Your Cats’ First Week Home Pt.1
By Cece Gu
I adopted two orange tabbies when they were about three months old. In my experience, orange tabbies are generally very friendly cats and are really easy to bond with. While I bonded with one of them within about three days, the other one was extremely shy with me. But our bond started to form about after two weeks as he got more confident in his new environment. Here are some tips for gently and effectively introducing new cats to you and your home.
Tip #1: Give them space (don’t force anything). Give them personal space once they get home. That means letting them take the lead and not chasing them when they run or when they are trying to hide. Pay attention to negative feedback—such as when they flatten their ears or hiss—and respect the message: “Give me some space!” You want to let them get comfortable in your home.
Tip #2: Spend lots of time with them. Keep them indoors (always a good idea), so that they feel more safe and warm. Try to be in their presence and let them know that you are there to assure them it’s their home, too. Reading or doing work in a room with them is a way to get your work done while also letting them get used to sharing their space with you.
Tip #3: Pet them a lot if they allow it. Pet cats gently and considerately, letting them know when you want to pet them—maybe reach out a hand or finger slowly first to see their reactions. If they want to be petted or if they come to you, pet them a lot to make them feel more comfortable with you. Remember that most cats like it when you pet areas such as their cheeks, under their chin, or the backside of their ears. Avoid the areas that they dislike, such as their stomach area. Each cat is unique, though, so take your cues from your new pet.
Tip #4: Play with toys. Keep them active and fit. This is especially important for kitties since they get bored easily, especially if they are alone. This will reduce any stress or boredom they have. It is also a way to bring them out of their shells (builds confidence) and focus on an activity that they enjoy. Play is also a way to bond if they’re not in the mood to cuddle or eat.
Tip #5: Give them treats. This is a way to earn their trust. Sometimes using treats can be useful in getting cats, especially shy ones, used to being touched—you lure them to you and then can pet them more easily. Be generous and flexible when it comes to giving treats.
These tips will help you create a safe and wonderful home for your new feline housemates. Most of all, once you’ve given them time to settle in and get to know you, they’ll shower you with love and appreciation!
Edited by Alexis Meehan