Whether bringing home a rescue cat, kitten or adult cat, the rule is to let your new cat set the pace. Cats can be highly sensitive to their environment, and for them, territory is everything.
You’ll need to plan to make that first few days all about supporting their adjustment to their new home. It might take your cat a few hours, or a few weeks to get comnfortable. You’ll have to follow their lead, but there are several things you can do to set them up for success.
Make sure to designate a space for your cat to adjust, from the moment he comes home. This can be a bedroom or bathroom with enough room for his litter box, food, water, toys and bed. Before bringing him home, set up his space fully. You’ll want to set his carrier down upon arrival and let him come out, explore, drink, eat and find his safe space on his own terms.
If you can give your cat the support he needs to make his new apartment feel like home, you’ll have a loyal companion for life. Here are simple tips to help you bring your new cat home.
A Room of Their Own
Start small with your new cat or kitten, and give them a room of their own to adjust. Place their litter box in a corner, and set up food, water, scratching pads, toys and something to climb on nearby. When you bring your furbaby home, set the carrier down in the room, open it up and leave. Let the cat come out on his own terms, explore and sniff out the room, use the litter box, have a few sips of water and maybe scratch a little.
You can check in periodically, but don’t be surprised if he hides for a while. Some cats will open up instantly, but for many cats, it can take a day or two to feel at ease. Once he seems at ease, open the door to the room and let him explore his new home.
Toys, Scratching Pads and Climbing
Your new kitten or cat will certainly want to play at some point, once they’re feeling up to it. Laser pointers, catnip infused toy mice, scratching pads and climbing structures are just a few ways to keep your cat stimulated and active at home. Scratching posts can be especially helpful at deterring your new cat from scratching furniture, and the more climbing structures you provide, the less likely your cat will climb the blinds or curtains.
Food & Water
Choose a high quality food for your new cat, based on their age and their particular physical needs. Kittens need different nutrients than adult cats, and elderly cats or cats with health issues may need entirely different nutrients or supplements to their diets. Consult a veterinarian before dropping a load of money on expensive cat food, and find out what their preferred brands are. It’s a good idea to find out what food they’ve been eating, and starting with that. You’ll need to slowly mix it with the food choice you prefer to help their bodies adjust. Never change a cat’s food instantly, as this can cause stomach distress and turn them off their food.
Be sure to keep fresh, cool water available to them at all times, as well. You can invest in a water purifying fountain, or simply place a big bowl of fresh water near to their food, and be sure to continually refresh it at the beginning and end of each day.
Let the Cat Come to You
Cats are unlike dogs in that, generally, they need to set the pace and determine the relationship on their own terms. Cats are incredibly loving animals, but when they first come home, they may need a while to adjust and feel comfortable. Don’t push it by trying to pick up or grab at your new cat. Let him come to you when he’s ready. Make it easy for him by giving him all of his creature comforts and respecting his need for territory. When he does come to you, offer him some good chin scratches and it’s likely you’ll bond instantly.