When you bring home a new cat, regardless of where it came from, the first day in your home is the most crucial and special. So, if you plan to get a new cat, it is important to know some facts about the way cats relate to others of their own kind.
Territory is very important to cats. They see it the way a lot of us see our clothes. We feel bare and unprotected without them. When we are naked in a room full of strangers, majority of us would hide from view. Whether cats come from a home or the street, it is natural for them to hide in their new territory. This is especially true for extra sensitive or anti-social cats that usually hide for a week or so. While we consider the new cat as a member of the family, he is not aware of it.
To make it a lot easier and smoother to move into a new home, you should give a new cat some privacy. To do this, prepare your home for the cat’s arrival. Your cat should have room to place the litter box, such as a bathroom. If possible, the litter box should contain from one to two inches of litter and placed in a corner.
The next thing to do is create a shelter where the cat could feel safe to hide in. This could be a covered cat bed or simple an inverted cardboard box that has two cut “doors”. Cats feel more secure with an additional “escape” path instead of one. The box should be roomy enough for the cat to lie down, stretch out and turn around. However, it should be cozy as well. The box should be placed beside a wall or corner for the cat to see the door going to the room. Avoid making your cat feel trapped by placing a corrugated cardboard, cork or sisal as a scratching post beside it. Lastly, there should be a shelf where your cat can perch on to get used to his new environment.
After this, make every part of your home cat-proof. There should be high surfaces. If there are none, create some since cats are using them to jump from one place to another to inspect their territory.
Instead of reaching out for your cat, let him come to you. If he does not, come back after 15 minutes. You should not worry if your cat does not eat. Cats that transfer to their new home do not usually eat for a number of days. Just get the leftover food then, after a few hours, come back with a fresh serving of similar high-quality food. When the cat seeks your attention, eats and is often visible, open the door and provide additional room. Do this little by little, introducing your cat to every room in his new home.
Let your cat do everything at his own pace. Remain patient as it may take a couple of weeks for your cat to understand and accept that this unfamiliar round is its new home.