Introducing your kitty to your home
Might take a while, but you’ll get there!
You are excited to bring home your new furry friend. The carrier is opened, and kitty races for the nearest place to hide, often under a bed where you cannot reach them.
Patience! Some cats adapt quickly to their new home but it is far more common for the cat or kitten to hide initially. As great as your new home is, this is a major adjustment for kitty, who may have had a not-so-good experience in a previous home.
Initially, even if your cat is the only pet in the house, it will help to confine it to a pet-safe, smaller area like a bathroom or laundry room. A bedroom also works well, especially if kitty has a window where he/she can look out. Take a look around the location for areas that might not be a good. Cats are excellent climbers and like heights. At the shelter, a kitten once managed to leap up, dislodge a suspended ceiling tile, and get into the duct work above. If there are no hiding spaces, provide a box (or even your carrier) for kitty to retreat to. Water, food, a litter box should all be nearby.
What can you do to settle kitty and let him/her know she is safe?
– Give your new cat or kitten time to adjust. How much time will vary but two weeks is an average, during which time you will see slow but steady progress. Make sure kitty can reach water, food and the litter box. Probably when it is quiet at night they will venture out.
– Spend short periods of quiet time with your new kitty, talking to them or simply being near, but do not attempt to pull them out of their hiding spot. Kitty must decide when it is safe. Kitty might find classical music calming. Keep direct eye contact to a minimum.
– When you feel kitty has calmed somewhat, try luring them out with treats, a wand toy or piece of string but, as always, let kitty decide if he/she is ready.
– Try to limit loud noises that might scare kitty and wait until kitty is comfortable before introducing him/her to others.
– Feliway is a calming spray that can be obtained from your vet, Amazon, or some stores carry it as well. It is also available as a diffuser. You spray the area, not the cat! https://www.feliway.com/us/Why-Use-Feliway/Cat-hiding-why-and-what-you-can-do
If you are worried, call the shelter where you adopted and speak to a volunteer, especially if you believe kitty is not eating and drinking after the first day.
Before you know it, kitty will be comfortable and truly at home.