Acclimating Your Cat to a New Home

Before Bringing A New Cat Home

Kittens are curious creatures so to be sure they are safe in their new home, you must kitten proof. Make sure to move valuable and breakable items to high shelves. Keep toilet lids down, put away small items that could be choking hazards and make sure all plants are out of reach. Once your kitten begins teething, provide them with safe toys to chew. This will prevent them from teething on your possessions and will give them hours of entertainment.

Adjusting To A New Home

When bringing home a new cat, the first few days should be quiet ones since the cat needs time to familiarize itself with new surroundings. It’s also important you keep your new cat 100 percent indoors for a minimum of three weeks. To start, place the cat in a small room with bedding, a litter box, food and water. Be sure to provide a box or carrier so the cat can hide. When the cat feels comfortable with the new environment, slowly start to introduce other rooms in the house. If there are children or other pets in the house, gradually introduce them to your new cat, but only under strict supervision. Because relocation for cats is stressful, it will take time before they bond with people, places and animals, so be patient.

Introducing Your New Cat To Other Cats In Your Household

The introduction process is extremely important since cats are territorial by nature, so a cat's transition to a new home with preexisting pets has to be organized. Start by placing the new cat in its own room with a closed door and its own bedding, litter box, food and water. Ensure both cats are washed with the same shampoo so they smell alike. Then, after two days, exchange the resident cat's bedding with that of the new cat so they may become acquainted with each other through smell. Allow the new cat to explore the rest of the house, by placing the resident cat in the closed room and letting the new cat roam. For at least 5 to 7 days, keep the new cat and resident cat in separate areas.

Bring the new cat in a carrier to meet your resident cats and sniff each other out through the carrier door. Gradually introduce them to one another several times a day for about an hour. Continue these repeated meetings until they remain calm in each other’s presence. When the cats remain calm in each other’s presence, it's time to let the new cat into the rest of the house a few minutes at a time under your supervision. Increase the length of each visit. This process can take weeks or even months depending on the personality of the cats involved. If fighting takes place between the cats, take the new cat back to its room and proceed more slowly with the introduction, but if they are able to tolerate each other, remain vigilant and supervise their time together. If the cats become aggressive at any time, begin the introduction process again.

Multiple Cats & Litter Boxes

A general rule for the minimum number of standard litter boxes to have in a multi-cat household is one per cat plus an additional litter box or a litter box labeled for use with multiple cats. Since cats are known to be territorial, keeping multiple litter boxes in multiple locations throughout the house can help the residential cat from regressing and using alternative “bathroom” locations. If the residential cat does regress, clean up the pet mess with an enzymatic cleaner and begin the process of retraining the cat to use a litter box in a secluded, safe area. Once the cat begins using the litter box regularly, re-acclimate it to the new cat slowly.