Bringing home a new cat

Small cat cleaning his paw

Take these steps to make sure your cat feels comfortable in his new home.

Set up a sanctuary room

  • Pick a room where your cat will spend his first week. The room should be clean, uncluttered, and as quiet as possible.
  • Supply the room with at least one litterbox, water, a bed, toys, and at least one hiding place. This will allow your new cat to slowly acclimate to his new surroundings without becoming overly stressed.
  • If you have other cats, keep your new kitty in this room for at least one week to protect the others from being exposed to illnesses he might be carrying. Have him checked by a vet before beginning integration with your other cats.

Give your cat space

While it may be tempting — especially for children — to rush in and cuddle with the cat, your cat might not be ready for this. Many recently adopted cats hide for the first few days, if not the first week. Be ready for this and let the cat decide when and if he wants to approach family members. You can simply sit with him in his room to allow him to get used to you. Hand-feeding treats can also help the process.

Prepare litter boxes

Provide one litter box per cat, plus one. Avoid placing them in areas where your cat might feel trapped, such as a closet or corner. Avoid covered litter boxes for the same reason. Scoop each box once a day and dump out the litter box completely every one or two weeks.

Cat-proof your house

Once your cat is safely in his room, go through your house and look for potential dangers and problem areas. Tie up dangling cords, hide fragile objects, lock up hazardous chemicals, shut doors to forbidden areas (this includes closets and cabinets), put away food items, pick up clothes and toys on the floor (a potential litter box), and make sure that all windows and doors are secure and firmly latched. 

Keep your new cat and other pets separate

Don't attempt any introductions to other pets for at least 4-5 days. See Adding a new cat to your household for more information on introductions.

For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline