Helping your new cat to settle in

Bringing home a new cat or kitten can be a really exciting time but it can be a scary and traumatic time for your feline friend. The new change in environment and routine can be extremely disorientating and unnerving, especially if he or she has come from a place in which they felt comfortable and secure, or straight from their mother.

This fear can lead to aggressive behaviour and/or refusal to eat and drink, but you can ease the transition with our helpful tips.

Set up a ‘safe’ room for your new cat

Don’t be tempted to let your new furry friend loose in the house as soon as you get home. He or she will already be nervous about their new home and will quickly become overwhelmed if children and/or other pets are brought to their attention too quickly.

Cat insurance - Helping your new cat to settle in

Instead, set aside a quiet room in which he or she can feel comfortable and safe, and receive private attention from you. This area should be set aside for sleeping, playing, eating and going to the toilet. Bring your cat into this area and let them exit the cat carrier in their own time. This may not happen straight away, especially if he or she is feeling apprehensive about their new surroundings, so you may prefer to leave your cat alone to get used to things before offering food and reassurance.

Ease the transition by helping your cat to get used to the smell of other pets in the household. This can be done by using the same brush for grooming or by encouraging other pets to access the room while your new cat is not there.

Fleas and worms

Check what flea and worm treatment the cat or kitten has had previously so you know when they are due another treatment.

Ask your vet to recommend a flea treatment and wormer.

Isolation periods

Isolation periods in a “safe” room are usually recommended for the first week to allow your cat to get used to you and its new routine without being overwhelmed. It also offers a good opportunity to check your cat’s health. Fear can impact on his or her inclination to eat and drink but if this continues after a couple of days, he or she could be at risk of dehydration. If you’re at all concerned about your cat’s health or behaviour during the transition period, get in touch with your vet.

Initiating the first meeting with other pets

During the first introduction, keep your cat in his or her carrier. Hissing and other aggressive behaviour is to be expected, in which case meetings may need to be controlled on several further occasions before a face-to-face meeting is initiated. Only do this when there are no longer signs of aggression and/or hostility. If the relationship does not go smoothly, it may be useful to return your cat to the “safe” room and begin the introduction process again.

Never leave your new cat alone with other pets until you can be sure that there will be no aggression or hostility. The “safe” room should be used while you are not at home until you are confident that they can be left together unsupervised.

Introducing your cat to children

If there is more than one child in the household, meetings should happen on a gradual basis so that your new cat does not feel overwhelmed.

Don’t neglect your other pets

It’s natural to focus your attention predominantly on the newest member of the household while he or she settles in but don’t forget to also spend time with other pets too so that they don’t feel pushed out or unwanted. The introduction of a new cat may also upset the routine of other pets in the household, who may become aggressive towards the newcomer and/or act badly towards you. Spend some time every day to reassure other pets that they still have a key place in your affections.

Consider insuring your new cat or kitten

Start your new kitten off on the right paw with MiPet Cover’s four weeks’ free WalkawayCover for furry bundles. To get your paws on this free cover, visit your local CVS veterinary practice for a healthcheck and if everything’s OK, your cover starts immediately. (Kitten must be between 8 weeks and 1 year old and is subject to a CVS health check. WalkawayCover is immediate for illness and accidents.)

Why not browse MiPet Cover’s lifetime policies for cats…? It’s so quick and easy to get a cat insurance quote online.

More pets = more fun!

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