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7 Tips for Bringing Home a New Cat

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3. When driving home, make sure the carrier is secured with a seatbelt

Also, driving in a car is usually an intense experience for kittens and cats, so keep the music from your radio or CD player soft and soothing; light classical is a good choice, especially Mozart.

4. Give your new kitty an adequate adjustment / quarantine period

Quarantine your new kitten or cat for a minimum of 14 days and preferably 21. It will allow for mental, emotional, and immune system adaptation. It’s important to be in this room frequently to love, feed, and bond with your new kitten or cat. He will become more comfortable and, of extreme importance, get used to his new litter box. You can start to introduce your new kitty slowly to the rest of your home. Expect the introduction period to take weeks, not days. If you get too excited and/or impatient and rush this time, you risk social failure as well as litter box mistakes.

5. If you have other pets, make sure you give them plenty of affection so they don’t feel neglected, and make the introduction gradually

All the animals that live with you will be aware of each other by smell first. Feed resident cats and the new cat on opposite sides of the (closed) door to the new cat’s room; feed the dog separately due to dogs’ natural guarding behaviors surrounding food. (It is never safe to feed dogs and cats together.) Paws may start to reach under the door. Moderate hissing or growling is normal. Gradually crack the door open so the pets can see each other without being able to fight. Occasionally bring some of your resident pets’ bedding into the new cat’s room, so that the newcomer can become acquainted with the scent. The new cat’s bedding can also be introduced to the current residents. Do occasional “territory swaps” by putting the new cat in another part of the house and the resident cats in the new cat’s room. Sometimes they become fast friends; sometimes they will annoy but tolerate each other; sometimes the sounds of hissing and yowling will make you wonder if bringing home another cat was the right thing—but don’t worry, with cat introductions, some personalities blend and others don’t, but in nearly all cases, they can be taught to tolerate each other.

Note: If you’re introducing a cat to one or more dogs, keep all dogs leashed at all times to allow the new cat to choose how closely to interact. Never leave any dog and cat together unsupervised (no matter how well they know each other) unless the cat has a good escape route.

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Read more: Cats, Celestial Musings, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Pet Health, Pets, ,

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Celeste Yarnall

Celeste Yarnall, PhD shares musings on myriad of topics at her Celestial Musings Blog. She is the author of The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care with Jean Hofve, DVM and Paleo Dog. Celeste is an actress/producer/activist/writer and keynote speaker. She and her husband Nazim Artist created the Art of Wellness Collection and are the producers of Femme: Women Healing the World. They live in Los Angeles, California with their beloved Tonkinese cats. Join Celeste at her website or on Facebook.

89 comments

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9:08AM PST on Feb 17, 2013

Our cat had to travel 1500 kilometers from England to the South of France, non-stop by car. We drove all night and arrived early morning in our new home, that we had prepared a week before. Initially, he found his toilet, his breakfast and then started to explore the house which kept him busy for the whole day. But then he insisted on going out, so we walked the garden with him, he followed us like a doggie. That was it, no quarantene, no fuss, he was at home immediately!

5:08AM PST on Nov 21, 2012

Good info...thank you

2:01PM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

awesome. thanks

3:46AM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

Thanks, includes some things we've never tried, though our cats just seem to wonder in and stay! A friend of mine always insisted to distribute the scent of the new cat throughout the house (using a damp towel wiped over kitty and then furniture). Not sure that helped her other cat adjust though!

3:34AM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

It's strange to me because I've never had any trouble introducing a new cat into the home. Usually I find a stray kitten, bring it home bottle feed it, the other cat(s) sniffs at it and everything's fine after a day or two. But I've known people who have a mini-war any time a new animal comes into their life.

10:31AM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

Thanks

11:23PM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

my great grandmother always used to put butter on there paws,its a little messy but it works.the new kitty is so busy licking off the butter and transferring her scent to the whole home that she forgets to be stressed out with her new surroundings.i have always used this method and it always works.

9:51AM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Thanks for the good tips. Been doing most of these all my grown up life with cats thru the yrs. Glad to know I'm doing many of these suggestions correct. Shared on Facebook.

9:48AM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Interesting. Throughout my life, we never brought a cat home. All of them just came from outside and joined us. Some left suddenly too. For some, I have seen their entire life -- pregnancy, birth, complete life and death too.

Also I have felt that the most loving cats were those which came from outside, NOT the ones which were born inside. May be they know the value of shelter and food. The inside ones just take it for granted. Big lessons for us too.

9:27PM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

Great advises.

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