Make Him or Her Feel At Home
Kittens feel more comfortable in a new home when they have something near them that smells like their old home. It is especially helpful to take a towel or blanket the kitten has been sleeping on to his/her new home. The towel should be placed in the carrier and left in it for the pet to sleep on the first few days. If you place a new bed in the carrier, be sure to place the towel inside the bed.
To limit the number of changes your new pet will need to experience the first day, make sure you have the same food and litter she/he has had. If you want to change brands later, slowly (over the course of a week), mix the new brand in with the old brand.
Make a Quiet Place for Him/Her
Food, water, toys, scratching post, and litter pan should all be placed in a quiet room you can close off, such as a spare bedroom. If he/she is shy, fearful, or you have other cats or dogs in your home, the use of the product Feliway may be helpful. Feliway is a product that was designed to help reduce anxiety in cats. It contains pheromones from the cat’s face, used to communicate feelings of well being. You may wish to spray Feliway in the cat’s new room, in the cat carrier, and around the house, if you have other cats. Alternatively, you can purchase a plug-in form of the product to use in the house.
Introducing Her/Him to Your Home and Family Members
Cats need to become thoroughly familiar with new surroundings before they feel comfortable. An entire apartment or house can be overwhelming all at once. Many cats will hide under beds or furniture, sometimes for days. It will be much less stressful for your cat to learn about you, your family, and your home a little at a time. This is even more important if there are multiple people and/or pets in your household.
When your cat home first comes home, place him/her in the bedroom you have fixed up for him, keep this room closed off, and let him explore that area first. Let the cat come out of his crate on his own; do not try to coax him or tip the crate to force him out. Cats are curious and most will soon come out to explore their surroundings. If the cat seems very timid, you can leave the room for a while and check back later. If you really want to stay in the room, get a book and read. When the cat is ready to come out, stay where you are and let her come to you. Talk in a soft, reassuring tone, pet him if he seems interested, but do not try to pick him up. Leave the open carrier in the room so that he has a safe retreat if he wants one. Give him time to learn that he can trust you.
Introduce other family members slowly. Have them come into the room one at a time to pet and play with the cat. Have younger children sit down, then show them how to gently stroke the cat’s fur and offer him a few treats. Make certain that children understand that they are not to chase the cat, hurt him or bother him while he eats, sleeps, or uses the litter box. If there are no other pets, you can let the cat begin to explore the rest of the house in a few days.
* If you must travel with your pet in the future
Make sure you have a sturdy travel carrier for her to ride in. When cats are nervous, they may feel more secure in an enclosed space such as a crate. Plus, an unrestrained cat can be a driving hazard, especially if he climbs down by the pedals, or jumps onto your shoulder. Having your cat in a carrier can also be helpful in case he vomits, urinates or defecates, which some cats will do if they are nervous.