Welcoming Your New Cat
You would want to welcome your new feline friend into a warm, friendly environment where they will feel safe and comfortable, so a little planning will actually go a long way.
Before your new cat comes home
Whether you’re bringing home an adult cat or a tiny kitten, they’ll still have very similar needs, particularly on the admin side of things. Here are a few things to get sorted before they arrive:
- Look for a local vet and get your new cat registered straight away to ease the process if they were ever unwell or if they need to be neutered.
- Chat with your vet about insurance policies that will cover any unexpected veterinary costs.
- While you’re there, arrange to have your new cat or kitten permanently identified with a microchip in case they ever get lost.
With the admin out of the way, it’s time for some fun – shopping! You’ll need:
- A secure cat carrier.
- Two bowls – one for food and one for water. Look for ones that can be cleaned easily like ceramic or glass bowls instead of metal ones and ensure they are big enough for them to lean in without their whiskers touching the sides.
- A litter tray and litter. It’s best to use the same type used by the breeder or rescue shelter, at least until they’ve settled in, so that they recognize it – and, importantly, know what to do with it!
- A cat bed – many prefer an igloo-style bed for snuggly security, or one elevated from the ground (e.g. as part of an activity centre).
- Grooming equipment, especially if they are longhaired.
- A scratching post made of tree bark or a sisal string-wrapped pole. Scratching helps keep their claws in good condition and a dedicated post should hopefully distract them from your furniture and carpets.
- A range of toys. Their favourite games will be ones that involve you, like dangly soft toys for them to chase and pounce on. This gives them a safe outlet for their natural hunting behaviours.
- Food. Feed your new cat or kitten the same diet they’re used to from their breeder or rescue centre for at least a week, and only switch them gradually to another diet later if you prefer or if there are health reasons for doing so.Food. Feed your new cat or kitten the same diet they’re used to from their breeder or rescue centre for at least a week, and only switch them gradually to another diet later if you prefer, or if there are health reasons for doing so.
Once they're home
Hooray, the big day has arrived
The big day has arrived! Despite your excitement, try to stay calm to allow your new cat to settle in without startling them. There are a few tips to help you through your first few days after getting a cat:
- Make sure that you can dedicate time to your cat as they get used to their new surroundings, and help them settle into a comfortable state. This might mean arranging to work from home or booking a few days of holiday to spend quality time with your new pet.
- Prepare for the journey home. Car travel can make your cat feel uncomfortable, so heading straight home should be your immediate destination after picking them up! It also helps to treat their carrier with a calming pheromone spray and placing the carrier on a flat surface in your car with a blanket over it to make the ride easier.
- When you arrive home, place the carrier on the floor in a quiet room, open the door and allow them to take their time and make their own way out.
- Supervise children and other pets at home until your new cat becomes used to their new home. This is so that your new pet does not get too scared.
- It’s always fun choosing a name for a new pet. Once you’ve decided, use their name every time you interact with them so they learn it quickly.
- Position their bed somewhere warm, quiet and away from the breeze so that they can rest there after a day of excitement.
- Place their litter tray in a quiet, easily accessible area of the room, where they won’t be disturbed. This should be away from their bed and feeding area. Check it at least twice a day, removing solids and soiled litter straight away. Fully empty and disinfect the tray at least once a week.
- Feed them several small feeds a day. This helps you develop a very close bond!
- Keep your new cat indoors for 2-3 weeks so they can get to know you, and all the different smells and sounds in the house. For a kitten, wait until your vet tells you it is okay for them to explore the great outdoors.
- Keep them safe by ensuring that there are no open doors or windows that they can sneak through and only allow them to go outdoors when they, and you, are feeling confident.
- As everything to them will be new, challenging and exciting, remember to give them the space they need to settle into their new home and family life. If they do not seem to come out of their shell, speak to your vet.
- If you are rehoming a rescue cat, get to know their preferences from the shelter’s staff to help your cat feel more at home.
Your kitten’s breeder and your veterinarian will gladly give you further help and advice about caring for your new cat, their health and settling them in to their new home. All you have to do is enjoy getting to know them, playing and having fun with your new furry friend.
If you’d like more information on Welcoming Your Cat Home or have any other queries, contact our PETCARE EXPERT TEAM
If you’d like more information on if you should get a cat or a dog, or have any other queries, contact our PETCARE EXPERT TEAM at 1800 88 7462