September 11, 2014
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?
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 them loose in your car, where they might panic and cause an accident, or get out when you open the car door. They may yowl and cry and try mightily to get out of the carrier, but don't give in.
After the ride home, they will, most likely, not be in the mood for fun. To make their 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 them 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 them in that room, but if they're hiding under the bed, don't force them to come out. If necessary, sit on the floor to talk to them and offer treats. Let them 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 themself at home. Or they may be more of a shrinking violet who needs more time to adjust.
Avoid conflict when bringing a new cat into the family by carefully introducing them to any other pets. More tips »
The first week
Over a few days, slowly help your cat become familiar with the rest of the family, including other pets and household members. Make sure they always have access to "their" room so they can retreat to it if they feel nervous. It will take a little while, but they'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 they want, whether it's your hand for petting, or your lap for sitting. Provide them with the necessary creature comforts and give them the companionship they seek, and they'll be content.