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Bringing a new cat home - what to expect and avoid

Congratulations – you have adopted a cat! Bringing a new cat home can be stressful.

Welcome your new cat by reducing their anxiety by giving them space, careful introductions and setting a routine.

More quiet time for a new cat allows them to adjust quickly to new surroundings and their new family.

tip 1 - before arrival

Prepare a quiet corner as a safe space for a bed with access to a litter box and water. Include a hiding space such as a box for them to hide under or behind.

Induce a happy and comforting atmosphere by spraying the bed and carrier with a synthetic version of the naturally occurring “happy” pheromones found on your cats face. The pheromones will have a calming effect and help relieve stress and anxiety.

tip 2 - a calm ride home

Bringing a new cat home can be a challenging affair as cats can be fussy and skittish travelers. Choose a carrier that is well-ventilated and add a piece of blanket from their bedding to provide a familiar scent.

Do ensure that the journey home is quiet and smooth. Avoid having noisy young children and the family dog during the journey, to minimize stress.

tip 3 - first 2 hours

Now that your new cat is safely at home, it is time to make them comfortable in their space. Be mindful to not allow any family dog in their space.

Place the carrier in the room and then leave them to come out when they are ready. Leave any interaction for later when they are less anxious.

For at least the first day, let your new cat stay in their space to help prevent them from becoming overwhelmed. Avoid flooding your cat with too many new and stimulating experiences when they first arrive home.

tip 4 - at 3 hours ~ feeding

A stressed cat will most likely have an upset stomach, causing them to vomit.

Do introduce food after a few hours upon your new cat’s arrival at home when they seem more settled. Be mindful that they may not eat for the first day or even two if they are very stressed.

tip 5 - at 6 hours ~ careful introductions to the human family

Your new cat will settle and adjust to their new surroundings quickly when given with ample quiet time.

You can gently introduce your presence by doing activities in the same room such as reading. Refrain from interacting with your new cat unless they initiate an attention. When your cat hides, let them come out when they are ready. Remember to reward with a tasty treat if they approach.

tip 6 - first evening at home ~ introducing toys

Now that your cat is warming up to you, try to introduce some toys to engage them in positive bonding.

Do not force if your new cat remains in hiding as signs that they are still feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

3 things to avoid in the first day

A bad first experience can leave a negative impact for your new cat in the future. The priority in their early days at home is for them to engage in activities to get them comfortably settled, relaxed and happy.

1. DON’T ~ Let Your New Cat Outdoors

Ideally, let our new cat remain indoors in the first two weeks at home. The unfamiliar surrounding outdoors will add to their anxiety resulting in them getting lost and injured.

To prevent accidental escapes, ensure doors leading outside are closed when your cat is nearby.

2. DON’T ~ Introduce Other family Pets

Avoid any introductions with family pets especially other cats. As naturally territorial animals, cats take a longer time to share space with their own kind.

3. Do keep other family pets separate in your cat’s early days at home.

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