Congratulations, you adopted a new cat! Here are some tips to help you introduce her to her new life in the most stress-free way possible.
Cats are creatures of habit. New environments can be stressful for them, so supporting them and helping them adjust to change is crucial to their well-being. If you’re bringing a new cat into your life, the following steps will help you integrate her as smoothly as possible.
1. Find a safe room
Your new cat will require a quiet, closed off place from where she’ll start to learn your new house. Supply her with food, water, and bedding, and any items from a previous life, such as toys and dishes. Having these things close by will make her feel more comfortable – and safe – in her new environment.
Be careful not to rush your new pet through this step. She’ll need at least a few days to get comfortable. During this time, she should be kept separate from other household animals. Letting them smell each other through a closed door is a non-threatening way to introduce them.
2. Spend some one-on-one time with her
As important as it is to give your new cat some space, it’s also important for the two of you to get to know each other!
It’s no secret that cats love to play. By having fun with your new feline, you’ll make her feel more comfortable in her new home – and with you. You don’t have to spend too much money on expensive toys, either! Most cats love to play with basic things around the house, like old shoe strings or cardboard boxes.
3. Introduce her to the rest of the house
It’s time for your cat to know your entire home – including the rest of your family. Start with the human members, instructing them to approach their new cat slowly and respectfully.
If you have more than one cat, make sure there’s enough food and water to go around. This will prevent bullying. If your new feline looks comfortable, you can introduce her to other pets such as dogs. If she has never been around dogs, don’t be surprised if she shows signs of fear. Keep the door to your new cat’s safe room open so she can retreat back there if things get too scary, and be sure to keep a close eye on her for the first few hours.
Of course, if any of your existing animals have aggressive tendencies, keep them leashed until they are familiar with their new sibling.
4. Don’t be alarmed by a brief “relapse”
Often cats that are well-adjusted to their safe room still aren’t quite ready to explore the entire house. There’s no reason to be alarmed! It may take a while for your new furry friend to feel confident enough to explore. Just give her time, space, and plenty of loving encouragement!
While taking these steps may seem like a time-intensive process, they are rewarding and will save you the headache of dealing with an aggressive or depressed kitty. Of course, they’ll also decrease your chances of having to return her to the shelter! A true win-win for all.