Bringing home a new cat or kitten is always exciting. You cannot wait to introduce the new addition to your family and friends, and you are already looking forward to years of happy companionship. The way you introduce your new cat to your household can make a big difference in how well he makes the adjustment.
Remember that cats are very many creatures of habit. They like things to be predictable and pretty much the same from day to day. You will be taking your cat out of a familiar environment, putting him into a noisy, moving vehicle, then expecting him to adjust to new surroundings, new people, and perhaps, new animals. This is a lot to ask, and no matter how wonderful you and your home are, even the most easy-going cat is likely to be stressed and nervous! To make the transition as smooth as possible, take things slowly and give your cat plenty of time to get used to his new home.
Before you bring your new cat or kitten home, making some plans ahead of time will make the transition to a new home much easier for you and your cat. To limit the number of changes your new pet will need to experience the first day before you get the cat, find out what food and litter the cat has had, and try to get the same brand. If you want to change brands later, slowly (over the course of a week) mix the new brand in with the old brand.
Before you bring your new cat home, put his food, water, toys, scratching post, and litter pan in a quiet room you can close off, perhaps a spare bedroom or bathroom. If the new cat is shy, fearful, or you have other cats, the use of the product Feliway may be helpful. Feliway is a product that was designed to help reduce anxiety in cats. It contains pheromones from the cat's face. Pheromones are chemicals that are used to communicate with other members of the same species. You may notice that a cat often rubs her face and chin on vertical surfaces. She is leaving a scent there which contains these pheromones. The pheromones from the face have a calming effect on other cats. You may wish to spray Feliway in the cat's new room, in the cat carrier before and after you pick up the cat, and around the house if you have other cats. Alternatively, you can purchase a plug-in form of the product to use in the house.
The initial introduction of your cat to your home needs to e comfortable for your new feline. An entire apartment or house can be overwhelming all at once. Many cats will hide under beds or furniture, sometimes for days. It will be much less stressful for your cat to learn about you, your family, and your home a little at a time. This applies even more if there are multiple people and/or pets in your household.
When you bring your cat home, place him in the room you have fixed up for him, keep this room closed off, and let him explore that area first. Let the cat come out of his crate on his own; do not try to coax him or tip the crate to force him out. Cats are curious and most will soon come out to explore their surroundings. If the cat seems very timid, you can leave the room for a while and check back later. If you really want to stay in the room, get a book and read. When the cat is ready to come out, stay where you are and let him come to you. Talk in a soft, reassuring tone, pet him if he seems interested, but do not try to pick him up. Leave the open carrier in the room, so that he has a safe retreat if he wants one. Give him time to learn that he can trust you.
The introduction to other family members
Introduce other family members slowly. Have them come into the room one at a time to pet and play with the cat. Have younger children sit down, then show them how to gently stroke the cat's fur and offer her a few treats. Make certain that children understand that they are not to chase the cat, hurt them or bother them while they eat, sleep or use the litter box. If there are no other pets present, you can allow the cat to begin exploring the rest of the house after a few days.