How to Properly Introduce a New Cat into Your Home
Bringing home a new pet can be very exciting for a family and a cause for celebration. But you need to keep in mind that a cat or kitten coming into your home for the first time will naturally be nervous, especially if he/she has been living in a shelter. It’s important that you provide your kitty with a quiet, calm space all their own where they can feel safe and secure while adapting to their new home.
In the days leading up to the big day when you bring your cat home, you’ll want to prepare the room your kitty will initially stay in and buy the food and supplies you’ll need long term, as follows:
- Cat carrier, collar and ID tag
- A litter box, food dish and water bowl
- A nice soft bed, small enough to feel cozy but big enough so he/she can move around
- A variety of cat foods and bags of litter
- Several scratching posts, cubbies and plenty of toys
Cats thrive in an enriched environment with things to climb up on, cubbies to hide in and toys to play with. If you have shelves he/she can safely climb up on, great. Otherwise, you can buy a scratching post tree with built-in resting areas and cubbies that your cat would absolutely love.
Once you pick your kitty up, but before bringing him/home, it’s important that you take him/her in to visit the vet:
- The vet will check your cat’s general health, including for the presence of parasites.
- If your cat hasn’t already been vaccinated, these will be given or scheduled for later depending on the age of you kitten.
- If your cat has had his/her initial shots, the vet will schedule any follow up vaccinations.
- Regular trips to the vet are essential to maintain the health of your kitty.
- You may also want to get your cat microchipped just in case he/she gets lost down the road.
Now that you’ve taken care of all these details, you can bring your kitty home and place him/her in the small quiet room where he/she will stay while he/she adapts. This often takes only 2-5 days, but it can take longer for sensitive cats. He/she will likely be a bit frightened, so make sure there is a little cubby where he/she can hide if need be. It’s also best at first if there is no contact with other pets.
Soon enough he/she will feel safe enough to climb up on your lap to get petted. You can now start introducing other family members one-by-one. Let him/her get used to everyone’s smell and before long he/she will express a desire to venture out of their small little room and start exploring their new surroundings.
Many people choose to get a cat because they’ve heard they are extremely independent, which is what appeals to them. They just assume that cats don’t need a lot of attention. This is not the case. Cats need just as much love and attention as any other pet. You need to be fully committed to giving your cat all the attention he/she needs. Otherwise, you will have a very unhappy love-starved kitty.
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