Getting a new cat is an exciting time for you but can be daunting for the animal. There are not only new surroundings inside and outside the home to take in, but new sounds and experiences, and other people and animals.
You need to make it as easy as possible for your new family member to help her settle in and avoid problems at a later date.
1. Do it slowly and one room at a time
Set up a separate room for your new cat. This will become her ‘safe room’ and should have all her comfort needs, including food and water, her litter tray, a bed, scratching post and toys.
It is important to introduce new rooms one at a time and slowly. Let her get used to the new things around her gradually, so she doesn’t feel overwhelmed and scared.
Keep other animals and people out of the room for now while she gets used to this room. Let your kitty take the time to explore her new surroundings and settle in. As she becomes more comfortable, you can move onto the next steps.
2. Use the right litter and tray
Talk to the people who had the cat previously. If it is an older cat, she will likely already have her preference for litter and to provide a familiar environment you want to stick to the same one. Younger kittens may not be as picky as they haven’t developed their own routine yet. Buy litter that is thin and granulated, so it is comfortable. This avoids accidents around the room!
3. Show love and attention
Let your new cat know that she is loved—she won’t just assume it! This is really important if there are other animals or children in the home. Spend quality time with her in her safe room and play with her as much as you can to establish strong bonds early in your relationship. You don’t want other animals to feel left out or set the scene for jealous behaviour down the track, so split your time fairly and ensure that other animals in the house receive equal love and attention.
4. Gradually introduce other pets to your new cat
Bring in one animal at a time if you have more than one. Attempt introductions with older animals first who are usually quieter and more relaxed. Younger animals can be easily excited and may scare off the new cat. If your new cat doesn’t want to meet others, follow her lead and try again later, don’t force the situation. Don’t leave the animals unsupervised, just in case something happens.
The key to helping your new cat settle into her new home is to be patient and take your time. Gradual introductions will help build the self-esteem of your new cat, ensure your existing pets don’t feel overtly threatened and ensure a happy and harmonious family life for all of you.