Pet care and behaviour help topics - BC SPCA
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Pet care and behaviour help topics

Congratulations! Cats are wonderful companions and giving a cat a home is a wonderful event. A new home with new smells, people and furniture means your cat may feel anxious, stressed and scared.

How to help your new cat adjust to her new home

When you arrive home, go straight to a small room where the cat can stay for a few days. There should be no places to hide in this room except for a crate. 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.

Cute cat lifting head up to be nose to nose with girl

Tips for introducing your cat to her room

  • Open the crate 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

How to help your new cat bond with you

Leave your cat in the room. You may be excited but 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.

Pretty cat with spotted fur looking up lying down on the floor

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.

Cat using scratching post and playing with a wand toy

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 about how much interaction she’s comfortable with. The adjustment may take hours, days or even weeks.

Learn more about how you can welcome home your new cat and bond with them (PDF).

Cat playing with woman with wand toy