SAVING ANIMALS LIVES...THE HEART OF WHAT WE DO.

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Bringing Your New Cat Home

HEART cats and kittens live in foster homes where they receive lots of love from their temporary family. Moving to a new home is probably one of the most stressful events your cat will encounter.

It may take several days to several weeks for your new pet to adjust to a new home. With time, love and patience, your pet will settle in to become a wonderful and loving companion.

A PLACE TO CALL THEIR OWN

  • When you bring home a new cat you should not give him the run of the house right away. Instead, set up a comfortable, quiet room with food, water, litter box, and a bed or blanket.

  • This "safe room" or “introduction room” provides a place where your new cat can get used to you and other members of the household, without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by the entire house. Also, as you begin to let him out of the room and into the rest of the house, he will have a familiar place to return to if he starts feeling insecure or out of his comfort zone.

  • Put him in the introductory room with the door closed, then open his carrier and let him come out on his own. Do not allow the other pets in the household into the room. Initially the cat may be shy or frightened and may find a place where he can hide and feel safe before checking things out. Cats feel safe either under things (bed, couch) or up high (cat condos, dressers, cabinets). Eventually he will begin exploring his new digs.

  • Over the next few days make sure he’s eating well and using the litter box. Some shy cats may hide for as long as a week; others will be ready to come out into the house and go exploring after just a day.

  • You should spend as much time as possible in the room with the cat, but you should never try to force it out of hiding. Be sure to leave fresh food and water out at all times, and check that it is being consumed.

  • The cat will let you know when it’s ready to begin exploring more of the house. The important thing is to let the cat emerge whenever it feels ready. Once the new cat is using his/her litter box and eating regularly let him or her have free time in the house.

    MEETING THE FAMILY

  • Naturally, everyone in the family will be excited about the new arrival. Go slowly at first. A new cat may need 7-10 days to relax into his new environment. Save meet-and-greets with friends, neighbors and relatives until the cat is eating and eliminating on a normal schedule and feels comfortable with your family.

  • Children should be invited to visit the new kitty in her room, one at a time. Children should be quiet and seated on these visits so they don’t frighten the cat if he’s not used to kids. If the cat is friendly and approaches, have them offer an outstretched hand to sniff. If the cat accepts this, they can gently pet the cat.

  • As the cat becomes familiar with the child, they may play with a cat toy on a string or stick. Never leave small children unsupervised with your cat. Teach your children how to properly hold a cat with one hand under the rump and one hand on the back, held up against their bodies.

    MEETING OTHER PETS

    Like people, cats are choosy about their relationships - they can be the best of friends or just tolerate each other with a minimum of conflict. How you make introductions is very important in order to ensure a good relationship develops. If you have other pets please take the time to read the information on our HOW TO INTRODUCE YOUR NEW CAT TO RESIDENT PETS page before allowing your new pet to meet resident pets.
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