Break out the catnip and goat’s milk. The new cat is coming home! You and your family will definitely be excited to bring home the new addition. The years you spend with your feline companion will be long and rewarding, but you need to start off on the right paw.
Since you want to make this experience the least traumatic and special as possible, there are a couple things to keep in mind before, during, and after your new cat or kitten has come home.
Preparing for the new cat
Take a good, hard look around your house. You might think that there is nothing dangerous for Kitty to go sticking her nose into, but you would be wrong. Everyone knows that cats are instinctually curious. Places humans overlook out of routine can pose some troubles for felines, especially kittens.
This is like what you have to do for a toddler when they first start crawling. Get on your hands and knees then scan the spacing between furniture, objects that could come tumbling down or get jumped on and yanked loose, bundles of wires and other cords. You don’t want a scared cat to get cozy inside the sofa or knocking down something that could traumatize him inside an enclosed space.
High traffic versus Low traffic areas
One of the best places for a cat is an unused room that is away from places like the kitchen and living room, where people tend to gather and make noise. The first few days present a lot of new sounds that Kitty might not be used to. Let your new addition unwind in someplace small, like a walk-in closet or spare bathroom. The same rule applies to where the litterbox and feeding station should be placed.
Another thing to be careful of is plant life that is potentially poisonous to cats. Be wary of the following:
- Aloe vera
- Asparagus and all variants
- Baby’s breath
- Chinese Jade
- Dracaena (Lucky Bamboo)
- Hemp (and Marijuana)
Now, that is not to say your new cat will immediately begin chomping on these poisonous leaves. I have had cats for as long as I have had lucky bamboo and hosta. Never had a problem.
However, cats that love to chew and are looking for greens might be tempted to try these plants. Make sure you keep them out of reach while also providing friendly options like catnip, lemongrass, and mint.
The first days
Go slow. Caution your children and friends not to startle the cat or get too overzealous with making friends. Do not be surprised if your new cat is acting differently from how they were in their previous setting. Being territorial and creatures of habit, cats need some time to adjust to change.
Give Kitty a day or two to settle in. During the first night, a new kitten will be frightened. Some matured cats too. Make yourself available. Offer affection and a lap. Try to bond through playtime. Don’t be too concerned if your new cat is not interested in you or the toys for the first few days. Learning about their new home overrides anything else.
Also, if you adopted a semi-domesticated cat or kitten, you will need even more patience. Do as stated above, but devote more time to pet and stay at the new cat’s side as they eat to assert you are there to protect and give them love.
If you did not adopt but purchased or got your new kitten or cat from a friend, breeder or through other means, you should schedule a vet appointment as soon as possible. Bringing cats and kittens in from the outside means they could have issues only discoverable through a thorough medical examination.
Also, you will want to get any flea or parasite issues dealt with swiftly, as these could quickly escalate into terrible medical conditions for the cat and chaos for the household.
One week later (and beyond)
Usually, it takes up to two weeks for your new kitten or cat to become fully acclimated to their new environment. Some cases faster than others. It all depends on you and your new cat.
Remember to get your kitty checked by a vet. Develop a consistent feeding schedule that works into the rhythm of your life and the cat’s.
You might also notice that Kitty wants to leave their safe haven to join the rest of the family. Some cats will make a racket trying to get out of the room. Others will merely try to sneak out between your feet. Either way, you will know when they are ready to be fully immersed in your life.
Again, congratulations! Cats are wonderful companions and each one has their quirks. Follow these mentioned tips to make your new addition’s transition into your life as smooth as possible. The new family member will thank you for it for years to come.