This information we give out to all of our new adopters to help with your new kitten or cat’s transition into your home!
ACCLIMATING YOUR NEW CAT TO THE HOME:
- We cannot stress how important this is and you should take it that way too. Any time a new pet is brought into the home, it is always best to start them in a small room with a door. A big new house is simply scary to a new cat and there are so many places to hide, that is exactly what he will do. And he cannot bond with you or adjust hiding under the couch.
- Please put all kitties stuff in a room and close the door and let him be the first day. The next day, go in and sit quietly on the floor and just hang out. Let the kitty come to you. Plan to sit nearby when you bring their food in, so they associate you with good things. Have wand or string toys to engage in play and help kitty relax and get comfortable with you. Have treats. Let the kids sit and play Legos or read a book or do homework. Explain to the children they need to move slowly and talk soft, let the kitty get to know them. Let face it, kids are loud and fast and scary to some cats, but they are also excited children, so talk to them first as to what is expected. Try to have all members of the family go in at different times and spend lots of time in the room.
- When you can open the door to go in and the cat comes towards you eager for attention, then you can leave the door open and let the cat explore. Let him go at his own pace, he will run back in if he gets scared. Supervise and at this point move the litter box to right outside the door. When moving litter box to permanent location, do so gradually, so the cat knows where it went and how to find it. Cats like a clean litter box, don’t move to such an out of the way location where you will forget to clean it daily.
- Move kitty’s other belongings to where you want them when he is comfortable with free roam of the house. In front of a window is a great place for the cat stand.
- THERE IS NO RUSH, to this process. It may take days, it may take weeks, but this is where you do your part in helping to create a confident cat who is eager to bond and become part of the family. If kitty is so overwhelmed and only hides, that sets him back and does not make him feel comfortable. If your cat is not happy to see you and get pets when you open that door, he’s probably not ready to have run of the house.
MEETING THE RESIDENT PETS:
- Follow Acclimating Cat to New Home guidelines, but stop at letting the door open.
Swap toys between resident and new cats. Let them get used to each other’s scent.
Feed them at the same time on opposite sides of the closed door. They will smell and hear the other through the door. They may paw each other under the door, that’s fine.
- After about a week, open the door just a crack and let them see each other. Hissing and general Halloween cat stance and bushy tail is normal and expected at first. Let them get nose to nose and sniff each other, supervising of course. Door should still only be cracked. Close the door and let them process all that. If they do this a few times and seems pretty ok with each other, move on to the next step.
- Open the door, sit at the door way and let the resident cat come in if he chooses. A baby gate is great for this too. Supervise. If there is still some hissing and bushiness, that’s ok. A swat or two is normal. As long as there is no fighting. When done correctly and over a period of time, real fighting doesn’t usually happen.
- Always supervise and close kitty back in room until you are confident they will be ok left alone together. This may take days or weeks, depends on the cats. Rushing it and just throwing them together and letting them work it out can just create problems. Take the time to do it correctly and respect each cat.
- PLEASE DO NOT RUSH THIS PROCESS. You have a lifetime with your new furry family member, start it in a positive way.