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18th May 2023

Introducing a cat to a new home

by Burns Team Writer

Bringing a cat into your home can be incredibly exciting. However, it’s important to remember that the transition to your home may be overwhelming for your new companion. To help make the process as smooth as possible, we have prepared a step-by-step guide on introducing a cat to a new home.

Keep reading to find out how you can help your cat feel safe, secure and loved in their new surroundings.

Preparing for your new cat to come home

Choose a quiet room

Whilst you will likely want to spend every minute with your new feline friend, we recommend you give them some space when they first arrive. Being in a new home can be overwhelming for cats, so it’s best to introduce them to one room at a time. When they first arrive, choose a quiet room for them to settle down in. This should have limited foot traffic during the day, so a spare room would be ideal if possible.

Set out essential items

Once you have chosen a quiet room for your cat, you will need to set out all of their essential items. This includes food, water and a litter box. Whilst they may not eat anything when they first arrive, it is worth having some dry cat food out in case they get hungry. You can also put out some toys and a scratching post, which can help your cat spread their scent around the room.

Create hiding places

With all of the essential items in place, you will need to prepare a number of cosy hiding places for your cat. If you have furniture in the room, this can easily be achieved be placing blankets inside a wardrobe or behind a chair. However, if you don’t have much furniture in the room, you can simply drape some blankets over a bed or a cardboard box. Hiding is a way for your cat to feel safer in a new environment, so don’t be worried if you don’t see them for the first couple of days.


Welcoming your new cat to your home

Let them out of the carrier

When you bring your new cat home, take them straight into the room you prepared and close the door behind you. Place the cat carrier close to one of the hiding spots and let them out. It is best to let them come out on their own, instead of trying to encourage them out in any way. They may come out straight away to approach you or they may stay in the carrier until you leave. Either way, you need to let your cat explore at their own pace.

Interact with them

It’s important you don’t force your new cat to interact with you. However, you also want them to get used to being around you. For the first couple of days, we would recommend simply sitting in the same room as your cat. It is then up to them whether they want to interact with you or not.

Introduce family members

If your new cat seems comfortable around you, you can start to introduce them to other members of the family. Before bringing in any young children, it is important that you explain how to interact with the cat. This is particularly important with nervous cats, who may not be used to receiving attention from young children.


Settling your new cat into your home

Open up the rest of the house

Once your cat seems confident around you and your family members, you can let them explore the rest of the house. However, make sure that you cat proof your house first, by locking any windows and doors. When you are ready, simply leave the cat’s room with the door open and let them wander out when they are ready. Don’t feel that you need to follow them from room to room either. Cats are very inquisitive and it will probably take them a while to explore every nook and cranny.

Introduce other cats

If you have other cats, you will need to slowly introduce them to your new cat. It is best to take the introduction process slowly, especially as cats can be so territorial. Once you have had your new cat for a few days, start bringing in items that your resident cat has used, such as toys and blankets. This will allow your new cat to get used to the scent of your existing cat, before meeting them face to face. You can repeat this process with your other cat as well, so that they can get used to the scent of your new feline friend.

Let them go outside

For the first few weeks, you will want to keep your cat inside. This will give them time to make positive associations with your home, making sure they know where to return to. When you eventually let your cat outside for the first time, it is recommended that you keep the door open. This will allow them to run back to safety, should they be spooked by anything outside. Make sure you are ready to offer treats and reassurance when they do come back in.

Need more advice?

If you didn’t find the answer you were looking for in our guide, feel free to get in touch. We have a team of dedicated nutritional advisors, who can provide you with additional advice on how to introduce a cat to a new home.

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