Get Ready to Bring Your New Cat Home! 05/16/2020 By Kerry S There’s truly nothing like a cat’s companionship. They’ll cuddle you when you feel down, make you laugh with their silly antics, and affectionately bump into your legs like no tomorrow. If you’re introducing a cat to your home for the first time, it’s important to realize the power of first impressions. The beginning days and weeks with your cat are crucial and will shape your cat’s attitudes and behaviors for the future. With the advice below, you’ll have everything you need to build a strong foundation with your cat, and both of you will be ready for a lifelong relationship. So once you have decided to Adopt a New Kitty read below and get ready! Patience Before we begin, I want to stress one important concept: PATIENCE. Cats, unlike dogs, believe they rule the world and will move at their own pace. Do not force your new cat into situations where they look visually uncomfortable, scared, or skittish. This will only generate negative feelings in your new friend and can be difficult to reverse or rectify over time. That said, it’s extremely easy to be patient with your cat, so read on to learn more! Prepare a Room Your first order of business is to prepare a separate room for your new cat, what Jackson Galaxy likes to call their “base camp.” This room will be their home before you introduce them to the rest of the house, and you should keep them in this room for about a week or until they start to feel comfortable. It’ll be their place where they feel safe and where they can retreat to if they start to feel stressed or scared. In this room, you’ll put their food, water, and litter box, as well as some fun toys, a scratching post or two, and maybe a cat tree if you’re feeling especially generous. Remember, your cat will be spending most of their time in this room for the first week or so, so you need to make sure it’s stocked. In addition to the necessities, be sure to cat-proof the room. That means no loose cords they can chew, open windows they can escape through, or screens they can rip apart. This will ensure that both your cat and your home stay safe throughout this journey. Also, it’s important to provide some hiding places for your new cat in this room. Cats tend to retreat to concealed spaces because it makes them feel safe. Don’t worry if your new cat starts hiding a lot! You can’t blame them; they’re in a new environment with new smells and people and are bound to feel a little scared from time to time. If you are worried, paws.org suggests to just “sit and talk quietly” to your cat. This will make them familiar with your voice and show that you aren’t a threat. Remember to have patience, especially with behaviors like this. While your cat spends time getting to know their room, make sure to spend a lot of time with them in the room as well! Cats use scent to both mark their territory and discern friend from foe. By spending a lot of time in the room, you’re allowing your new cat to become familiar with your specific scent and to connect it with feeling safe and happy. Time to Explore Speaking of feeling safe and happy, once you start to see your cat becoming more and more comfortable, it’s time to let them explore the rest of the home! Signs of feeling comfortable can include being happy to see you, not darting away or being easily started, rubbing into you, purring, etc. PetMD has a good list of happy cat signs you can check out! Again, this step will require plenty of patience. Michelson Found Animals suggests, “Do not force the cat to explore the rest of your home. It is important to move forward at the cat’s pace.” Once you see the signs of a happy cat, feel free to open the door of their base camp and allow them to explore while you follow and monitor closely. However, make sure you cat-proof the rest of your home once you’re ready for this step. You don’t want your cat getting into little nooks and crannies of your home that even you can’t get to! In no time, you’ll start to see your new companion becoming more and more comfortable with you and their surroundings. They might run to the door to greet you as you come home from a long day’s work or start to knead you as you watch a movie on the sofa (another sign of a happy cat). Regardless, with some careful preparation and attention for those first couple weeks, you’ll be well on your way to forging a lasting connection with your new friend. A special thank you to Colin Carpenter for the great information on Bringing Your New Cat Home!