Introducing a new kitten to your family can be an exciting time. It can also be a stressful time for cats. They may need some time to adjust to their new surroundings, and there are a few things you can do to help reduce stress during this time.
If you work, taking a break from this initial phase can help your cat settle in more smoothly. If your work location allows it, planning to take “maternity” leave should be a priority when bringing your new cat home.
What happens during adoption
Adopting a cat can bring huge rewards. You are providing a home for pets in need that warms your heart to see them come out of their shells and enjoy life.
Relocating from a reputable rescue organization means you will receive an appropriate level of support before, during and after your adoption. This also means that your cat will receive proper health checks, temperament assessments and support during their stay.
Don’t be offended if the organization wants to come in for a home inspection, or if they ask you a lot of questions about your home environment and lifestyle. It’s a good thing they want to put their cat in the right home.
Why taking ‘maternity leave’ is good for your new cat
While many people realize the benefits of taking some time to help a dog settle into a new home, it’s often assumed that cats are fine without as much support because of their more independent nature.
Adjusting to a new home environment can be stressful for cats, and being there to help them relieve stress can reduce their stress, help them settle in faster, and help create a strong bond between you and your new roommate .
The first 24 to 48 hours can be the most anxiety-inducing for your cat, and it’s critical to make sure you’re there to monitor things during this time. Some things you can do in the early stages to help include:
Provide a safe space for your cat
This is very important and usually not considered. Getting your cat into the entire house at once can be overwhelming. It’s best to set up a cat-proof, quiet and safe room that they can use as their “safe space” when they first arrive. This should be their sanctuary for at least the first day. Do not let other pets or noisy children in the room.
Supervision is important
If you’re working outside from the moment your cat comes home, not only will it make it harder to form a strong bond, but it also means you won’t be able to see if they’re distressed, confused, or even mischievous. Maybe you just need to remind them where the litter box or feeding station is. Some cats may feel more at ease with you in the room. If your cat settles down quickly but is a bit rogue, you may need to do more to protect the house. Do they need to be redirected to the draft instead of the couch corner? Maybe you need to move some decorations around once they start exploring the countertop.
Management presentations with other furry family members
Cats are very territorial. Introductions to any other cats in the household need to be carefully supervised and done gradually. If you’re around on the first day of the introduction, it will let you in if things don’t go well.
Make connections early
By staying home and spending quiet time with your cat, you’ll increase your chances of helping them relax and bond with you right from the start.
Building Trust: How To Build A Good Relationship With Your New Cat
You may find that your new cat will immediately seek hiding places. Don’t try to force them out of the space.
When you enter the room, try not to move around or make too much noise. Your break might be the perfect time to catch up on that book you want to read, or you can watch a movie with your headphones on.
If your cat starts to come out of their hiding place, let them start any contact. Keep a bag of tasty treats nearby, and if they take it, you can reward them for any curiosity or interaction.
If they retreat to their hideout again, be patient and let them out when they are ready. For some cats, this may be done within a few hours, while others may take days to venture out with confidence. Patience is the key here.
Once they are more comfortable in their space and comfortable with you being around, you can gradually start introducing other family members. If you have young children, make sure they understand the rules. A cat’s room is a quiet space; they shouldn’t chase cats or sit next to their hiding places. They should only interact when cats come to them.
Once your cat is fully relaxed in the “safe room”, you can begin to gradually introduce them to other areas of the house.
During the first few days or week of your cat’s arrival, 24/7 will help you monitor, respond, interact, and build strong bonds for years to come.
It’s worth knowing that more and more forward-thinking companies are even offering this type of “maternity leave” as part of their employment packages. These numbers are still small, but if you work for a pet-friendly company, it may be worth asking about their policies.