Resources > 9 Ways to welcome home your new cat
Congratulations! You have just begun a relationship that’s bound to be filled with fun and affection. By starting off on the right foot, you can cut short that rocky adjustment period most new relationships go through.
- Go slowly at first. A new cat may need seven to fourteen days to relax into her new environment. Save meet-and-greets with friends, neighbours and relatives until the cat is eating and eliminating on a normal schedule.
- Offer her a safe place to hide while she gets her bearings. She’ll appreciate the chance to observe her new family’s routine from a small, dark space or one high above the action.
- Bring your new feline to a caring veterinarian for a wellness exam within one week after adoption.
- Provide the same diet she had at the shelter, at least for the first week or two. If you wish to switch to a different flavour or brand, slowly make the switch over one to two weeks, starting with a quarter ration of the new food mixed into the old favourite. From there, up the ratio of new to old about 10% each day.
- Set up a litter box in a quiet, low-traffic area. Unsure of what litter to use? The majority of cats prefer fine-grain clumping litter. Try that first unless the new adoptee is so young that she is in the litter-eating stage. Non-clumping litter is recommended for kittens under ten weeks of age.
- Cats must scratch, so make sure to provide yours with a sturdy, rough-textured scratching post to save wear and tear on furniture. Cat manicures every ten to fourteen days also help reduce damage.
- Cat-proof your home before giving your new feline run of the house. Put away harsh cleaning products, human medications and household poisons. Re-home any poisonous houseplants. And if the newcomer is a kitten, lock away any breakables and remember to keep the toilet lid down.
- Once settled in, a young cat or kitten will be eager to play. Stock up on interactive toys such as feather wands and kitty fishing poles to engage attention and direct energies toward a positive pursuit.
- Ready a comfortable cat perch on a sunny window sill – if it overlooks the birdfeeder, all the better! Observing live birds and squirrels beats out kitty videos any day.
Jacque Lynn Schultz, C.P.D.T., Companion Animal Programs Adviser. National Outreach, ASPCA