Preventative Care@3x

How To Help Integrate Your New Cat Into Your Life

Dec 7, 2021 | Cat, Holidays, New Pet

Portrait Of A Beautiful Cat

portrait of a beautiful cat

Questions To Ask Before Introducing a Cat to a New Home

Bringing a new cat home? Congratulations! They’re sure to make a wonderful addition to your life. But first, it’s important to make sure you’re absolutely prepared (even if this isn’t your first time taking on a feline companion). Here are some questions you should ask yourself before introducing a cat to a new home:

  1. Can you afford a new pet?
  2. Is your home large enough for all pets to have adequate space?
  3. Will you be home often to monitor the integration process?
  4. Can you/your family make a long-term commitment? Are you willing to share responsibility?
  5. Are any of your current pets (if applicable) suffering from any illnesses where the added stress of a new feline family member may cause further problems? 
  6. Are any of your current pets already suffering behavioral issues where bringing a new cat home may interfere with progress?

Once you’ve considered these factors and determined you’re ready to bring home a new friend, introducing a new kitten to cats or dogs and into your life will be an exciting adventure. Just take note of these next few integration tips, and the transition is sure to be more smooth. 

Tips for Bringing a New Cat Home

Cat-proof everything
Tie up or cut blind cords, keep candles up high and out of reach, cover any electric cords, store poisonous plants and flowers out of sight, close drawers/cabinets, keep nightstands clear, keep trash covered, etc. 

Provide hiding spots
New cats are often nervous and like to tuck away. Consider creating a comfy fort with cardboard boxes and sheets for your new feline friend to hide. Also, before bringing a new cat home, move or block any large furniture to avoid losing your pet underneath it. 

Introduce your scent
Provide your new family member with a t-shirt or other piece of clothing that contains your scent to allow them to become familiar at their own pace.

Food, water, and litter
Place water and food in one area, and an unenclosed litter box in another. Expect shyer cats to avoid eating much within the first day or so. 

Scratching post
Scratching is a comfort behavior for cats. It’s also important that the scratching post you provide is new and unused by other cats as the smell of others while first adapting may cause stress. 

Tons of toys
Cats need toys to entertain themselves when you’re not around. Plus, having access to toys will help them let loose a little and recognize that their new home is an enjoyable place. 

Quality time
Daily interaction is a necessity but especially with a new addition. Pet, play, or just sit quietly in the same room as your new companion so they can get to know you. 

When introducing a cat to a new home, many people like to start by establishing a “safe room” and limiting the new family member to this specific spot in the house temporarily. Here they will acclimate, sniff around, roam about, and become familiar with their new environment. You’ll want to ensure your kitty has access to food, water, a litter box, and any toys or scratching posts they might need during this adjustment period. Although not required and for most just preference, the safe room enables you to monitor your new feline friend’s transition in a controlled space and ensure they’re absolutely happy and comfortable before letting them roam free about the rest of the house. 

Introducing a New Kitten to a Cat

Step 1: Allow your new feline friend to adjust to their new environment FIRST. 

Step 2: Introduce the smell first by providing one of your current cat’s toys or allowing them to sniff under a door.

Step 3: Organize a meeting, place your new cat in a carrier and allow the cats to look at each other and repeat a few times daily.

Step 4: Open the carrier door and allow them to approach each other at their own pace (have a water spray bottle ready if any correction is needed).

Step 5: Integration is complete! Hissing, swatting, and grouchiness are normal at first; just be mindful of any excessively aggressive behavior. 

Bringing a new cat home? Be sure to schedule a wellness check at any one of our AZPetVet locations today. We’d love to meet your new furry friend and ensure they’re healthy, happy, and up-to-date on all necessary vaccines!

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.