Getting Acquainted

Cats have a well–earned reputation for being curious, independent and sensitive. They are so sensitive to their surroundings, in fact, that they require a great deal of adjustment to new environments. You can do a lot to help your cat companion feel secure in his/her new home.

Your Cat’s New Home

Keep the cat in her carrier until you have brought the carrier into a quiet room where the cat can be con–fined for a day or two (kittens adjust very quickly and generally do not need to be confined). This will be your cat’s “safe” room. Have a litter box prepared in that room, as well as a scratching post and bowls of food and water. If you want your cat to feel especially at home, purchase a cozy cat bed ahead of time and place it in the safe room. Be sure that all the windows and doors in your house are closed, that loose electrical cords have been secured, and that any spaces behind appliances or large pieces of furniture are blocked off.

Once in the safe room, open the carrier and let the cat come out in her own time. Keep noise and bustle in your house to a minimum while the cat orients herself. Stay quietly in the room while the cat explores, offering attention and gentle stroking if she seems to want it. If there are no other animals in the house, it is all right to leave the door to the cat’s room slightly open when you leave, but don’t be surprised if your cat stays in one spot for several days before going exploring.

Hiding

Hiding is normal. Some cats spend their first few days, weeks or even months in a new home in hiding, usually under beds or in closets. Hiding is how some cats adjust to their new environments, and it does not mean that the cat is unaffectionate, unsocial or sick. Few cats can repress their curiosity enough to stay under a bed for more than a few days, but if your cat requires more hiding time, make sure she’s getting food and water and is getting out at some point to use the litter box. Do not attempt to forcibly pull or drive a cat out from a hiding place, as this will only intensify her fears and make her adjustment harder.