The first time you bring your new cat or kitten home is a special moment for both of you. It’s exciting for them to be in a new environment and see where they will eat, live and play! However, moving to a new place can be a nerve-racking experience for a cat so here are some tips for when you first bring them home:
Start with one room
- Have a room for your kitty already prepared with their food and water bowls, litter tray, bed and a few toys. Catnip toys can work well.
- Let your cat explore just this room first and become comfortable with it instead of letting them run through the whole house where they may become overwhelmed with new things.
- Make sure there is a place to hide – perhaps a cardboard box or under a bed.
- It is best if this room is warm, quiet and a spot where people will not have to go in and out of very often.
- Bring in the carry case and any blankets that the cat is already used to. A familiar smell may be comforting for them.
Leave them alone
- Open the carry case and then leave the room. It may sound strange but cats much prefer to explore a new environment on their own without having to worry about another creature in the same space.
- Try and minimise noise. Us humans may be used to the sound of the radio and the toilet flushing but your new cat isn’t!
If your cat is stressed out, ask your vet about cat-calming air sprays or collars.
- When you think your cat has relaxed a little you can go inside to interact. Start by entering quietly and sitting down so you’re not as big and scary.
- Talk in a quiet, friendly voice but don’t try to touch your kitty unless they come to you. They may not be interested in you for the first few bonding sessions, and that’s ok, they’ll come around eventually and it will be better for both of you.
- Spend as much time as possible with your cat. You could read a book, take a nap or write. Just let your cat become used to your presence.
- If you have multiple family members, they will each need to go through this process to become good friends with kitty.
- If you are able to exist happily with your cat you could start playing with them with a piece of string, but this could take a few days so don’t try to force it.
- Although this process may seem long, remember that becoming good friends with your new cat is a very rewarding experience that often creates a bond that lasts for years.
Once you can touch and play with your cat comfortably the first step of their introduction is complete. Next will come exploring the rest of the house, possibly going outside, and new family members and pets – but that’s another story!