Introducing a New Cat Into Your Home
You've just gotten a new cat and are driving home with her in a carrier. Are you prepared? Here are some tips to introducing a new cat into your house.
1. Have all your pet's new things set up at home before you arrive. You should have food and water, a litter box and possibly a scratching post. You may also consider a few toys, especially ones with catnip.
2. Shut all extra doors in your house before you arrive. Restrict your new pet's movements to a few key rooms until she can get accustomed to her new home. Close the doors to the basement, garage, laundry room, extra bedrooms, bathrooms, and any room where you are worried she may get into trouble. (Don't forget windows too!) She should feel free to roam the main rooms of the house, including the rooms where her food and litter are placed.
3. If you have other pets or very small children, consider keeping them out of the house for the first little while. Your cat will have a lot of new things to explore, and it's better to have as little stress as possible. Another option is to keep your new cat in its carrier and allow the other pets and/or the children to approach her initially while she is still contained.
4. A good tip: let your cat out of her carrier in close vicinity to her litter box. That way, she can explore the house from there, and should remember where her litter box is if she needs to use it.
5. Allow your new cat as much time as she needs to become comfortable in her new home. She may hide, or meow, or even hiss at you; that's normal. Keep extra noise and activities to a minimum for a little while so that she can absorb her surroundings. That being said, don't leave your new pet alone right away either. Discreetly watch her to ensure that she is not getting into trouble that you hadn't anticipated. Especially, watch for her jumping up on high shelves, eating houseplants, and not using the litterbox.
6. As your cat becomes more at ease, you will notice her body language changing. Her tail will rise, her ears will perk forward, and she may make more eye contact with you. Encourage and praise your cat, using soft tones and petting her if she allows it. Continue doing your normal activities so she can start getting used to the regular noise and pace of your home-life.
7. Moniter your pet often over the first few days to see how she is adjusting. Open more doors in your house each day so that she can explore the full extent of her new home.
Be sure to read Household Items That May Harm Your Pet for more information on surprising dangers in your home.