Introducing Your New Cat &
Kitten Proofing Your Home
Written by: Emily Greene, Citizenkat Sphynx
Special thanks Nancy Anderson Cordell for use of her beautiful photos
No part of this article may be reproduced without author’s permission
Just for a moment, imagine you are plopped into a strange home with strange people and possibly other strange animals. It’s new. It’s foreign. It’s scary. This is how your new kitten feels and it will be one of the most stressful times in its life.
Before you bring your new kitten home, it is paramount to mentally prepare yourself for an adjustment period. Sometimes, it is a fairytale and it takes just a moment for a new cat to adjust. On the other extreme, some take 6 months to adjust. The usual adjustment period is 2-6 weeks. No one, not even experts can predict with 100% certainty how a cat will react in a new environment. On occasion, the behaviors will be upsetting or frustrating, however it is usually temporary. Please be fair and give your kitty a chance to adapt. Patience; an understanding of feline behavior; an understanding no animal is perfect; a willingness to train and put in some hard work are all essential in having a successful transition.
Helping your cat adjust in the best way possible will make him comfortable and the least stressed. It is important to work with your breeder and vet. There is not a sure-fire way that suits every situation.
Suggestions for Easing the
If you can, take a couple days
off work to ensure you have a
lot of time to spend with your
new kitty and make him/her
It is extremely important your
new cat have the same food as
before it moved into your home.
A swift change in diet is one
way to really upset their
digestive system and cause
problems such as vomiting and
The food you have
selected to feed your cat must
be slowly introduced over a time
period of at least 2 weeks. The
only exception is switching from
any food to feeding raw. If they
eat the raw right away, it is a
good thing. The new cat must eat
a little food otherwise it can
develop a dangerous disease
called fatty liver disease.
· Set up a small room for your new cat. Your bedroom is the best place. Smaller areas make it easier for them to feel secure while getting acquainted with their new family and home.
· Place a litter box where it is easily accessible along with a cat bed, scratching post and anything else the cat needs to feel comfortable.
· If you have another cat or dog, DO NOT let them interact right away. It is important the cat know you and the surroundings first. They need to have some familiarity with the new environment first before introducing new animals. The quarantine time for your new kitty should be at least one week.
· The first introduction to other pets should be done very carefully. One way is to put the new kitten in the center of the room in its crate and let the other animal(s) sniff and see the reactions. Another way is to have two people hold each animal about 5 feet from one another.
Wash all animals in the same
smelling product. Cats use their
scent to determine if they like
other animals and being scented
If you have more than one cat,
please have three litter boxes.
For each additional cat, you
need one more litter box.
Put an item with each animal’s
scent in the other animal’s area
so they can learn the smell.
Show your kitten the litter box
several times a day until you
are sure they know where it is
and are comfortable using it.
Make sure your kitty has easy
access to litter boxes. Do not
keep litter box in area that is
cold or out of the way.
Make sure you are prepared with
scratching posts to you can
train your kitty to scratch in
It is normal for cats to hiss or
growl at each other the first
few days or even weeks and
should lessen over time and
hopefully they will become
friends. Some tricks are getting
them to play with a toy
together. Or having them eat
together, but with separate
Do NOT let any of the animals
stay around the others if too
stressed. Limit the time until
the tolerance gets better and
better. This can imprint
You want good imprints!
Do not hit, spank, kick your
kitten, it will not change the
behavior. It is cruel and will
only make your kitten fearful of
you and other humans.
If it is at all possible, get
two kittens as a pair. They do
very well having each other and
it is joy to watch.
Stress when moving into a new home is inevitable. Below is a list of some of the usual signs of stress and tips to help correct the issue.
· Lack of eating
· Getting a cold
· Hissing / Aggression
· Crying / Excessive Talking
· And… the most feared… not using the litter box
Lack of Eating – This is fairly common when cats are stressed. Most will at least nibble a little bit. If they do not at all, contact the breeder to see what might be best to get them to eat. You should stick to the same feeding schedule. Special treats that seem to work to get stressed cats to eat are stinky Fancy Feast, all meat baby food, raw beef cubes or raw ground beef.
Getting a cold-
Your kitten should come to you healthy with a vet health certificate. You should also take your kitten to your vet within 2-3 days for a health exam.
Be wary of flights and long travel for kittens. Comparing this to human travel, we can and do get sick after travel. It is not much different for a cat.
Cats in a new home are stressed and any animal under stress can get cold or tired. Some have an unrealistic expectation that their cat will not ever be sick. Remember, when you travel or deal with stress, you can get sick more easily as well. Hopefully this does not happen, but if your kitten does get a cold, it is not uncommon.
Watch your kitten to ensure: she is eating, drinking water, clear eyes, the third eyelid is not visible, nose not running, and even, clear breathing. The kitten’s stool should be firm and well formed. If any of these things are off, contact your breeder immediately and make a vet appointment. This must be done quickly as kittens can deteriorate without treatment within 24 hours.
This is a fear response. The kitten or cat needs
to be moved to a small area, like your bedroom
until the kitten feels comfortable and then the
area can grow.
Hissing is usually only directed to other
animals. This is normal for cats to do when they
meet new animals. It should subside with time.
This is an attention seeking behavior and it is
the sign of emotional distress. Usually it will
decrease over time. Some kitties are naturally
talkative; ask your breeder what is normal for
your cat prior to the move.
Some cats fear the new home making them more
worried about using the litter box. If you have
dogs, it is IMPERATIVE the litter boxes are
safely away from the dogs so the cat feels
comfortable using it.
It is important to use the same litter
the cat is used to. You can transition onto a
new litter slowly by mixing it in more and more.
Also, some cats do not like covered litter boxes
or enclosed ones.
If you have a cat that is not using the litter
box properly, the cat must be moved to a very
small area for a period no less than 14 days to
retrain. To some it sounds cruel, but pet owners
have tried this very successfully. It works
It is not uncommon for cats to pee on dirty
cloths. It smells dirty to them, so please, put
your laundry in a closed hamper.
Look at your
home like you
are a cat...
look for low
at high objects
your cat can get
on top of, look
for objects she
can knock over.
Make sure you
that can hurt or
harm your cat.
Make sure all
are put away or
look like a toy.
baskets or put
them under sinks
or in cabinets-
most cats will
tip trash cans
over to at least
lids to prevent
LOVE warm places
items out of
they can jump
Make sure your
house plants are
not poisonous to
are, you should
get rid of them.
Stay away from
phenols as they
are toxic to
are found in
oils such as
pine, tea tree,
thyme, and many
products you use
your new cat is
bound to knock
Make sure all
products are put
out of harm's
Take a look at
and blinds, make
well. Check the
cords and tie
them so your
get entangled it
in. Some kittens
think they are
Tarzan and will
jump and swing
on them. Most
grow out of
Do not leave
toys with tinsel
or any ribbons
items can be
ingested. It can
even worse, a
can cause death.
Cats love to
chew on cell
Make sure you
put them away.
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