How do I welcome a new cat into my home? | BC SPCA
Search by
postal code:
Search our site:

Report Animal Cruelty:


For all other calls and inquiries
see our contact details.

Find a BC SPCA location in your area:

How do I welcome a new cat into my home?

Cats are wonderful companions and giving a cat a home is a wonderful event, but it is important to remember that cats can be very timid and afraid when transitioning into a new home. When you arrive home, go straight to a small room where your cat can stay for a few days. There should be no places to hide in this room except for a crate or their carrier box.

The room should have a litter box, food and water bowls. Cats do not like to eat near their litter box so keep the food bowls and the litter box away from each other.

Tips for introducing your cat to her room

  • Open the crate or setup the Hide, Perch & Go™ box you got from the BC SPCA shelter and let your cat out. Let her explore the room.
  • Place the crate near a wall.
  • Sit on the floor and quietly observe.
  • Your cat may come to you right away or go in her crate. Do not hold, restrain or force her to do anything.

Leave your cat in the room. You’re excited, though being patient for a few days is the best and most loving thing you can do.

Remember a new cat coming from a home or shelter may have just experienced a difficult time in their life. They have lost their home and routine. Give your cat the time and space she needs to get used to you and her new surroundings.

Step 1

  • Go to the room as often as you can.
  • Bring gifts such as healthy and tasty food treats or toys (e.g. feather stick, cat ball) every visit.
  • Every person in the household should take a turn doing this.
  • Sit on the floor and place these treats near you or wave the toy around.

Step 2

  • Wait for your cat to come to you – DO NOT grab or attempt to hold the cat.
  • Talk to her – a high-pitched but quiet voice is always more reassuring for cats.
  • Try coaxing her out.
  • If she comes to you, pet her gently under the chin.

Every cat is different. Some may show you love and climb on your lap right away. Others may stay in hiding and watch you from afar until they feel safe. Take your cues from your cat. Let her make the decision of how much interaction she’s comfortable with her. The adjustment may take hours, days or even weeks. For more tips download our our care sheet (PDF).

Cat using scratching post and playing