10 Ways to Bond with Your New Rescue Cat

Adopting a rescue cat is an exciting time, but chances are your newly found friend won’t feel the same.

From her point of view, she has no idea where she is or who the heck you are, and unless she is an extremely confident kitty, she won’t be in the best of moods. A new environment means a whole host of new and unfamiliar smells, which translates as one stressed and anxious cat.

To help your furry companion bond with you and settle into her new home in the most stress free way possible, try these top tips:

1. Give Her Space - A separate room is ideal, but even a small space protected by a divider will work. Equip this area with everything she needs: food, water, bedding and a litter tray, and keep it warm and quiet.

2. Let Her Hide – New cats almost always hide, it’s just their instinct. Some cats will take weeks or even months before they properly adjust. During this sensitive time, the best course of action is to let her do what makes her feel most comfortable and provide her with a safe place to retreat to.

3. Take Things Slowly – Don’t pressure your new kitty or get in the way of her doing her own thing. She is going to want to explore her new home and get comfortable with all the new sights, sounds and smells. Let her come to you when she is ready. She’ll make it obvious when she wants attention.

4. Share Your Scent - Before introducing yourself, introduce your scent. Present a well worn piece of clothing for her to sniff and sleep on, or try rubbing her food in your hands before setting it out. The natural oils on your hands will incorporate themselves with the food, helping her to associate the enjoyable activity of eating with your scent.

5. Get Down on The Floor - The lower you are, the less threatening you will come across, so rather than tower over her, get down on her level and sit quietly, allowing her to approach and greet you at her will.

6. Talk To Her – Cats love to talk, so don’t be afraid to get vocal. Keep your voice soft and talk with her whenever you get the chance. Even if she doesn’t seem phased by your chatter, she’s definitely listening. Reinforcing her name whenever you pet her, feed her and play with her is the best way to connect and familiarize her with your voice and call.

7. Brush Her – Just like humans, cats love being pampered. Try to spend a little time each day gently brushing her with a soft brush while you praise her. Not all cats will welcome the brush, so be cautious and stop if she is looking annoyed.

8. Play With Her – Nurturing her inner kitten with play time will provide hours of fun and strengthen your parent-child bond. From a piece of string to a toilet paper roll, cats find pleasure in the simplest things.

9. Special Treats – Discovering what treats your new kitty has a soft spot for is a great way to help you bond. Be adventurous as you never know what might take her fancy. When she feels brave enough to eat in your presence, be sure to praise her as this is a massive achievement.

10. Let Her Sleep With You – Cats LOVE sleeping on beds. Some people will disagree with me, but I believe that we should let our feline friends snuggle up with us come night time if they so please. Nothing will seal the deal faster than the closeness of your warmth and comfort of your bed!

The fastest way to form a strong and everlasting bond with your new kitty is to spend as much time as possible with her, even if that just means being present.

Never force your new rescue cat to do anything she doesn’t want to. Have patience and try to understand that this is an overwhelming change for her. Before you know it, you’ll be best friends forever.

Photo Credit: MsSaraKelly


Jim Ven
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Fi T.
Past Member 2 years ago

It takes time to love

Carole R.
Carole R2 years ago

Good advice.
Cute pix.

Zara V.
Zara Verryt4 years ago

Great article. I have just shared it with two local rescue groups on Facebook.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Rebecca G.
Rebecca G4 years ago

All wonderful tips. Anyone who does not allow their cat(s) to sleep with them, just doesn't know what they are missing. The cuddling, purring and unconditional love they give is not to be missed. Thanks for the great article.

Yvonne Graf
Yvonne Graf4 years ago

I've had many rescues and have used all these tips. They really work and I recommend them to anyone adopting a cat. If you have cats already a slow introduction should be done, depending on the cat. My last rescue hid behind the couch and slowly came out. She is now my cuddle bug. The one before her hid for months, and I had her in my room and had to use tough love to get her to come out and realize the other cats were OK with her. They are all different which makes them all so wonderful!

Katherine M.

Great article, thank you Ms. Geer! These are all excellent pieces of advice! Adopting a cat instead of buying one from a breeder or pet store saves more lives than just the one adopted, and these are wonderful ways to get off on the right foot.

Silvia W.
Silvia W4 years ago

This is a good list of tips! Just relax and don't be pushy. Kitties are individuals and want to make connections on their own terms.

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla4 years ago

It is so worth! Sharing