Bringing a New Rescued Cat Home – What you need to know to help them feel safe.

Bringing a New Rescued Cat Home – What you need to know to help them feel safe.

Understanding your new cat and helping them to adjust into your home with the 3-3-3 rule

Every cat is unique and will adjust differently.

When adopting a cat, the first 30 days are very important for setting up your new family member for success. These first weeks should be used to establish a strong bond between you and your cat and create healthy routines.


Three Days: When you adopt a new cat, you can expect that he will need time to adjust and acclimate to his new surroundings. Allow the cat to approach you on his own terms when you first bring her home. This will help your cat feel a sense of control. These first few days require an immense amount of patience on your part. Your cat may be very nervous and hide for the first couple of days. Be patient, and allow your cat to adjust at his own pace. 


Have his space set up beforehand to help your new cat settle in, have the cat’s space set up before you bring her home.  Give them their own room. Starting them out in a smaller space for 5- 7 days, sometimes it takes up to 3 weeks, but it is important to establish a “safe space”. Be sure the room has a door that closes to keep the new kitty in a smaller space to start. Be sure to have the litter boxes and food and water bowls set up before bringing the cat home, and start with small spaces for the cat at first.  If your cat is outgoing and seems well settled, remember that keeping him confined for a few days will help him learn his surroundings and get used to his litter box and scratching post, making him more likely to use them!

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • May feel scared and unsure of what’s going on
  • May not feel comfortable to be ‘normal’
  • May not want to eat or drink.
  • Shuts down and/or hides
  • Test the boundaries



Three Weeks: After 3 weeks, your cat is probably getting used to your comings and goings, learning the daily routine, and starting to figure out when the next meal is coming. He may have acclimated enough to have full run of the house, or he may just be starting to venture out of his room. Providing him with scratching posts, litter boxes, and blankets/beds in his own room at first allow you to then place these objects in other areas of the home, giving him familiar scents and sights to help him get used to a new place. 

As with adopting any animal companions, an important step in the process is to establish a relationship with a veterinarian who you trust. You should have a relationship with a veterinarian with whom they feel comfortable and who takes the time to answer their questions regarding cat care and health.

  • Starts to settle in
  • Feels more comfortable
  • Figures out environment
  • Gets into a routine
  • Begins to show his true self
  • Behavior issues may occur

Three Months: At 3 months, most cats know they are “home.” It’s a process to get there, but with patience, you’ve worked together now and can enjoy the journey toward a great relationship. Keep in mind that settling into a new environment can be a lengthy endeavor, but well worth the effort for you and your new family member!

Start small with training, and use it as a time to bond with your new friend. A first training goal can be to teach the cat to look at you in response to his name.  Repeat this several times a day, always delivering something your cat likes when you call her name. As with all other routines, take training at the pace your cat is comfortable with and encourage the good behaviors through positive reinforcement.

  • Finally feels comfortable in his home
  • Begins to build trust and form a bond
  • Gains a complete sense of security with his family
  • Well established routine



At Pet Haven, we give felines as much time as they need to settle into their new foster homes and support the transition into their adoptive homes. This transition is often easier for them having experienced a positive foster home. If a Pet Haven adopted cat has difficulty transitioning to the new home, our behavior consultant takes the time to support and guide the family to ensure successful integration to the new home. If the new home is just not the right, Pet Haven Kitties can always come home to us if needed. We will work with the adopter to find a more successful match!

When you adopt a cat from Pet Haven, it’s not an adoption transaction, we create family and change lives!