Bringing a new cat into your household is a wonderful but also an overwhelming experience. There’s excitement but also worry if the new addition to the family is going to get along great with the rest of the household.
While you and your family are eager to lavish your new addition with love and attention, your new cat may still be shy and anxious. And we get it! Change can be scary even for us. It doesn’t help that cats are creatures of habit and are extremely sensitive to change.
The first few hours with your new cat home may have you doubting your paw-rental skills. It’s perfectly normal but not a cause of concern. Your new feline will need some time to sink back into their skin before feeling they belong in their new home.
If you’re still overwhelmed, we rounded up a few pointers to make the transition a little easier for you and your new family member.
Make a safe space
This doesn’t mean your home is the opposite. It just means your new cat needs a space of their own to adjust.
It’s what we call a “safe zone” and what new cats need to get comfortable. This safe space will be your new cat’s domain for the first week or so. Make sure to pepper it with a toy or two, bedding, plenty of water, and their own litter. Go for a dust-free cat litter with excellent clumping power and sponge-like absorbency. Settling in takes work and an effective litter certainly helps!
Establish a routine
Routines help us in our everyday tasks, which is why it’s not surprising that cats are fond of them too.
For new cats, an established routine makes them feel safe and secure. Cats love routines and have a pretty good internal clock. They can tell when you’re getting up, leaving for work, and returning home. A small disruption in their routine can stress them and make them feel anxious.
That being said, a consistent feeding schedule will make your new cat trust and appreciate you ten fold. Your new cat will have an easier time getting comfortable in their new home if there is consistency and structure.
Feeding them properly
At some point, you will have to change your new cat’s diet. Yes, they are notorious for being picky eaters but feeding them right is completely doable.
Because cats cannot produce some nutrients on their own (like taurine and arginine), the right diet will provide them with everything they need. Try wet or dry food to meet the nutritional needs of your new cat. A complete and nutritious diet is the cornerstone of health!
Remember to make the change gradually. We don’t want to overwhelm your new cat with a slew of changes.
Playing and exercising
Just like us, our cats need playtime and exercise too. Cats need to be active to keep their muscles toned and strong. Something we also need but forget to do 99% of the time.
Once your new cat is comfortable in your home, they need to play and move around. Any activity that keeps your new cat from napping all day is a good idea. You can give your new cat a toy that gives out treats or a wand toy they can chase around. Play keeps their mind active and sharp. Plus, let’s face it, it’s a great bonding moment too.
Meeting the other furry members of the family
We dread this but it needs to happen. Introducing your new cat to the rest of the furry members of the household can be unpredictable. Are they going to fight? Is this the right time to do this? Should we do it another time?
Before your new cat meets everyone, it’s best to keep them separate from the pack. This way, furry members of the family get used to hearing and smelling each other without the confrontation.
The best time to make a formal introduction is at a meal, when the desire for food outweighs all other distractions. Meals are always lifesavers in tense situations. Don’t be alarmed if you hear some hissing and growling for the first time. If this goes well and no cat fight happens, gradually increase the amount of time they spend together. Separate them after each mealtime and keep them apart until the next.
Share treats, affection, and attention equally during their time together, not only to build positive associations but also to show that there is no favoritism.
It will take time for your new cat to show signals of trust and affection toward you. Remember to be patient and shower them with love as they go through the transition. They’ll be following you around, rubbing against your legs or arms, sitting next to you, and even dozing on your computer in no time!