Cats who are adopted from no-cage rescues like our own tend to adjust much faster to a new home than those who come from caged facilities. Most should only take a few days to feel right at home. To help make this transition as stress-free as possible for your new family member, follow these simple steps:
- All cats and kittens must leave the rescue center in a pet carrier. Upon arrival at home, put the carrier on the floor “in the midst of the house”. Leave the carrier closed and let him relax, by leaving it right there for 10 minutes or so. This allows your pet to view the house while feeling safe and comfortable. When you open the carrier, let your new pet explore and investigate.
- If you have a dog in the house, encourage your dog to come over and meet the new addition. Encourage the dog to stay close and sniff and possibly lay down near the crate. Remember, all FFRC cats are used to dogs, they just don’t know YOUR dog yet. Keep in mind too, that the dogs at the rescue center are NEVER allowed to chase a cat. After 5 minutes of checking each other out, it’s a good idea to put the dog in a room while the new cat is exploring OR keep the dog on a leash for the initial getting-acquainted period. This gives the cat a chance to learn the layout of the house before dealing with the dog, too! It’s important for the first meeting with your dog to be peaceful–this can set the tone for their relationship.
- If you have other cats in the house, allow them to come over and sniff the newcomer. You and the family should remain calm and act normally, even if there is growling or hissing between your pets. Just sit close by, speak in soothing tones, and behave normally. When the resident cat gets bored and leaves the scene, then open the door to the pet carrier. Exploring will begin!
- Close off extra bedroom doors, basement doors, etc. to make the house smaller while your new cat is learning the layout of her new home.
- It’s important for the first 1-1/2 hours to show the cat the location of the litter boxes. Every 20 minutes, pick up and pet the cat, and place him in the litter box. He doesn’t have to STAY in the box, you are simply showing him the location of the boxes. The cats at the rescue center all use their litter boxes, they just need to learn where the boxes are in their new home. This procedure is very effective.