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How to Introduce a New Cat into the Household

If you just adopted a new kitty, congratulations on becoming a fur parent! There’s no limit to the amount of joy this new addition can add to your home, but transitioning a pet to your home can be stressful. Follow these tips to introduce your kitty to a safe, low-stress environment so she can adjust quickly to her new home. 

Prepare for Kitty’s Arrival

Buy all the supplies you need in the days leading up to your kitty’s arrival. The goal is to present the fewest number of changes possible to help the transition go smoothly. To accomplish this, start by making arrangements with the breeder or animal shelter to bring home the towel or blanket the kitten has been sleeping on. This allows something with a familiar smell to accompany your pet.

Also, find out what kind of food the cat has been eating and the litter she’s been using and purchase the same brands if you can. If you want to change brands later, you can by gradually mixing a new brand with the old one.

Handle the Initial Introduction Appropriately

Before you leave to pick up your new fur baby, put her food, water, toys, a scratching post and litter box in a quiet room you can close off, such as a spare bedroom. This gives her a small space to explore first, which is much less intimidating than trying to take in the whole house all at once. Sit quietly and wait for the cat to come out of her carrier on her own. If she refuses, leave the room and check back later, but never force her to exit the carrier.

Secluding your kitty at the start is especially important if you have other pets, since this gives them a chance to smell each other before they come face to face. Consider spraying Feliway, which is essentially bottled cat pheromones, on the carrier and in the secluded room. These pheromones have a calming effect and may reduce your new cat’s anxiety during the transition period.

Introduce Family Members and Pets

Once your cat starts to act comfortable, have one family member at a time enter the secluded room to meet and play with her for a short time. Have children sit on the floor and show them how to stroke the cat gently.

Introduce existing pets with the new kitty as gradually as possible. Start by letting them sniff each other under the closed door. Set each animal’s food dish on opposite sides of the door so they associate the smell of one another with something pleasant (eating).

Then let them see each other through a screen or piece of Plexiglas. When tempers seem to settle, start feeding your pets across the room from each other. Gradually move their bowls closer together until they’re eating side by side. Soon you can let the cats wander the house freely, but monitor them closely and be prepared to split up a fight if necessary.

Bring Your New Cat to Germantown Vet Clinic

It’s beneficial to bring your new kitty to Germantown Vet immediately after picking her up to ensure a clean bill of health before introducing her to family members and other pets. If this isn’t possible, we recommend bringing her in within two weeks of adopting her for a new pet wellness visit. If you’re interested, we can get you all set up with a pet wellness plan to help ensure your cat stays healthy for years to come.

To learn more about our wellness plans, or to schedule a visit, please contact Germantown Vet Clinic.

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