Adopting a new cat or kitten is an exciting experience, although there can often be a lot to think about too. When you first take them home, you’ll need to help them gently settle into their new life.
A change of environment is often stressful for a cat and it can take a few weeks for them (and you) to feel relaxed.
The first few hours after welcoming your cat home can affect how they’ll adapt to their new life.
Remember not to rush them – prepare to be patient and don’t pressure your cat into doing things they may not yet be ready for.
Setting up your cat’s new space:
Before you let your new pet out of its cat carrier, you’ll need to set up a safe space with everything they need. A quiet room away from busy areas of the house is ideal – it’ll give them a chance to relax before exploring everywhere.
The room should include:
- an area for food and a separate one for water
- at least one litter tray placed as far away as possible from their food and water in a private location
- a place to hide – perhaps a cardboard box or a snuggly bed somewhere cosy
- access to a high spot. Cat perches are great for cats that like to climb but a cardboard box on a sturdy shelf is just as good
- a suitable place to sleep
- a scratching post
- a few cat toys to allow them to play
Helping your cat to explore their new home:
Once you have a quiet room set up in your home, it’s time to welcome your cat to its new environment.
On arriving home, leave your cat to explore their new room for an hour or so before introducing yourself and your family.
Some cats might need longer so be prepared to go at your pet’s pace.
If they choose to hide, sit quietly in the same room and talk to them gently.
Avoid forcing them to come out. You’ll need to give them plenty of time to adjust, especially if they are particularly shy.
Worried that your cat still hasn’t come out of hiding? As long as they are eating and drinking and using their litter tray, there is no need to worry.
If your cat is too shy to eat, you may want to move their food bowl closer to their hiding place and leave the room.