Adopting a new cat can be one of the most rewarding and life changing experiences. But bringing your new feline companion home involves a little more work than you may realize. Cats are notoriously creatures of habit, and big changes, such as moving to a new home, can be difficult for them. Here are a few helpful hints from a Woodland veterinarian on how you can make the introduction of your new cat to your home as stress-free as possible.

Give them a space that’s all their own. Cats need time to adapt to a new environment, so giving them a spot where they can feel safe is an important first step. A guest room or spare room is ideal. Place food, water and a litterbox in there and allow your cat to relax a bit. Once they become comfortable and familiar with that area, they’ll want to start venturing out to explore the rest of the home.

Introduce other pets by smell first. If you have other animals in your home, it’s a good idea to ease into the introductions by allowing your new cat to get used to their smells and vice versa. Use a washcloth to rub over your existing pets and let your new cat get accustomed to that smell by placing the washcloth in her separate room. Do the same with your new cat to allow existing pets a chance to understand there’s a new member of the family.

Let them adjust at their own rate. You may want your new cat to snuggle his way into the family right away, but it may take a little time so be patient. Don’t force your cat to go anywhere he doesn’t want to go. This will only scare him and cause him to retreat more. With time, your new kitty companion will naturally become curious and more comfortable with his new surroundings.

Reassure your new kitty. Spend time with your cat, even if it’s in the one room she’s become comfortable in. Play with her, pet her and reassure her that she’s safe and welcome in this new home. Your Woodland veterinarian can provide suggestions on how you can interact with your new feline companion and begin to integrate her into the family.

Set boundaries early. If there are areas of the home that you deem as off-limits to your new pet, make sure you enforce these boundaries clearly and early. The sooner you hammer that message home, the more likely your cat will abide by the rules. If you’re having a hard time getting the message across, your Woodland veterinarian can provide some specific advice and guidance.

Bringing home a cat comes with countless rewards, but getting them used to their new surroundings can take time. These tips, combined with consultations with your trusted Woodland veterinarian, can help you and your cat get acquainted and make the adjustment as easy and stress-free as possible.

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