Adjusting to a New Home

You will find there are two things that are consistent with our feline friends

  • They are predictably unpredictable
  • The rule of thumb for any unexpected situation or circumstance is to “panic and run.”

This can be anything from the doorbell ringing to dropping a dish on the floor. Moments after the incident, you may find them sheepishly looking out from their hiding spot before they make an effort to save face and wander around as if nothing happened.

Yes, cats do get embarrassed. Cats are not short on pride and they seem to be particularly proud of their jumping abilities. When they misjudge and fall short of their target causing you to burst out in laughter, do not be surprised to find kitty totally ticked off. Any gesture you make to reconcile may very well be ignored and you may find you are purposely shunned for a considerable amount of time. Kitty will recover and once again you will be best friends but it will be on their timetable ….. as is everything.

Adjusting To The New Home

Like people, no two cats are exactly alike. Some are bold and brave and some are meek and shy. And, like children, they will do the opposite of what you expect after you have gone into a long dissertation on what they will and will not do.

Bringing a kitty into a new home will either be a breeze, a total meltdown or somewhere in between. But, chances are, if kitty picks you out, you have a really good chance for an easy transition.

Some walk in and act as if they have always been there. Others are so stressed, you soon begin to wonder if they will ever be happy. Some run and hide for a day or two while others take weeks. In this event, to aid in the transition, you can help ease the cat’s anxiety by providing a safe haven. Select a smaller room such as a bedroom or bathroom that is out of the normal traffic area. This quiet room will allow the cat to adjust to the new smells and sounds. Be sure to put all the things the cat will need in the room. This includes food and water, litter box, toys, bed etc. Place the food and water as far away from the litter box as possible. Open the carrier and allow the cat to enter the room in his/her own time. It would not be unusual for the cat to remain in the carrier for several hours or rush back in when ever you enter the room.

Check on the cat several times talking to him/her and even just sitting nearby. Let the cat come out on its own, do not dump or force it out as this will just cause additional stress.  By visiting often, the cat will become familiar with your voice and will let you know when it is OK to pet it or to pick it up. This may take less than a day or it may take several days, a week or more. Cats need time and patience to adjust to their new home.

Once the cat seems to be more comfortable then leave the door to the room open allowing him/her to make the decision as to when they are ready to investigate beyond their comfort zone. Each cat is different in the time they need to adjust to the new surroundings. Allowing the cat to adapt at his/her own speed will work out better for all in the long run. 

If you are bringing a kitten into your home, you will want to “kitty proof.”  Lamp cords are especially dangerous as kittens, like small children, tend to put things in their mouths and bite down. Unplug electrical cords or wrap in a material, such as a flexible garden hose, they cannot bite through. Keep items they can easily choke on out of their reach. A good rule of thumb is if it isn’t safe for a small child then it isn’t safe for your cat or kitten. Kittens have very sharp teeth and can easily bite off small pieces of plastic, straw, etc. and choke on it.

Plastic bags are not good toys to play with as they can get wrapped up in it and suffocate. Also, should a piece be swallowed, it can block their windpipe. It is best to keep plastic and cellophane wrappings out of reach at all times.