Welcoming a New Cat into Your Home

A friend of mine wrote me for advice when she got a new cat. She told me that he’s eating and using the litter box but he’s also staying hidden.

The first thing she did right was to give him a safe space. When you first bring home a cat, you should house it in a small room. This will allow your cat to get used to its new environment.

When your cat is ready to explore, it should be one room at a time. A new cat can take a few days to a few weeks to adjust.

The next thing she did right was supply her cat with necessities. She gave her cat food, water, a litter box, a scratching post, and bedding. Toys are also important.

Your cat might not use them in the first day. If it still hasn’t used them after 48 hours, talk with your vet.

She also gave her cat hiding spots. Make sure that they’re the right size for your cat, at least partly enclosed, and allow your cat to observe their environment. Provide a variety of high and low spots.

My friend asked if she should let her cat hide. While you should give your cat the choice of whether to interact, you can also help it get to know you. Place a piece of your clothing that contains your scent in its space.

Visit frequently for short periods of time. At the start, you might play classical music or nature videos, or you might read aloud or chat on the phone. Over time, you can offer food from your finger, lure your cat to you with a toy, and pet your cat.

As your cat becomes part of your family, you should develop a routine. Set aside specific times for meals, play, and other activities. You’ll also need cat-specific grooming supplies. Those include a brush, nail clippers, toothbrush and toothpaste, and shampoo.

A few days later my friend told me that her new cat was coming out its shell. If you follow these steps when you get a new cat, soon enough your cat will also be sitting next to you!

This information is available as a checklist. Click here to download.

Written for Lakes Animal Friendship Society and reprinted with permission. This article is original in content and not to be reproduced without permission. Copyright 2020. Photos are of our current foster kittens, who will be available for adoption from The Cat House in February.


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