Feline good! Tips to introduce a cat to your home

by | Cat Care |

Your sweet kitty cat is coming home! You and your family can’t wait for her to arrive and start playing with her new toys. Moving to a new home can be very stressful for cats, as they become very tied to their environment. It’s best to take a slow approach when welcoming them into their new home. Here are some tips for bringing your new furry friend home in a stress-free way.

Set up your “base of operations”

Find a room in your home that will be the cat’s safe zone. Set up their food, water, litterbox and some toys. If you were provided with any towels, blankets or hiding boxes that your cat used in the animal centre, make sure they have these handy. Familiar scents will help your cat relax in their new space. There should be places for them to hide, but nothing that is inaccessible to you.

Cat-proof the area from any toxic plants, things that could tip over and shatter, or anything else unsafe. Make sure that cords are hidden or raised off the floor, and that there is somewhere high for them to go; cats like that when they’re getting used to a new environment.  It can also help your cat if you place them in their new litter box when they first arrive. If you choose to move their litter box to a new location later, place your cat in the litter box in this new location so they know where to find it.

Give them time

There is no set timeframe for this integration, and it’s really important for them to trust you, so don’t try to force it. Spend lots of time with them in their room and try to introduce new people to them slowly so they don’t get overwhelmed. If they’re very timid, just sit in the middle of the room and speak softly;  they’ll come around when they’re ready. 

“Scent Swapping” can be helpful in getting them used to their bigger world. Bring in items from the main areas of the house so the cat can get used to their scent so it won’t be as jarring when they start exploring the rest of the house. Special treats like tuna can help too! When they are ready to explore more of the house, they’ll tell  you by doing things like rushing the door when it opens, slipping their paws under the door frame, or trying to get out.  

The wide world of home!

Once your new cat decides to come out of their temporary home base, always make sure that they have easy access back to it if they get scared. Let them explore slowly, and if they run back immediately, don’t worry! That’s completely normal! Continue to monitor their litterbox and eating habits regularly to ensure they staying healthy as they adjust to their new home.

Remember, your local Ontario SPCA animal centre is just a phone call away if you need support. We hope you and your new furry friends have many purr-fect moments together!