Welcoming a new cat to your home is an exciting, emotional moment for both you and your new family member. You may be nervous about how your kitten or cat will adapt to unfamiliar surroundings and new faces. It is also normal for your new fluffy friend to be a little scared during the switch from her previous home to yours. Preparing for this memorable event in advance will help you and your cat relax, allowing you to enjoy each other from day one. In this article we recommend practical considerations to make the arrival of your new cat in your household a positive, happy experience for both of you.
HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR NEW CAT FEEL AT HOME?
When it comes to welcoming a new cat into your home, preparation is the key word, and the first thing that needs to be prepared is a cozy, safe home. Follow these simple guidelines to make sure your new family member feels comfortable and reassured on the big day and to make your home cat-friendly and safe for your pet.
PREPARING A COSY HOME…
First of all, buy your own food and drink bowl for your new family member, preferably in ceramic or stainless steel, and place it in a carefully selected place. Following her previous diet, you can gradually switch to a new diet over the course of a week.
Then install a litter box, one for each cat in the house.
The litter box should be cleaned regularly to ensure good hygiene. Place the litter box in a quiet place away from its feeding, sleeping and playing areas.
Also install a scratching post. It’s worth it! Not only does this prevent you from having to buy new furniture, it’s also important for your cat to be able to wear out her claws. This precaution is even more convenient if there are other cats in the house.
Don’t forget to buy some specific grooming items for your cat. Brushing your cat once or twice a week, depending on the length and quality of her hair, prevents tangles from forming and prevents your cat from swallowing hairballs when she’s grooming herself.
To help your new feline friend settle down, you can also use synthetic cat pheromones. Spray it once a day on your furniture to let your cat discover her new surroundings and to stop her from marking her territory! It will also be useful for other cats in the house.
Prepare for the arrival of your new kitten and a safe environment.
Make sure all potentially harmful or toxic elements for your cat have been removed. Some substances are obviously harmful to hair, such as household cleaners, but others such as chocolate, tea, coffee and even plants (oleanders, lilies, poinsettias, philodendrons, hydrangeas, hyacinths, daffodils and tulips) are common poisons to cats.
Secure all power lines to prevent your cat or kitten from biting through them! Offer your cat a stimulating environment with some small toys (e.g.: aluminium or paper balls) to focus her attention and distract her from dangerous things. Keep all sharp objects or objects she may bite, lick or destroy out of her reach. Also be careful with open windows to prevent your cat from falling down or getting stuck.
In addition, remember to enter your vet’s contact details into your phone so that you have them by hand in case of an emergency. Visit the vet regularly to make sure your cat has been vaccinated, is correctly identified with an ID chip in the pet database and receives the correct anti-parasitic treatment. Your veterinarian can also help you put together a first aid kit, with the basic products such as eye rinses, tweezers, earrings, gauze…
BRINGING YOUR NEW BUDDY HOME
Purchase a cat carrier to make the ride home a little more homey for your new boyfriend. Spraying the cat carrier with four synthetic cat hormone sprays one day before the trip will reassure and calm your cat/kitten on that first trip. Prefer a cat carrier that opens from the top, as it is more user-friendly.
The smell of an old toy or blanket from her former owner can also reduce the initial tension in your cat.
Travelling, new smells and unfamiliar sounds will indeed help your cat feel scared and uncomfortable. Crying is a perfectly normal reaction; therefore, do not overreact and simply try to limit the stimulus.
THE FIRST DAY AT HOME WITH HER
Bringing your new cat home can be surprisingly stressful for both of you if you’re not prepared. Keep in mind that while you and your family are undoubtedly very excited to welcome your new cat into your life, she needs as much reassurance as possible on this emotional day. Follow these simple steps to ensure that the journey is as smooth as possible and the meeting with the family becomes a pleasant and happy experience for everyone.
MEETING THE NEW FAMILY
When you come home, install the cat carrier in a separate room. Gradually open the door(s) of the room so that your cat can explore her new surroundings at her own pace. Cats love open doors, but a sprawling environment on day one can be overwhelming.
Gradually introduce your new family member to your existing family members, including other pets. Your kitten/cat needs to be left alone during the first few days to get used to her new surroundings. Then gradually introduce new family members, without putting pressure on her to make contact with everyone from day one.
Avoid excessive and stressful noises as much as possible. These can upset or stress your new kitten/cat, especially noises from household appliances (vacuum cleaner, drill, lawn mower etc…).
The beginning of a good start and playing time
After switching between diets over a period of five to seven days, change the food quality and quantity of your cat’s daily feeding routine (50g per day on average for a 4kg cat) according to his age, condition and activity level.
Cats are notorious for their bad drinking habits. Therefore, make sure at all times that your cat has easy access to clean and fresh water. You can also counteract the habit of not drinking water by feeding her a moist/wet diet on a daily basis to meet his average daily requirement of 150 ml (for a 4kg cat).
What more can be done? Oh, yes, of course, buy some toys!
Playing is a great way to communicate with your cat. You can either buy toys, or you can simply improvise (e.g. with a piece of fabric). All too often, your cat/kitten will decide for herself what are her toys and what are not! Playing is also a fun way to strengthen the bond between you and your beloved life companion. Playing is also a very good way to keep your cat excited and active, especially with indoor cats. So, enjoy the training and be prepared to be patient!
The transition to your new home will be easier for your new buddy if she gets the right food and water from the start. But don’t forget that in addition to the standard nutritional needs, your cat needs a lot of attention and playtime from you. Make sure you plan playtime and start forging a love band that will grow by the day!