The First Steps of Becoming a New Cat Owner in Rye, NH
Bringing home your first cat is an exciting time, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in the experience. However, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure your cat has the best chance at adjusting properly to his new home.
In the article below, we’ll walk you through some basic steps you can take to help your cat get used to living with you. Whether you get a new kitten or you adopt an older cat, this information can help you get your new pet off to a good start.
Pick a Vet Beforehand
You’ll need to reach out to local vets to find out which ones are taking new patients. Choose a good quality vet in your area that can provide your cat with excellent care. Some vets are more experienced with cats than others, so look for a vet who knows how to treat feline patients.
The day you get your new cat—or very soon thereafter—take him to the vet. The vet will perform a full examination and make sure your cat is healthy. From there, the vet will start your cat on routine vaccinations he needs to prevent or reduce the risk of common feline illnesses.
Set Up Your Cat’s Space
Your cat should have a room that is all his/her own for the first couple of weeks of his/her time with your family. You don’t want to overwhelm him/her by throwing him/her into the middle of the household’s chaos. A guest room or laundry room can be a good place for a cat to get started adjusting to your home.
In this space, make sure your cat has food, water, litter, toys, and bedding. He/She will start to get used to the space in no time.
Play with Your Cat One-on-One
By playing one-on-one with your cat using interactive toys, you can bond with him much more quickly. Cats are more likely to want to come out of hiding and spend time with the family when they know they’re going to get some attention for doing so.
Choose toys that allow you to truly interact with your cat during playtime, such as wand toys you can dangle for him. Toys you toss and then let your cat play with on his own are not as interactive.
Give Your Cat Time
Your cat will need some time to adjust to the new space. Although there are always some cats who come into a new home and act like they’ve always lived there, this is far from the norm. Most cats will hide for a while, and may slowly start to come out of hiding after they feel more at ease with their surroundings.
As long as your cat has access to food and water during this time, he/she will be okay. He/She may come out of hiding while everyone is asleep to have some food and water, and then may hide again. This can be frustrating, but it’s best to wait for him/her to come around.
Introduce Other Pets Slowly
You may have other pets in your household. If so, you’ll need to introduce them to the new cat slowly, giving all pets involved time to get used to each other. Start with everyone either crated or on a leash first, so you can have some control of the situation. From there, you can slowly build up time for all the pets in your home to get to know each other.
If you have small animals in your home, however, you may need to keep them away from your cat indefinitely. Some cats may never stop seeing these animals as prey and may try to get into their cages more often than not.
Help Kids Play with the Cat Properly
If you have little ones in your family, it’s important to instruct them on the safest and kindest ways to handle cats.
Learning how to play with cats correctly—and how to handle them gently—can help your kids feel less nervous around a new cat, and vice-versa. This practice can also cut down on the risk of scratches and bites from stressed out cats!
With the help of this guide, you should be more prepared to bring home your new cat or kitten. Keep in mind, however, that owning a pet can be challenging, and it’s normal to experience some unexpected situations throughout the process.
Take your time getting to know your new cat and bonding with him fully. Over time, the two of you will likely become inseparable, but it’s okay if you need a little time to get used to each other first. This is just part of the normal process of bringing home a cat for the first time.
We're proud to have many long-time staff members at our hospital who get along like family and treat their patients and clients the same. The compassion and commitment of our veterinarians and staff make our team a reliable, trusted partner for you and your pet.