Congratulations! You have a new cat. No doubt you’re looking forward to years of happy companionship. But what do you do now?
Before your new furball arrives home, outfit your home with all the supplies you could possibly need.
When your pet arrives
The first thing you should know about your new pet is that most cats hate to travel. For the trip home, your pet will be confined in a sturdy cat carrier. A cat should never be loose in the car, where he might panic and cause an accident, or get out when you the car door. She may yowl and cry and try mightily to get out of the carrier, but don’t give in.
After the ride home, he will, most likely, not be in the mood for fun. To make his transition to your household as comfortable as possible, select a quiet, closed-in area, such as your bedroom or a small room away from the main foot traffic, and provide her with a litter box, food and water, toys, and a scratching post.
Let your new pet become acquainted with that limited area for the first few days. Be sure to spend plenty of time with him/her in that room, but if (s)he’s hiding under the bed, don’t force him to come out. If necessary, sit on the floor to talk to him and offer treats. Read a book and let your cat get used to you – let her come to you. Let him sniff all your belongings and investigate all the hiding places.
Your new cat may be full of self-confidence and itching to get out and make himself at home. Or he may be more of a shrinking violet who needs more time to adjust.
The first week
Over a few days, slowly introduce him to the rest of your house, including the other pets and household members. If you have dogs, make sure your cat is on a high perch in the room – higher than the dogs can reach, so she can safely view the dogs. Make sure he always has access to “his” (“her”) room so he can retreat to it if he feels nervous. It will take a little while, but he’ll eventually start to feel comfortable at home and with you and with the other pets.
Cats vary in terms of how much personal interaction they want and need, so let yours guide you to the level of attention (s)he wants, whether it’s your hand for petting, or your lap for sitting. Provide him/her with the necessary creature comforts, and give him the companionship (s)he seeks, and (s)he’ll be content.