What does a cat need?

  • A safe and warm place to sleep
  • Food and water
  • A litter tray
  • To be free from pain and injury
  • Somewhere to scratch, a scratching post or mat is fine
  • To be able to hunt. If your cat is not out chasing butterflies they can be just as happy playing with toys
  • To be able to groom. All cats groom themselves but they may also need help with being brushed

The first few days

For the first few days, your cat may appear to be disorientated and perhaps less sociable than you would have hoped, and may even hide behind furniture.  This is because your cat doesn't know they are safe with you yet. Cats and kittens can take a while to settle in and feel confident enough to be their relaxed selves with new owners.

The best way to introduce a new cat to your family is to give him one room to settle down in.  This is a lot less intimidating than the whole house.  Once your cat appears settled (usually in a few days but it can take longer) you can let open the door for whole house explorations.

This is particularly important if you have other animals in the house as it gives the new cat a chance to settle in before they meet the rest of the family.  Let your cat have access to a hiding place (such as a cat carrier with the door taken off) so that they can feel they have a secure place to go while adjusting to a new environment.  Resist the temptation to stroke your cat when they are in their hiding place so they can feel secure whilst they get to know you. 

Introducing a new cat to other pets

Cats are very adaptable but they need time to get adjusted to new environments and especially to new animals.  Introductions work best if they are controlled.  So they need to be supervised by you over a period of time.  How long this takes will vary between different cats as some are more confident than others.

Cats (and dogs) that live together have a ‘group smell’.  This is their mingled scent. You can make your new cat feel part of the family straight away by scent swapping.  Exchanging bedding between the separated animals will get them used to each other without the pressure of meeting each other first.

Using food and treats when two cats meet can help make them feel sociable towards each other. Make sure that if you have more than one cat living together they have enough water bowls, food bowls, beds and litter trays so they do not have to share. Make sure that these resources are spread about your home so that each cat can get to them without having to encounter another cat guarding them.

Even cat friendly dogs should be on a lead when they meet your new cat. With the cat in a place where they feel safe and able to freely leave from the room with the dog. Cats and dogs can live very happily together but until they have established a friendship ensure your cat feels safe by having dog-free bolt holes. 

Letting your cat or kitten out

We recommend that you keep your cat in for at least two weeks after homing.  If your cat has not had their second vaccination yet it is best to wait until that has been completed. 

The decision to let your cat out for the first time will probably be a bit scary - for you!  Use the door on the side of the house that you want the cat to use.  The next step is to open the door and let them explore in their own time with the door open so they can run back in if anything worries them. Then put a tempting snack in the doorway and call the cat's name.  After a few practices, your cat will know their way home. Try to avoid poor weather, especially wind, until the cat has developed a routine.

Kittens are just not sensible enough to be let out unsupervised until they are 6 months old.  Prior to this you can take them for guided explorations of the garden if you have a secure garden.  Many cats do not like wearing a harness, but these can be a good way of showing your kitten what’s outside whilst still being in control of where the kitten is.  If you want to use a harness then get the kitten used to the harness in the home first.

If you wish to keep a cat as an indoor cat we will have ensured that you have adopted a cat that is suitable.  Indoor cats need lots of playtime and kittens may also benefit from being adopted as a pair so they have a companion when you are not there.

Remember we are always on hand for advice with the care of your cat in their new home.  Please contact us if you have any concerns or want our opinion or advice about your cat.