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Introducing A New Cat To Your Home

Introducing A New Cat To Your Home

Introducing A New Cat To Your Home: Bringing a new cat or kitten home for the first time can be exciting! However, the uncertainty that comes with adopting a cat can be nerve-wracking. 

Do you have everything they need? Will they like your home? Will they get along with your other pets?

Whether you are bringing home your first, second or fifth cat, preparing your home for your new arrival is extremely important. Adjusting to a new home can be a stressful and frightening experience for a new cat. Patience and understanding are crucial in ensuring that your new addition is comfortable and feels at home.

Knowing what to expect and prepare will go a long way in making the transitions (for you and your cat) all the easier!

Introducing A New Cat To Your Home - cat laying near window

Introducing A New Cat To Your Home

Their New Home

It is totally natural for your family member to take some time to adjust to their new surroundings; after all, they are adjusting to a new environment and routine with new expectations and home rules. We would be the same! Time, patience, consistency, and affection do wonders in helping a new cat feel secure in its new home.

Periods of transition can last a few days, a few weeks, or a few months, with adult cats needing more time to transition and adjust.

Tips To Make Your New Cat Comfortable Include:

Introducing A New Cat To Your Home - dog and cat

Introducing A New Cat To Your Home

Preparing a Safe Room

New cats are often nervous and like to hide, while they become used to your home. A safe room or sanctuary will provide your new cat with the quiet, safety and hidey-holes they need while becoming familiar with the sights and smells of their new home. Cardboard boxes and sheets make the ideal hiding spots for when your new cat comes home.

Equip their safe room with food and water bowls as well as a litter box. This is important as timid and anxious cats may not eat for the first 24 to 48 hours but may develop temporary diarrhea from stress.

You may try and entice your furry friend to eat, tasty treats such as salmon or tuna. However, if they have not eaten in over 48 hours it is recommended to consult your local vet for additional advice.

Getting To Know You

Spending time with your new cat is a great way for them to get to know you! They may be anxious and growl but will begin to relax and soften as they spend more time with you. In the beginning, you will want to have frequent visits for short periods of time. This can mean directly interacting with your cat (playing or petting) or simply occupying the same space as them.

It is also recommended to remove large pieces of furniture, such as beds and couches as it is much easier to interact with a cat hiding in a box than one hiding under a bed! Place a t-shirt or piece of clothing with your scent, so they may get to know you when you are not with them.

Transition Beyond The Safe Room

When you feel that your new cat is comfortable and have established a trusting relationship, they are ready to explore the rest of the house. Be sure to begin this process together so you can supervise. Allow your furry friend to explore your home in stages as too many new spaces may be overwhelming and frightening.

It is important to remember that every cat is different and introducing them to your home is dependant on their personality. Some transitions may take only a few days where other cats will take weeks! Be patients and your new companions will thank you!

Introducing A New Cat To Your Home - cat in box

Introducing A New Cat To Your Home

Your New Cat And Resident Pets

Adopting a new cat can change your life for the better. However, if you already have one or more pets at home, introducing a new feline into this dynamic can be tricky. Introductions must be gradual to ensure both pets are happy and comfortable.

Depending on the personalities of your pets, it may take some time for relationships to grow. Although some cats become fast friends with other pets, others simply do not and learn to avoid each other.

There is no set guide to a successful cat introduction, but there are certain things pet owners can do to ensure the safety and comfort of their furry friends.

Introduce your cat to their new home and siblings gradually. This allows them to get used to the new sights and smells at their own pace. Keep your existing pets separated, Not only is this for safety, but this ensures that both animals are calm and comfortable when meeting for the first time.

Keep Them Separated At First

As explained above, create a special room for your new cat that acts as a safe place to get used to their surroundings and allow you to control how and when your cats meet.

Many specialists recommend that your cats should be able to hear and smell each other. This can be done by feeding them on either side of the door, or playing and handing out treats to create positive experiences for each pet.

Gradual Introductions

Once you feel that your new cat is calm enough and that both pets are ready, you can try and visually introduce your companions. This can be done through a screen door or tall baby gate.

Continue to feed and play with each animal within view of each other. As this is a new step, it may take some time for each animal to get used to each other. It is important to remember not to force interaction and playing as this may induce additional stress!

Keep An Eye For Warning Signs

Change can be upsetting for any animal. Your resident pet may feel that their space is being violated and your new cat may struggle to get used to a new environment and fur-siblings. If either animal shows signs of aggression, begin the introduction process again. This reduces the threat your animals feel and ensure that neither animal lashes out or gets hurt.

Some warning Signs include:

Face to Face Introduction

The final step in introducing a new cat to your home is supervised face to face interaction. Your pets may ignore each other or growl and walk away. It will take some time for your pets to recognise that the other is a friend. It is crucial to keep an eye on and let each animal take their own pace.

It is normal for pets to play with a fair amount of batting and pouncing. However, you should not allow your animals to show any forms of aggression (excessive hissing, growling and biting). If you feel that one or both pets are showing aggression distract them so they have an opportunity to retreat and calm down.

Introducing A New Cat To Your Home - people holding a dog and cat
Introducing A New Cat To Your Home - cat sleeping under blanket

Introducing A New Cat To Your Home

Introducing a new cat to your home will depend on their personalities and previous experience. If you are unsure about their transition and overall health, be sure to contact your local vet for advice on how to best proceed.

Being patient and showing consideration and love will pay off when your new companion is happy and comfortable in their new home!

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