How to Introduce a New Cat to Your Household
The first few days you spend with your new cat are critical for forming a solid bond. Both of you are entering unfamiliar territory, so it’s important to be prepared as well as patient.
Before you pick up your new cat:
- Collect the essential supplies. You’ll need a breakaway collar, litter box, kitty litter, food and water bowls, food, a scratching post and some toys. It’s important to also pick up a pet cleaning agent and some extra paper towels.
- Decide where your cat’s litter box will go. A floor with a hard surface, such as in a bathroom, works best for easy cleanup. Fill the litter box with litter to a depth of one to two inches and place it in a corner, if possible.
- Cat-proof your home by creating some raised surfaces clear of breakable items; this way, your cat can gain height and survey his new territory.
The first day with your new cat:
- Make sure to get an identification tag to put on your new cat’s collar. The tag should have the cat’s name, your name and your phone number.
- Upon picking up your cat, ask about feeding habits, such as frequency, amount and brand of cat food. It’s important to provide the food the cat is used to for a few days; your cat’s digestive system might be sensitive to a sudden dietary change. If you want to change foods, follow the NATURAL CHOICE® guide to switching foods.
- Your first stop once you’re home should be your cat’s new room, complete with litter box. Do not pull your cat out of the carrier; simply open the gate and let your cat leave when he’s comfortable. Once out of the carrier, place your cat directly in the litter box to show where it is and that it belongs to your cat.
- To keep your new cat’s stress levels as low as possible, refrain from introducing him to too many humans. Avoiding stress will help your cat settle easier, and will help you get to know one another better and begin to build trust.
The first couple months:
- Be sure to visit the veterinarian within the first few days you have your new cat. It’s important to get a clear picture of your cat’s overall health, especially if you adopted from a shelter.
- Read about the benefits of choosing NATURAL CHOICE® kitten formulas before visiting your vet. Work with the veterinarian to determine your new cat’s dietary needs and what formula best suits those needs.
- Slowly introduce your new cat to the rest of your house while always allowing a clear route back to his safe area (the area with the litter box) in case your cat feels nervous. It might take a week or two, but eventually the cat will be comfortable in your entire house.