Bringing Your New Cat Home

Bringing Your New Cat HomeSo far, so good! You’ve adopted a new cat, everyone has congratulated you, and now your have your new pet home. All of a sudden, you’re not sure what to do and are having palpitations! Fear not, we have an organized way to help you through the initial “Why have I done this?” situation.

Choose a room where you will keep your new pet for at least 2-7 days. This will be your “Bonding Room.” This can be ANY room, but it should be a quiet room. Prepare the litter pan, food and water bowls, and a comfortable bed before letting the cat out of the carrier. Put the litter on one side of the room and food and water on the other side. Remember, cats don’t like to eat near their litter box. Keep talking to your new cat while you are preparing the room. Don’t forget to have some interactive toys ready!

Cats do not take to changes easily! They will look for the first hiding place they can find and stay there until they are comfortable with the situation. You can beg and plead and stand on your head, but they will not come out until they feel safe. Do not take this personally – LET THEM HIDE! Your new pet must become familiar with the smells and sounds of his/her new house. He/she must get used to your voices, telephone ringing, toilet flushing, and all the normal sounds you take for granted. He/she must also get used to the smells of your carpeting, furniture, cooking, and even of YOU. This can take time, depending on the cat’s ability to process information and feel safe. Now would NOT be a good time to have the entire neighborhood over to see your new cat. Do not plan any parties or loud goings-on for a while, either. This could definitely cause your new pet to freak out!

Before opening the carrier door, everyone must be sitting on the floor. The first thing your new pet should see is your face and body, not your big, scary feet! Open the carrier door and be prepared for your loving new cat to either seek the first hiding place possible or stay in the carrier. Say your new cat’s name over and over in a friendly, soothing voice, but don’t reach for the cat with your hands. Use one of the interactive toys to see if he/she shows any interest in it. If not, spend as much time as possible in the room (read a book, play board games, take a nap) and then leave the cat alone.

Every adult in the house should take turns going into the Bonding Room and spending some time with the cat. This is very important! Young children should be accompanied by their parents because they might be too excited and slow down the bonding time.
Your new pet will eat, drink, and use the litter box when you are not there! However, many cats can withhold these functions for several days. Don’t panic. Keep trying to soothe your new pet with your voice. On the other hand, most cats won’t put you through this trauma! We have no way of knowing what their reaction will be to their new environment. In the event that your new cat is not eating, drinking, or using the litter box after two days, call the rescue organization and get advice.


If your new cat is comfortable in the Bonding Room, brush him/her and use the interactive toys to make friends. Cats really like the Cat Dancer toy and the laser pointer. Remember not to point the laser at their eyes. The Cat Dancer is an inexpensive interactive toy that 99% of the cats love. You can purchase it at any good pet store.


You will know when your new cat is ready to be released from the Bonding Room. It will come to you when you enter the room and will be comfortable in your presence. When you feel the cat is ready, open the door to the Bonding Room and let him/her explore the house. Keep the door to the Bonding Room open.

DO NOT chase the cat, just let him/her explore and get comfortable. Most often, the cat returns to the Bonding Room when he/she feels the need for security. This is normal. You will know if you have released your cat too soon if he/she runs and hides. Should this happen, say the cat’s name in a friendly, gentle manner. Do not attempt to touch the cat if he/she hides. Simply be there in a non-aggressive way so the cat does not feel cornered or threatened.

1. Check all screens to make sure they are securely locked and/or taped with strong tape. New pets sometimes loosen screens trying to get out and many have escaped or fallen out by accident.
2. Keep the toilet lid shut from now on. Kittens may drown.
3. As for plants, WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT. Better safe than sorry.
4. Lock up all poisonous household products. Do not leave pails and mops with soapy water where the cat can get to them. Drowning is possible and soapy water can cause illness.
5. NEVER, NEVER, EVER close the dishwasher, refrigerator, washing machine, or dryer until you have made very sure your loving pet has not jumped into it.
6. Cats do not usually suffer from tooth decay, but they do develop gingivitis. Visit your vet at least once a year and always have your pet’s teeth examined.
7. Never give your cat aspirin unless your vet prescribes it. They cannot metabolize this drug.
  • Honk the horn on your car before starting it to make sure no poor outdoor cat has crawled into your engine to keep warm.
  • Brushing and petting your cat simulates the mother cat’s tongue. This is a great way to bond with your new pet!