they feel like a welcome member of your family in no time!
How To Prepare Your House For a Cat
To help your new cat settle in and become used to their new home, you must create a secure and safe environment. Here are tips for welcoming your new cat to your home.
Choose One Room for Your Cat to Settle In
Designate a specific room in your home as a safe haven for your cat. Pick a space that is not frequented by other people or pets, such as a spare bedroom. Move their water, food, and litter box into that room. Provide them with toys and other enrichment activities, and make time to play with them or just sit in the room with them, so they get used to you.
Provide a comfortable and warm sleeping space for your cat, too. Consider using our Pawtect® Blanket, a premium waterproof blanket made of faux fur fabric and our proprietary Sherpup® multi-layer material. Some cats prefer elevated resting spots that allow them to observe their surroundings. To accommodate this, provide them with multiple resting options at various levels, like window perches or cat towers.
Although some friendly and outgoing cats could be fine in a living room where they can be near their pet parents, it is still important to give them the time and space they need to feel safe and familiarize themselves with their new home.
Cat-Proof Your House
Ensure your cat's safety from potential risks by "cat proofing" your home. Hide cleaning supplies, medications, disinfectants, and DIY or decorating supplies. Check to see if any of your houseplants are toxic to cats. Secure any loose wires, electronic cords, or other dangling items that cats may see as toys and chew on. And remember, cats like to jump and climb, so be aware of any high-up breakables or unstable shelving.
Provide Hiding Places
Offer your new cat a variety of hiding places to help them feel comfortable in their new environment. They may be places such as under a bed, in a closet, or even cardboard boxes in different areas of the house. Cat beds and blankets should be used to provide a warm, comfy, and private environment. According to Pet Finder, a cat's territory holds great significance to them. Without it, they feel exposed and unprotected. When your furbaby retreats to one of these spots, it is best to let them be and avoid disturbing them. They have likely sought refuge there to feel more protected and safe.
Gather the Essentials
Make sure all of your cat's necessities are set up prior to their arrival. Your cat’s litter box should be put in an area away from high foot traffic. Have their feeding area and water bowl set up with a variety of food options for them (wet or dry) until you learn their food tastes. It’s best to keep the food and water bowls separate from each other. Have their bed and blankets available and be prepared to move them to areas they seem comfortable in. And provide them with toys and a scratching post to keep them entertained.
Be Aware of Escape Routes
During the first few days, your furbaby may feel uneasy and unfamiliar with the new environment. Because of that, they may try to escape. Partially opened windows or doors can prompt your cat to dart outside, so it is essential to keep all entrances securely closed. Block off pet flaps and chimneys is also recommended to prevent escape. It is necessary to establish rules and guidelines with all your household members during this period, including keeping track of the cat's whereabouts.
Give Your Cat the Necessary Time to Adjust
Once your cat has spent several days in their designated room and appears comfortable and self-assured, grant them access to the rest of the house. It may be helpful to limit the number of people in your home and allow your cat to explore the house one room at a time. Allow them to retreat to their safe space if needed. With patience and consistency, your cat will become comfortable and begin to explore freely in no time.
Allow Your Cat to Initiate Interactions
Allow your cat to decide when and how they would want to interact with you. Cats like to be in control, so it’s best not to come on too strong by playing with, snuggling, or petting them without consent. This doesn’t mean that you can’t give them attention, but be aware of their body language so as not to overwhelm or scare them.
Slowly Introduce Them to Other Pets at Home
The arrival of a new cat can upset other pets at home. Your current pets, whether other cats or dogs, might feel the need to assert dominance. It is crucial to handle the introduction period wisely to ensure a successful transition.
According to Paws, cats who have been spayed or neutered tend to be friendlier to other cats. In general, adult cats are more tolerant of kittens than other adults. However, when you introduce new kitten to cat, take things slowly and carefully. The existing cat may feel territorial and threatened by the presence of the new kitten and may react aggressively.
To prevent this, it is a good idea to keep the kitten in a separate room at first, so the cats can get used to each other's scent and presence without direct contact. After a few days, you can begin to introduce them gradually under close supervision. If the introduction is successful, the cats may eventually become friends and enjoy each other's company.
Consider Sleeping Arrangements
Cats usually prefer to sleep in comfortable, warm, and draft-free spots. They may sleep in a designated cat bed or blanket, your bed, or even on your furniture. Certain cats take pleasure in selecting new and occasionally unexpected sleeping spots. It is essential to recognize your cat's sleeping location as their own personal space. Teach your family members to respect your furbaby’s privacy and avoid disrupting them while resting.
How Long Does It Take for a Cat to Adjust to New Home?
It can vary from cat to cat. Some cats adjust within a few days, while others takes weeks or even months to feel comfortable in their new space. Generally, adult cats require more time than kittens to adapt to new environments, especially if they have been re-homed in the past. The adjustment period might cause them stress, and they may exhibit the following signs:
- destructive behaviors (excessive chewing, excessive scratching of inappropriate items at home)
- not eating or loss of appetite
- peeing and pooping outside their litter box
Welcoming a new cat into your home is so exciting! With these tips, you’ll be able to create a safe and comfortable space for your new kitty and ease their transition to their new home.
"If you permit your cat to sleep on your furniture at home, consider using a Pawtect® Pad and Pawtect® Blanket over their preferred spots to prevent messes and make for easy clean-up."
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