By Tara McNabb
Edited by April Jones
Introducing a new cat to your home can be an exciting experience for everyone involved. But it’s important to remember that your new friend may be feeling the very opposite of excitement; cats are incredibly sensitive to changing environments, and they often experience heightened anxiety when put into a new living situation. The last thing you want to do is unknowingly cause more stress for your new friend due to a lack of preparation. By following these simple tips, you can make the transition process easier for both of you.
1. Cat Proof the House
Before you bring them home, do a walk-through of your house from a cat’s point of view. Although it may be impossible to eliminate all potential trouble areas (cats are notoriously curious!), it’s still important to look for any sharp objects or dangling wires that could easily injure your cat once they start exploring. The more comfortable they become in their new home, the more they will want to climb any tempting shelves or cupboards—so make sure that these areas are free of fragile belongings such as vases or porcelain figurines.
2. Dedicate a Quiet Space
One or two days before their arrival, be sure to find a quiet space where your new cat can remain undisturbed for a few days. This can be anywhere from a closet to a guest room or extra bathroom, as long as it’s away from the main foot traffic of the house. Include their litter box, a comfortable bed, some toys, and food and water. This is a crucial step that will allow them time to get familiar with the new sounds of your house at their own pace. Every so often, visit them in this space so they can get used to your voice and smell, but never force them to socialize. It will become obvious fairly soon whether your cat is ready to come out. Some cats only need a few hours to adjust, whereas others may need up to a week or more.
3. Meeting the Rest of the Gang
Once your new cat has shown signs that they are ready to leave their quiet space, it’s time to introduce them to the rest of your family. This step should not be rushed, and your cat should always have access to their quiet space in case they become overwhelmed and want to retreat. Instruct your family and visitors to avoid making loud or jarring noises while the cat is exploring the rest of the house because they can easily upset the cat at this stage. If you have other pets, you can introduce them to the new cat by separating them with a baby gate. This allows them to get used to each other’s presence without direct contact. While your new cat has access to their quiet space, place a baby gate between them and your other pets so they can gradually get acquainted.
While following these tips, remember to maintain your regular routine. This will speed up the transition process for your new cat by getting them familiar with your daily patterns. With patience and a bit of planning, you can ensure a smooth introduction for your new friend that will result in years of loving companionship.