How To Introduce A Cat To A New Home

By Allegra Ringo

So you've adopted a cat. Congratulations! Living with cats is fun, rewarding, and for the most part, pretty easy. But there are certain steps you should take to make sure your new kitty is able to adjust well to their new home.

Cute little cat with green eyes
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Before your cat comes home.

Make sure your cat has all the necessary supplies to thrive. These supplies include all the basics, like food and water bowls and a litter box, to less obvious ones like nail clippers. Make sure you have a scratching post or other acceptable place for your cat to scratch.

  1. Litterbox supplies
  2. Food
  3. Toys
  4. A place to sleep
  5. Carrier
  6. Scratching post
  7. Grooming tools

You'll also want to be sure your cat, who might be scared or shy at first, has plenty of safe small spaces to hide in if they want to. Your best bet is to set up the bathroom so that your new cat can hang out in there for a bit, while they become accustomed to their new surroundings. Stock the bathroom with their litter box, food and water, and some cat toys.

Finally, scan your home — especially at floor-level- for any items that a cat could possibly ingest. These items include various foods and plants in addition to household cleaning solutions, as well as little bits of plastic or any other small items that might look edible to your new pet.

Cat looking up sitting on the wooden background
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After your cat is home.

Remember that cats may be very scared at first, so give them time to adjust. Set your new cat up in the aforementioned bathroom to give them a small, safe space to acclimate to. While they're still in their carrying case, set them in the bathroom, open the carrying case door, and close the bathroom door behind you. Allow your cat all the time they need to come out of the carrier and into their new world. A good sign that they're ready to explore beyond the bathroom is when they start putting their paws under the door.

Once your cat is outside the bathroom, give them all the space they need, and remember to have patience with them. Some cats adjust to their new homes immediately, but others may take several weeks or even longer, depending on their past and their personality. During this time, make sure your cat has access to safe hiding spaces and to food and water at all times.

Cat top view lying on parquet floor
credit: Andrey_Kuzmin/iStock/GettyImages

Nighttime Rituals

When it comes time for you to go to bed, make sure your cat has access to their own bed, as well as their scratching post and their toys. Cats' sleeping patterns are very different from ours, and they might wake up and need something to do while you're sleeping.

Once your cat is comfortable around you (you'll know because they'll walk around your home and won't hide anymore), play with them! Cats typically need at least 15 minutes of playtime each day (usually more for kittens). Playtime stimulates their kitty brains and will help you bond with them.

Above all, remember that this is a big change for your cat, and provide them with plenty of patience and love.

Are you interested in learning more about what you're reading? Then scroll through this article about what it means when your pet doesn't remember you. Also, like us on Facebook and join our newsletter to learn more about your pet's behavior.