Preparing for your new arrival:

What you need to know

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 adjust to one another and settle in. 

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. Don’t pressure your cat into doing things they may not yet be ready for. Remember the cat/kitten has

already been re-homed at least once and will need the time to adjust.

As part of our adoption guidelines, we will visit your home and will talk you through basic cat/kitten care. We will be there to support you and ease any worries. 

1. Setting up your cat's space

Image by Giovanna Gomes

Before you letting your new cat/kitten roam around, 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 settle in and relax before exploring other parts of the house.

 

The room should include:

  • an area for food and a separate one for water

  • at least one litter tray placed reasonably close to their food and water

  • a place to hide — perhaps a cardboard box or a snuggly bed 

  • a suitable place to sleep

  • a scratching post if possible

  • a few cat toys to allow them to play

If you already have a pet, you will need to keep them separate from the new arrival for a few days so that they get used to the new smell. You can then introduce them gradually with supervised interactions.

2. When your new cat/kitten arrives

Image by Chris Yang

Leave your cat/kitten to explore its 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, 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. It is common that cats/kittens do not eat much on their first day as they feel a little stressed.

3. How to say hello to your new cat/kitten

Grey Cat

Each cat is different and with a new home to get used to, you might find that your new feline friend is a little nervous.

 

When you approach your cat, ensure the following:

  • Get down to their level

  • Put out your hand slowly

  • Call their name softly

  • Always ensure they come to you first

4. How to introduce your new cat/kitten to your family

Image by Chewy

Once your cat is confident with you, it’s time to introduce it to your family members. Remember to do this gradually, with each family member greeting the cat one by one. It can be overwhelming for your new cat to meet everyone at the same time.

If you have children, they are likely to be excited about the new arrival but it is important to keep them calm. Let the cat/kitten come to them and when they do, show the children how to gently stroke and interact with them.​ While cats and children generally get along, even the friendliest cat will defend themselves if they feel threatened.

 

Avoid picking your cat/kitten up in the early stages. Wait until they are settled/comfortable and know that you are not a threat.

Cat on Green
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