Some cats will enter their new home with confidence and will calmly start sniffing around, rubbing their faces into various objects and exploring the new territory. However, other cats tend to be anxious. Faced with a radical change in the form of being brought to a completely unknown place, they will hide under the bed, behind the cupboard or another inaccessible place. Kittens adapt to new situations with the most ease as they are only discovering the world and everything is equally new to them. Yet, even among kittens there are ones that are more shy and anxious and who might cry for their cat mummy at night.
It might be a good idea to include into its new accessories an item from the cattery, shelter or temporary home that the cat used to stay in. It could be its favourite toy or a blanket, items saturated with a familiar smell, which would form positive associations. To fulfil the cat’s natural need for hiding (not just out of fear, but simply for fun), provide the new household member with a dedicated hiding place so that it does not have to look for a quiet spot behind the wardrobe. The perfect solution might be Dr Seidel cat house, designed by a behavioural medicine specialist. It will be the perfect playground, hideout and observation point for the cat. The cat house is made of durable cardboard. You can assemble it manually for your cat. The possibility to combine several boxes in different configurations is an additional feature of the toy.
Upon arriving at the new home, let your cat out of the carrier and let it become familiar with the designated room where the cat accessories were put. If you cannot provide a separate room, you can let it out into the home after securing potentially dangerous places (such as cellar door). If there are other animals in the house, even the bathroom might serve as a temporary cat’s room. Such dedicated space will ensure comfort and safety for the new resident in its first days. This will allow the “old” residents and the new cat to get used to each other’s smells and sounds while being physically separated by a door. Bathroom door usually has holes or a gap in its lower part. This allows for a free exchange of smells. After the cat spends a few days in the dedicated space, try letting it enter other rooms while closing the other pet inside the cat’s room. The next step is to allow for controlled direct confrontation. The so called “socialisation with isolation” might take one to two weeks, depending on the animal’s personality. Make sure the pets do not harm one another although you may not be able to prevent all conflicts. Observe the animals and intervene if necessary. Remember not to show favouritism towards your new pet. You must not allow the “old” residents to feel neglected after the arrival of your new cat.
Give your cat some water but do not feed it yet. If it seems nervous, do not pick it up. Let it discover new smells and sounds. In the case of most cats, curiosity takes over quite quickly – they begin exploring and do not need to be closed off in one room. Once your cat seems calmer, give it a meal. At that point, remember to move the litter box to the place where it is supposed to remain permanently. If you already have pet residents, the isolation of your new cat should last longer. Pets must be familiarised with each other gradually and slowly.