Introducing a new cat to your family can be an exciting, and sometimes stressful, time. Cats are creatures of habit and any changes to their home life or routine has potential to cause a little (if not a lot!) of anxiety.
Kathy Rayner and Emily Broome from PETstock VET share their experience and advice about adding a new cat to your family.
Bringing a new cat in to your home:
- When bringing your new cat home for the first time, open their carry cage in a quiet area of the house where your cat will feel safe. Leave the cage door open and let your cat come out on their own, in their own time.
- Ensure your cat can’t escape the house. If your cat decides to bolt, they may head for the nearest exit. Close windows and doors to keep your cat secured in your home. Better yet, limit your cat to one room only until they feel secure enough to explore.
- Act calmly and allow your cat to explore on their own. They may not want to play or interact with you for several days. Don’t worry, they will come around in their own time.
- Provide a warm, soft and cosy area for your cat. A blanket or cat igloo that they can hide away and curl up in will make them feel secure.
Introducing a new cat to your cat or other pets
Introducing your new cat to other furry family members can be a daunting task. Cats are very territorial and any existing feline family members may feel a bit put out by the new addition!
- Start by limiting your new cat to one room of the house only. Not only will this help them adjust, but your pets will be able to sniff each other through the door and get used to each other’s scent.
- After a few days, give your new cat a larger area within the house to roam and explore. Introduce them to your other pets slowly and with adult supervision.
Introducing your new cat to your other pets may take a few weeks, but in time you should be back to having a calm and happy household.
Keeping My Cat Inside at Night
Some local councils enforce cat curfews, which require pet parents to keep their cat indoors between dusk and sunrise. This is largely due to the reason that cats are nocturnal animals and most active at night-time, when they may hunt and fight other cats.
One of the most common cat illnesses seen by vets are abscesses caused by fighting – this is usually when FIV is transmitted.