Tips for a New Cat

Use these tips to keep your cat happy and comfortable in their home!

Take It Slow

Cats can be easily overwhelmed by new spaces so when you get home, set your cat up in a small quiet room. Keep the door closed. Be sure your cat has access to comfy bedding, hiding spots, toys, food, water, a scratcher, and litter box. Interact with the cat on their terms – sit a few feet away from them and let them approach you for petting or attention. When the cat is moving around this space confidently, you can begin to slowly introduce them to the rest of your home. Some cats will settle in within a few hours but most will need a few days or more.

Litter Box Importance

Most cats do best with large, uncovered litter boxes. For kittens or senior cats, be sure the box has lower sides for easy access. Most cats prefer about one to two inches of unscented litter in the box. Place the box in a quiet area. Cats are more likely to consistently use the litter box when it is kept clean. We recommend you scoop twice a day and do a full clean at least once a month. Use mild dish soap or a pet-friendly enzymatic cleaner (avoid bleach and other harsh chemicals).

Make Carriers Happy Places

Acclimating your new cat to the carrier means vet visits and travel will be much easier – and it’s super easy to do! Just set the carrier up in a spot where your cat or kitten likes to hang out and keep it out all the time. Prop the door open, place some comfy bedding inside and feed a treat in the carrier at least once a day. You can also use play to get your cat running in and out of the carrier. If your cat rests in their carrier regularly, mission accomplished!

Scratching Surfaces

Cats have a need to scratch, so be sure to provide plenty of cat-friendly scratching surfaces. Most cats enjoy both horizontal cardboard scratchers and scratching posts (for posts, pick one that is sturdy and tall enough for your cat to get a good stretch). Reward your cat with treats and praise when they use their scratchers. 

Daily Interactive Playtime

Playing with your cat is a great way to you bond and help them feel less stressed. Cats love chasing, pouncing on, and leaping after wand toys. Keep play interesting by having a couple of different wand toys on daily rotation. When using wand toys, allow your cat to “catch” the toy a few times during play and end playtime with a yummy treat. A good play session can last from 10 to 15 minutes. Always use toys during play, and not your hands or feet. If your cat tries to play with hands or feet, become a statue by folding your arms and looking away and wait a few minutes before giving any more attention. Avoid petting or picking up during or directly after playtime. 

Still have questions?

Contact our Behavior Specialists at [email protected] or (212) 876-7700 x4191

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