Whether your new cat came from a shelter, a home, a city street, or a country barn, the first twenty-four hours are critical.
It’s a good idea to learn about how cats interact with their surroundings before bringing a new cat into your life.
Cats place a high value on territory. A cat views his territory similarly to how most of us regard our clothes; without them, we feel naked and vulnerable. The majority of us would try to hide if we were naked in a room full of strangers! Cats from homes or the streets frequently seek refuge in strange territory. Overly sensitive or under-socialized cats will frequently hide for a week or more! You are aware that this cat has joined the family, but the cat is not.
By giving your new cat some privacy, you can help him or her adjust to his or her new surroundings. If at all possible, prepare your home before bringing the cat in. Set up the litter box with one to two inches of litter and, if possible, place it in a corner.”
Create a safe haven for the cat to hide in now. A covered cat bed can be purchased, but a cardboard box turned upside down with two “doors” cut in it will suffice. Why are there two “doors”? Many cats appear to feel safer if they have a secondary “escape” route. Make sure the box is large enough for the cat to stand up, turn around, stretch out, and lie down in – but keep it cozy!
After you’ve finished preparing the bathroom, cat-proof the rest of your home. Are there any elevated surfaces for the cat to explore? Allow the cat to approach you. Cats need to be able to leap and survey their territory.
Put sentimental items that are easily broken away until your cat has settled in. Examine all of the nooks and crannies. Is there anything dangerous for the cat to explore or hide in? If so, close them off. Finally, place a scratching post or pad in each room.
If you have to bring the cat in before your house is ready, keep him in his carrier until his room is ready! Keep a bowl of fresh water next to the litter box. After you’ve finished setting up the room, place the carrier next to the “safe haven,” and then close the bathroom door before opening the carrier. Do not try to pull the cat out. Allow him to go out on his own and explore his new surroundings.
Don’t go for the cat! If the answer is “no,” go ahead and make some! Return in fifteen minutes if he does not approach. Don’t be surprised if he refuses to eat. It is common for re-homed cats to refuse to eat, often for several days. Take the leftovers and depart. Return in a few hours with a fresh meal of the same high-quality food.
Remember to let the cat dictate the pace, and please be patient as it may take weeks for the cat to realize that this foreign turf will be new territory.
Wondering about 4 Ways Your New Cat Could End Up Homeless? Check it out on our latest post!