Bringing an adult cat into your home is a wonderful way to give the animal a second chance. Pet adoptions of older cats can be rewarding, but they can also require more adjustment time for the new pet. The cat is likely to carry some trauma from being left at the adoption center, so it may take them longer to feel comfortable or to develop trust. The following tips can help your new feline family member get used to their new home.
Tip #1: Prepare ahead of time
Set up a safe spot in your home before you bring the cat home. This should consist of a room separate from other pets or young children. A quiet space that provides them with a comfortable place to sleep, food and water, a nearby litter box, and a few toys is a good start. You should also provide somewhere for the cat to hide, such as a box lined with blankets or a cat carrier. When you arrive home, introduce the cat to this new space and give them some time to explore it so they can begin to become familiar with their new surroundings.
Tip #2: Take it slow
Just like people, every cat has a different personality. Some will go to a human to seek comfort when they are frightened or nervous, while others prefer to hide. A few will lash out, either at humans or objects. Always speak with a calm and comforting voice when talking to the new cat. Be patient and allow the cat to come to you – although you can try to entice them closer with treats or toys. If the cat is upset and tries to bite or scratch, don't yell but instead back off and give the cat some space. With time and patience, the cat will become more comfortable.
Tip #3: Be cautious
A new pet may sometimes try to bolt until they are used to their new home. Make sure pet doors are secured so the cat can't slip out. When opening windows, check that the screens can't be knocked loose. Also, be exceptionally cautious when opening a door, since a cat can slip out quickly. It is a good idea to have the cat micro-chipped at the adoption center so they can be reunited with you quickly if they do slip out.
Tip #4: Introduce carefully
As your cat becomes comfortable in their room, begin introducing them to other members of the family. Leave the door open but place a gate in it so other animals, like dogs, can be introduced to the cat without invading the cat's space. Young children should be supervised when they meet the cat for the first time. Allowing a child to give the cat treats can help set the animal at ease. As your new cat becomes more comfortable, you can allow them access to the rest of the home.