What Can Be Expected with a New Cat During the First Twenty Four Hours?
There is no doubt that adopting a new cat can be a very enriching experience, but for the cat, the initial twenty-four hours in your home can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for your new feline friend, however, this can be lessened by giving your cat lots of space for them to explore by themselves, by keeping a calm environment, and being gentle in your instructions with them. First and foremost, you have the ride home to contend with, unfortunately, cats are not known to be relaxed or happy in a car, so it is best to do all you can to keep them calm, this includes keeping them in a cat carrier, one that is sturdy and ventilated, and adding something that will have a familiar scent such as part of their bedding, this will go a long way to keeping them reassured. If you can, you might also want to spray the carrier and bedding with a product called ‘Feliway’, this creates a synthetic version of happy pheromones, these pheromones do occur naturally on your cat’s face, and is just a great way to boost your cat’s feeling of happiness.
Additionally, have as few people in the car as possible, lots of noise or people will be very overwhelming for your cat, so only bring essential people (be alone if you can) and leave any other pets or kids at home. Be sure not to feed your cat in the car either, even if it is just something small, this can make them throw up, and it is better to start using treats and things alike once they are settled and feel more posit
During the First Two to Three Hours
Your cat needs to feel safe, if you want to them settle in as easily and quickly as possible then you need to resist the temptation of cuddling them and trying to play with them during this period. Your cat will feel less overwhelmed if they are left to themselves, and the house is as quiet and non-stimulating as possible. Ideally, you want to keep your cat in their own separate room for the first day, where they can explore and get used to the new smells and sights, keep the room warm with places where your cat can snuggle up or hide if they feel like it. Do not be surprised if your cat wants to stay hidden under the bed or some other piece of furniture, and if there is no furniture in the room then think about adding a box where your cat can feel safe and secure. Of course, keep a bowl of water in there and a litter tray for your cat’s convenience, and under no circumstances should you allow any other pets into the room just yet. Don’t force your cat to be part of the family immediately, it will only have the opposite effect that you want.
After These First Hours
Your cat is now ready to be given some food, it is better to wait a few hours until you feed them since the initial stress of the move could cause them to be sick.
Don’t be alarmed if your cat doesn’t want the food right away, it is only the same as how we prefer not to eat when we are feeling anxious or worried. However, if this behavior continues for several days then it is best to seek advice.
Half Way Through
Once your cat has been at home for around twelve hours, it is now okay to try and mingle together. It is still recommended that the house is kept as calm and quiet as possible, so be sure to tell your kids that they have to be aware of your cat’s feelings, and be considerate when interacting with the cat or just with each other, this includes no shouting or chasing. If you want, you can sit with your cat in the room they are currently in, or you can try and bring them out into the family room where maybe you can watch TV quietly or read as your cat wanders around. It is better if everyone doesn’t crowd your cat, and you mustn’t try and force them to come out of hiding if they run away. Using little treats is a great way to start building up a positive relationship, and can also be a successful way to help your cat come out of hiding.
After Half Way
After having spent some time in their new home around their new family, your cat could be ready to play, this could also be a good time to show them any toys and get them in a playful mood. However, as always, don’t force it, and let your cat decided when they ready.
Things Not to Do During this Time
The first twenty-four hours are very important to your cat, and can have a big effect on how they feel about their new environment going forward, so with that in mind, here are a couple of things that you should wait to do to make sure your cat has the best chance at getting comfortable and settled.
Mixing Other Animals
If you have other pets in the house, regardless of what they are, it is good to wait a while before allowing them to fully interact. Even having another cat can be a problem and being the same species doesn’t mean they will instantly be best friends.
Cats are very territorial animals and can get very angry if they think another animal is in their space. Be sure to make all introductions a slow process, this could take days, weeks or months, but if done right it will cause a lot less hassle in the future. Keep animals like dogs in a separate room or behind something like a baby-gate, and keep them on a lead if you want your cat and dog to try out being closer. Any pets you have that your cat might instinctively want to kill, such as a bird or a mouse, should be kept well out of your cat’s way, and even in a completely different room at all times if you notice either animal getting stressed about the other one’s presence.
Allowing Your Cat to Go Outside
Cats being outside is a completely normal thing, however, you should wait around two weeks before letting your new cat outside. Since they are in a completely new area and are perhaps already a little disorientated, it is easy for your cat to get lost if they are allowed out too soon, they could also suffer an injury or run away because they are scared. Keep all outside doors closed, and try and keep an eye on your cat when your first start letting them explore the outside world.