HOW TO GET YOUR NEW CAT OR KITTEN INTEGRATED INTO YOUR HOME
1) Once you know you have been approved for adoption before you bring your new cat or kitten/s home make sure your home is ready for your new arrivals! Cats are very curious and like to get into small spaces, they can squeeze through small gaps and are pretty sneaky! Make sure your windows have screens or are kept closed to prevent escapes, move any toxic plants out of reach, or remove them from your home. Make sure any cords or cables are grouped and wrapped because kittens often think an electric cord is a fun toy.
2) Prep a room for your cat to start out in, a spare bedroom or bathroom is great. Your cat or kitten should start out in one room for the first couple days - up to a week, then you can start to let them explore the rest of the home. Some cats are more confident and will be ready to be out in the house sooner, you can play it by ear. Many cats are nervous in new situations and new houses so you want to make sure to take it slow, by starting them in one room you can slowly let them get used to the new space, that way they don't just run and hide behind the fridge right away! Make sure to get them set up with a litter box, food and water station, a scratching post, toys, and some cozy sleep areas.
3) Show your new cat or kitten their litter box multiple times over the first few days so they really learn where it is. Dr. Elsey's Kitten or Cat Attract Litter is also a great way to help your new cat or kitten learn where the litter box is, remember this is a new and unfamiliar space so you want to show your cat the correct place to go. If you have multiple cats we recommend having at least 2 litter boxes, make sure to keep the litter box clean as cats are sensitive to odor and a very dirty litter box may cause a cat to not want to use it.
4) After a few days you can start to let your new kitty explore the rest of the home, remember to take it slow and if you have kids let them know not to rush the new cat which may scare it. Give lots of positive reinforcement, treats, pets, praise for good behaviors, and to help your cat bond with you. Play time is also a great way to bond with your new cat or kitten!
5) If you have other pets in the home you will need to move more slowly, keep your new cat in the guest room for at least 2 weeks, and gradually introduce them to your other cat/s or your dogs. Make sure your dogs have been cat tested, if you dog has a strong prey drive then a cat is probably not a good fit for your family. Dogs can move quickly so make sure to use a lot of caution when introducing your new cat to your dogs, your cat may take a few days, weeks, or even months to adjust to your other pets, so be patient. Give a lot of treats, pets, and praise when your cat is near your other pets as positive reinforcement. Hissing is normal! However you do not want your cats to get in a fight, so take it slow. Feed your cats on opposite sides of the bedroom door, swap scents by trading cat beds so they can get used to each others scents (this can be done for dogs too).
Pheromone diffusers like Feliway (available on Amazon) can help some cats relax and be more comfortable when you are introducing them to another cat or kitten (or dog).
6) Make sure to provide a scratching post or two, or other cat furniture so your cat has an approved place to scratch, scratching is a normal and necessary behavior. You want to have good scratching options for your cat that are not your sofa, many cats enjoy cardboard floor scratchers, cat trees, and cat posts. A cat tree is also great if you have multiple cats so they can have more space to climb, perch, and explore.
7) If you have adopted kittens remember kittens are high energy! They need a lot of play time, we recommend getting kittens in pairs so they have a buddy to play with. Wand toys, laser pointers, and electronic cat toys are great for kittens to keep them entertained and wear them out. If your kittens are very active at night make sure to get an hour of play time in before bed to help get them tired and ready to relax. Cat trees are also great for kittens as it gives them a great space to climb, play, and explore.