Introducing a new cat
It can be hard when you desperately want your cat to settle into their fresh, loving home but they’re still hiding in corners of rooms. I’ve put together some tips and tricks on how to make it easier for your cat to relax in their new environment.
Welcoming a new cat
A change of environment is often stressful for any cat and it can take a few weeks for them (and you!) to feel relaxed. The first few hours after welcoming your cat home can affect how they’ll adapt to their new life. Remember not to rush them – prepare to be patient and don’t pressure your cat into doing things they may not yet be ready for.
Before you even think about letting your cat out of their carrier, it’s important to set up a safe space prior to their arrival. A quiet place away from busy rooms (rooms like the kitchen/living room) is ideal – this will give your cat a chance to relax before exploring. This area should include:
- Food and water
- At least one litter tray on the other side of the room to their food/water
- A hiding/sleeping spot – try to include a cardboard box or a cat bed for your new cat to feel safe
- A scratching post
- Cat toys
How to settle your new cat
Here are some ways you can help to settle your new cat into their new home.
Visit your new cat
Before you go to pick them up, try visiting your cat a few times so they have more time to get to know you.
H3 – Scent swapping
When visiting your cat, ask if you can rub a clean cloth over them to take rub around their safe room back at home. This will help them to feel more comfortable when they arrive. (You can also do this the other way round; bring them the scent of the safe room so they can familiarise themself with that too.)
Find out what litter your new cat uses and purchase the same to have at home.
Having a plug-in diffuser such as Feliway (found here on Amazon) in their safe room can help them adjust and will make them feel calmer overall.
Time is probably the most important thing you can give your new cat. Make sure to give them time to adjust in their safe room before giving them access to the rest of the house. Alternatively, it’s just as important to make sure they always have access to their safe room as it is likely to become a comfort zone for them. As long as your new cat is eating, drinking and using their litter tray, there is no need to worry if they are appearing anxious for longer than you were expecting.
Let your new cat make the first move
If your new cat is comfortable, try sitting with them and let them initiate any contact. It is advised to avoid approaching your new cat first and waiting for them to make the first move. Reaching out to simply stroke them can be nervewracking for them so let them head-bump you first.
Introducing your new cat to your cat at home
If you already have a cat/cats at home and are bringing your new cat home to them, keep them completely separate. The first thing to do is to introduce them by scent alone. As I explained earlier, you can try scent-swapping with them. One idea is to gently stroke each cat with a sock and then place the other’s sock in their rooms. If either cat hisses or seems uncomfortable, remove the sock. You can then try again in a couple of days. Remember, this is not likely to be a quick experience.
Once you’ve gotten over this stage and all cats are comfortable with the smell of each other, you can introduce them face-to-face. However, try to avoid letting them actually touch each other. An easy way to do this is just to have each cat on either side of a window/glass door. Give them treats and have them play with toys so that they can associate seeing each other with activities they enjoy.
The final stage is now to remove the barrier. Make sure to still keep them occupied with toys and treats but if either cat seems agitated, remove them from the situation. I would advise keeping this stage in short bursts to prevent their stress from buildingup too much.
Introducing your cat
I have used the advice and information from the Cats Protection website and if you would like further information on how to introduce new cats I recommend visiting their site at https://www.cats.org.uk/welwynhatfield/news/how-to-introduce-a-second-cat?gclid=Cj0KCQjw2cWgBhDYARIsALggUhoTnOWIkGVkv54rrc9FM-eb2K_J-63d_aN0oD92eeCKqbsKx5xxjHMaAisjEALw_wcB.
Information in this post has been created and researched by My Three Cats. We do not provide medical advice. If your cats experience any issues when meeting each other, please get in touch with your vet immediately.