Dear Miss Behavin’: I am planning adopting a cat next week. What can I do to ensure my new cat feels safe and will acclimate to his new home smoothly?
Bringing home a new cat is exciting! You want your new cat to adjust quickly and without much trouble. Some cats take longer to adjust then others. The key is patience and having a plan in place before you even bring the cat home. The day you bring your cat home, have a small bedroom or bathroom set up for your cat with a litterbox, food, water, a place to hide, and blankets. Make it cozy and inviting! If you let him out in the house right away, odds are he will dash under a bed, the couch, or an even harder to reach area like behind the refrigerator or washing machine.
Cats feel the safest in small areas so set him up for success by giving him a small room to acclimate. This is very important for shy cats. Go in to the room and offer affection and your new cat company to make them feel at ease. If he just wants to hide, that’s okay. After a few days your cat may let you know that he is ready to leave the bathroom and explore the rest of his new home! Once again, take it slow. Introduce him to the house slowly and not all at once. That can be overwhelming! It can take up to two weeks or longer for a new cat to relax in their new space. Take it slow, have patience, and soon enough your cat will be king of the house.
Alex Elias is the Assistant for the Behavior and Training Department at the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA. For more information, visit www.PHS-SPCA.org, call 650-340-7022, ext. 416, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Critter Corner: How to prepare home for new cat