Congratulations! You’ve decided to give a cat a forever home. There’s a lot to know when welcoming a new cat into the family, but don’t worry. Whether it’s your first cat, your second cat, or even your tenth cat, this guide will help you learn or remember the most important things when it comes to welcoming a new cat into your home.
Before welcoming a new cat, try to decide what age is right for your family. Although each cat has a unique personality, they require different care at each stage of life. While love, toys, and food are important at every stage of a cat’s life, their needs, both physical and mental, differ from kitten to kitten. You will need to research kittens, adult cats, and senior cats to determine which animal is the best fit for your family. Also, cats with special needs always need homes, and you may have the ideal place for a disabled cat.
Don’t forget to consider the animals that are already in your home. Make sure your furry family member will accept a new cat. If you have a shy male cat that you know hates other cats to the point of violence, don’t force a new cat on him. That’s not fair to your cat or other cats. And if you think your dog might be aggressive towards a cat, don’t get him. Again, it’s not fair to force animals to be friendly with other animals if it’s not in their nature. Some furry companions should just be furry children, and that’s normal. Try to get to know your cat or dog before you decide to bring a new cat home.
Before you bring a new cat into your home
Before you welcome a new cat, there are a few things you can do to make the homecoming easier.
Protect your home from cats
If you don’t already have a cat in your home, you may need to prepare your home for the feline invasion. Cats love to destroy things; destruction is in their constitution. Clear away anything you don’t want your cat’s paws to destroy. Some cats don’t like to smash your things, only things you give them, but until you know better, fragile items and jewelry may need to be put away.
For some cats, plants are an invitation to interact. For some cats, leaves and leaf fringe may be too attractive. So if your new kitty likes to feel greenery between her teeth or dirt on her paws, make sure your cat’s indoor jungle is filled with cat-friendly houseplants.
Cleaning products and chemicals should be kept under lock and key. This also applies to prescription medications.
Since cats are curious creatures, they can sniff out problems in your home where you wouldn’t expect them. Whether it’s a hair clip or a paper clip, cats are attracted to small objects they can sniff out. But these small items can be a choking hazard for cats.
As masters of escape, cats should make sure windows and doors leading outside are protected from tampering. The veterinary experts at The Spruce Pets offer some tips to prevent your cat from escaping.
Create a small safe space for the new cat.
Cats are territorial and when introduced to a new space, everything is a mystery. Some cats are excited about it and sniff out every nook and cranny of the new home. But other kitties need time to get used to all the new smells and sights. Hopefully, giving the cats a small space to explore first will prevent the kitten from getting very confused by the sensory overload of a new place.
Also, cats generally don’t like car rides, and arriving at the new home is just in that loveless metal animal. This can also cause stress, so a small room just for them will help a nervous cat to calm down.
Be sure to provide a box and blankets for your cat to crawl into if she feels overwhelmed. By hiding in a safe, enclosed space, an anxious cat can remain invisible and observe its surroundings. Comfortable hiding places can make it easier to welcome a new cat into your home.
When bringing a new cat into a home where cats already live, it is important to have an isolated and safe space. Separation gives everyone involved time to adjust to a new dynamic. But keeping the cats separate allows them to get to know the smells of their new family member from a distance at first.
Cats associate their parents’ scent with comfort and security. So place recently worn clothing in the room to familiarize your cat with your scent. Also have food and water, a fresh litter box, and a toy or two ready. However, don’t overwhelm your new cat with too many options. Simplicity is the key to getting started.
Supplies you should have before your kitty comes home
To make sure you don’t run out of what your cat needs, take a look at this list and have these items ready before you bring a new cat home:
– Food – From kittens to senior cats, there is food on the market for every stage of a cat’s life.
– Food and water bowls – Stainless steel seems like the ideal material for food and water bowls. But choosing the material can be the easiest part of choosing a bowl. The internet is full of cat bowls that offer imaginative options and benefits.
– Litter and Bowl – It sounds simple, but litter is extremely important for cats. As creatures governed by territorial instincts, a dedicated living space for them requires a clean litter box and toilet. A good rule of thumb to avoid litter problems is to use one litter box per cat. If you can add another, that’s even better.
– Toys – Cats need to be stimulated, and playing not only gives them the incentive they need but is also a great way to bond with your new cat.
– Scratching – Cats scratch to keep their new nails in check, stretch their muscles and mark their territory. For a cat who is in a new space, establishing territory, even if it’s just a scratching post, does wonders to make them feel a little more settled. Studies show that “cats prefer to use a rope scratcher,” reports Pet Psychology.
– Boxes and beds – Cats love boxes for security and naps. Add a blanket and you’ve created homemade comfort. But don’t hold back with a luxury bed. Cats enjoy multiple places to sleep.
– Treats – Of course, new cats need treats. After all, treats are the way to every cat’s heart.
– First Aid Kits for Cats – You can purchase first aid kits or put one together yourself using this list of items to include in your cat’s kit.
– Emergency Preparedness Kits – Disasters happen when you least expect them. Being prepared in advance can help you and your cat gets to safety faster.
– Cat carriers – Cats vary in size and don’t like all adventures. From cages to backpacks, this guide will help you choose the right style and size for your new cat.
Bring your new cat home
The big day has arrived!
Although it’s exciting when you welcome a new cat into your home, you should start slowly. Bring your kitty into the small room you’ve prepared for her arrival. Don’t be surprised if she dives into the box you have provided. She may have to hide for a minute. Everything is new and looks and feels completely different from anything she has experienced before.
You can help him by soothing him with a soft, calming voice and offering him a treat here and there. Make sure you don’t force your new cat to come out of hiding. She will come when she is ready. We hope your new furry family member will soon be eager and excited to explore his safe, enclosed space.
After a few days, a new cat will usually have settled in well enough to begin exploring the house. Allow him to do this at his own pace. Outside her room, leave the door open in case Kitty needs to retreat quickly to a safe place. More treats and more stimulation are just what your cat needs to learn that home is a wonderful place.
If you have other pets at home, the time spent in the security room will be longer because everyone needs extra time to adjust. Bringing a new cat into the house means separating the cats and gradually getting them used to each other. It’s a bit long, but it’s worth it when you create a bond between the cats. Introducing a dog to your cat is a little different because dogs and cats are known to not get along. But puppies and kittens can really be the best of friends.
Bonding with a new cat
To strengthen the budding bond between you and your new cat, learn to follow its signals. An important idea to keep in mind when bonding with a cat is to do what the cat likes. After all, this is your new furry ruler!
Dr. Karen Becker explains, “If you follow your cat’s needs closely and trust him, you can develop a better bond with him. She also explains the best way to bond with a new cat and makes suggestions:
– Give your cat space when he needs it, but when he asks for affection, give him the attention he wants.
– Play with your cat with interactive toys. Stick toys with a stuffed animal or feathers at the end of a string are a great way to bond, as they allow you and your kitten to play together.
– Give your kitten treats to reward good times.
– Never yell at your cat and create a quiet atmosphere in the house.
– Don’t force your cat to do activities that she obviously doesn’t like.
Welcoming a new cat into your home is an exciting event. And we, the cat lovers at iHeartCats.com, want to express our joy for your new kitten. We provide you and your cat with quality information and products. Join us on Facebook and Instagram to share the magic of cats with millions of cat lovers.