Preparing your home for your new cat

Congratulations and thank you for saving a life! Here’s what you need to know to welcome your new cat into your home.

Preparing your home:

  • Provide a small area for them to call their own, even if it’s just a room or a bathroom for a few days. (If it’s a bathroom, put the toilet lid down to be safe.)
  • Fill a litter box with 3-5cm of litter and place it in the room where they can use it undisturbed. (We all like privacy!)
  • Leave out food and water (away from the litter box).
  • Cats love small spaces to hide. Create a little bed or box with holes can give the cat a safe space.
  • Cats love to climb, so put away anything that might be valuable that you don’t want knocked over. Likewise, put away any poisons or cleaning solutions that are easily accessible.

Bringing your new cat home:

New experiences can be scary. It’s a new home, new smells, and new family. Even though you might be excited, they might need a few days to adjust.

  • Sit on the floor and let your cat come to you. Don’t force them. Let them get acquainted on their own time. If they don’t approach, leave them alone and try again later. Some cats are particularly frightened, and they may retreat to their safe space and not come out when you’re around. Be patient and give them space to explore and become comfortable with their new home.
  • They may not eat much or at all at first. It’s best to give your cat the same food they had before, at least at first. Keeping some things familiar will make them feel more secure. Be sure to change their water frequently and make sure that they are drinking. If your cat hasn’t eaten for a few days, call your vet.
  • Don’t let the cat outside for at least a couple weeks. Cats can get lost easily in new environments. Keep them inside for 2-3 weeks before letting them roam.

If you have another cat, make sure to give both cats space and time to get used to each other. Place the new cat in a room for about a week. Get your current cat used to the smell of the new cat by rubbing a towel or washcloth gently over the new cat. Let your current cat smell the towel. Do the same for the new cat. You can also put food by the door to associate yummy treats with each other. Don’t be alarmed by hissing or growling. These are normal reactions. Keep the cats separated when you are not home until you are certain they are safe around each other unsupervised.

If you have a dog, follow the same steps above. Keep them separated for a week or so and introduce them to each other through smell first. If you can, let the two animals observe each other without being able to get to each other. When you want to introduce them, keep your dog on a leash and have another family member sit down with the cat at the opposite end of the room. Be aware of their body language and be patient with them. And always reward your dog’s good behavior and obedience with a treat. Keep the animals separated when you are not home until you are certain they are safe around each other unsupervised.

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