Cats are sensitive animals, greatly affected by changes in their environment and routine. Bringing
your cat home can be a stressful experience for him, especially if he has been in a shelter or crated in a foster for a long time.
To make his transition to your household as comfortable as possible, select a quiet, closed-in area such as your bedroom or a small room away from the main foot traffic, and provide him with food and water, comfortable bedding, toys and a litter box.
For a few days, let your new cat become acquainted with this limited area. Let your cat explore on his own, sniff all your belongings and investigate all the hiding places. Never grab him, and if his tail is swishing and his ears are back, don’t touch him. He may need a few days to become comfortable in his new home.
After a few days, slowly introduce him to the rest of your house, including the other pets and house hold members. If you have other cats, be sure to read the “Cat to Cat Introductions” page to help all your cats feel safe and secure. It will take a little while before your new cat begins to feel at home.
Cats that are given too much freedom too soon, are often overwhelmed and may hide underneath furniture until they get their bearings. This adds to the stress of the situation and makes the homecoming a less than ideal experience.
What You’ll Need
Below is a list of items to have in hand before you bring home your newly adopted kitten or cat:
- Two bowls: one for food and one for water. Opt for metal or ceramic bowls over plastic as they wear better over time and are less prone to tipping over. Cats should have access to clean, fresh food and water at all times.
- Quality cat food. Provide food made with quality ingredients and keep his diet consistent. Also, feed your cat both wet and dry food. Most studies recommend you leave out all food for 20 minutes and then store it for later. You can refrigerate wet food, but make sure it’s at room temperature when you feed your cat again. Generally, cats should be fed twice a day (3 times for kittens). Cats and kittens can’t go more than 2 days without eating. If you cat doesn’t eat within 2 days, it’s time for a vet visit.
- A sturdy cat litter box. Cats always need access to a litter box so they can go to the bathroom. Clean litter boxes regularly to ensure your home and pet remain clean.
- Tasty cat treats. Many cats appreciate a special treat occasionally. Give treats in moderation, or your new pet will soon have a weight problem.
- A scratching post made of rope or cardboard. Scratching is a normal, healthy cat behavior, and scratching posts (or similar devices) offer an appropriate place to scratch. Without a scratching post, cats may scratch furniture and/or carpet. Avoid posts made of carpet, as many cats can’t differentiate between carpet on the post, or on your floor.
- A bed. Cats prefer their own place to relax. Window perches and multi-level constructions are among many options that allow them to play or relax.
- Toys. Toys keep cats them occupied and allow them to exercise. Providing toys of different shapes, sizes and materials helps relieve boredom and results in a happier pet. Do not leave out toys with strings, since they can harm your cat.
- A well-constructed cat carrier. Throughout your cat’s life, you will have to transport him from one place to another, whether to the vet or to grandma’s. To ensure a safe trip for your cat, keep him confined in a well-constructed carrier.
- A brush. Regular grooming makes for a healthy coat, reduces allergens, and promotes bonding with your cat.