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How to Introduce a Cat to a New Home (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

woman holding cute kitten

Bringing a cat home for the first time can be an exciting experience, but it can also be stressful. It is never a good idea to just throw a cat into a new household, whether there are other pets present or not. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to maximize the chance that your new cat will quickly find your household comfortable and safe. Here are five steps that every new cat parent should take when introducing their feline friend to their new home.

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How to Introduce a Cat to a New Home (A Step-by-Step Guide)

1. Prepare Your House for the New Arrival

cat tree in the room
Photo Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

The first thing that you should do before bringing your new cat home for the first time is to prepare your home for the new arrival. First, make sure there is a safe place where the cat can hide in every room of the home that you intend on letting them spend time in. Keep the doors closed to any room that you don’t want the cat entering.

Place a kennel, bed, or box converted into a “cave” in each room of the home where your cat is welcome. Make sure food, water, a blanket, and at least one toy are available in each room. Keep the lights low, and make sure no other animals are in the vicinity. Remove breakable items that you don’t want to get ruined.

2. Transport and Introduce Your Cat to Their New Home

calico kitten walking out from a cat carrier
Photo Credit: alenka2194, Shutterstock

It is important to make your new kitty feel as safe and secure as possible while transporting them to their new home. First, get a secure plastic kennel with a metal door that will keep the kitty safely inside during transport. Second, outfit the kennel with a soft blanket and other soothing items, like a stuffed animal and a chew toy that will help keep the cat intrigued and stress free while they travel.

Bring the cat into your home while they are still inside their kennel carrier. Let them hang out in the kennel for about 1 hour so they can get used to the smells and people in the home. Make sure any other pets are out of the house or in a room with the door closed. Once the cat seems calm and everything in the house is calm, you can open the kennel door and let the cat come out when they are ready to.

3. Spend the First Couple of Days Alone With Your Cat

ginger cat with the owner
Photo Credit: Yuriy Seleznev, Shutterstock

It is important to make sure you can be home to spend the first couple of days alone with your new kitty and ensure that they settle into their new home safely and as stress free as possible. You should be there to help them navigate the house and ensure that they have everything that they need at any given time, whether that’s food, water, a blanket, or cuddles.

Also, ensure that other household members act in a way that keeps the cat calm and feeling safe, and make sure nothing goes on in the house that could endanger the cat in any way.

4. Introduce Visitors and Other Pets to Your New Cat

cate with young woman
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Once your new kitty feels comfortable and safe in your home, it should be a good time to introduce them to any other pets that live in the household. Do this by putting the cat in their kennel and then placing the kennel in a room where your other pet(s) are hanging out. Allow the animals to “introduce themselves” through the kennel door and see how they interact with each other. If the introductions go well, open the kennel door, and allow the cat to come out and interact with the other animal(s). If things don’t go well, separate the animals, and try introductions again in a day or two. As long as none of the animals are aggressive by nature, they should eventually start getting along.

5. Keep an Eye on Your New Cat’s Behavior

cat owner talking to his pet
Image Credit: Piqsels

It’s important to keep an eye on how your new kitty behaves during the first weeks of being in the home. This will help ensure that you notice signs of distress and anxiety so you can quickly address the problem before it becomes too serious. It will also help ensure that you can catch behavioral issues early so they can be corrected, and your cat won’t become too challenging to manage. If you see any signs of problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to a veterinarian or a trainer for expert support and guidance.

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Final Thoughts

Introducing a cat to a new home can be a stressful experience for everyone involved. Hopefully, the steps outlined here will help make the process more enjoyable, especially for your new kitty. Bringing a stray cat home is different than bringing an adopted cat home, so follow the advice of a veterinarian if you find a cat on the streets that you’d like to give a home, especially if you already have other pets.

Featured Image Credit: Nattakorn_Maneerat, Shutterstock

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