November 3, 2009
Bringing Your New Cat Home
Congratulations! You have a new cat. No doubt you’re looking forward to years of happy companionship. But what do you do now?
Before bringing your new furball home, outfit your home with all the supplies you could possibly need.
The first thing you should know about your new pet is that most cats hate to travel. For the trip home, confine your pet in a sturdy cat carrier. Don't leave him loose in your car, where he might panic and cause an accident, or get out when you open the car door. He may yowl and cry and try mightily to get out of the carrier, but don't give in.
After the ride home, he will, most likely, not be in the mood for fun. 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 a litter box, food and water, toys, and a scratching post.
Let your new pet become acquainted with that limited area for the first few days. Be sure to spend plenty of time with him in that room, but if he’s hiding under the bed, don’t force him to come out. If necessary, sit on the floor to talk to him and offer treats. Let him sniff all your belongings and investigate all the hiding places.
Your new cat may be full of self-confidence and itching to get out and make himself at home. Or he may be more of a shrinking violet who needs more time to adjust.
The first week
Over a few days, slowly introduce him to the rest of your house, including the other pets and household members. Make sure he always has access to "his" room so he can retreat to it if he feels nervous. It will take a little while, but he'll eventually start to feel comfortable at home.
Cats vary in terms of how demanding they are as pets, so let yours guide you to the level of attention he wants, whether it's your hand for petting, or your lap for sitting. Provide him with the necessary creature comforts, and give him the companionship he seeks, and he'll be content.