Settling In With A New Cat (Or Kitten)
Gretchen Heuring for ElderThink
The first 24 hours are pretty important to your new cat or kitten friend. There are some things you can do to make your new pet more comfortable with this big change.
Bringing Her (Or Him) Home
Bringing your cat from where it has been to your home where you will live together is the first big step. Cats generally do not enjoy riding in cars. It's safest for her to be safely placed in a cat carrier lined with an easily washable towel or some paper. She may complain and meow quite loudly, but this is much better than taking a chance that she might panic, scratch someone, or hide behind the brake pedal. Jennifer Warder, Direct of Shelter Outreach for Adopt-A-Pet.com, suggests that you play soothing music in the car or even sing to your new furry friend.
At First She Could Be Scared
Of course your cat might be scared and it could take a few days for her to settle in to her new surroundings. To make this easier, choose a small room away from most people and set it up for her with a litter box, bed, food and water. Be sure there are sturdy screens if windows are to be left open. For a test, bat at each screen yourself as though your finger tips are paws. Keep her in there for the first day. If she wants to hide, go on about your own business and let her be. The next day, let her choose to move about your home as she wishes. It could take a few days but her natural curiousity will eventually lead her from that room.
A Smart Strategy
If you plan to have her litter box somewhere else, you will need to help her with two litter boxes. Put the second litter box in the new location. Then move the old litter box a foot or two each day toward the new one. This could take a few days or even a couple of weeks depending on how far apart they are. When the two boxes are finally together, remove one of them.
You Know What Is Best For Her
One final important piece of advice. Even if your new kittie cries at the door, do not let her go outside for many months or even forever. She will get over it. We know cats are supposed to be able to find their way home, but actually, she could get lost. Distract her with a toy or or a shoestring, or a treat.
We hope you have a wonderful life together and that you bring each other lasting happiness.