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A Cat’s First 24 Hours In Its New Home

It's tempting to simply release your cat into her new home and hope for the best. However, you'll save yourself a whole lot of time if you take it slowly.

As hard as it might be, try not to introduce your adorable new kitten or cat to everybody at once. To avoid your cat getting frightened or overwhelmed hold back on introducing people straight away. Your new cat needs time to become familiar with her new surroundings.

A young white cat hiding around the corner in the home
A young white cat taking it one step at a time in her new home

Give Your Cat Time To Adjust

Give your new cat time to adjust and allow her to become comfortable in her own time. At first she may try to hide away under sofas or behind doors. Don't worry, this is a perfectly natural reaction. You do, however, need to remember that all introductions need to be on your cat's terms. Let her come and introduce herself to you and your family, rather than you making the first step. You can try to encourage her to come and say hello, but if she doesn’t want to, try again later. Eventually she'll pluck up the courage and ask you to play.

Chartreux cat settling into a new home
Like all cats, this Chartreux pair needs a bit of time to settle in

Make Things Familiar For Your Cat

Make things familiar for your cat to help her settle into your home. At first she might not want to eat much, if at all. If you offer her the same food that she was fed on before you collected her then she is more likely to have an appetite. Your new cat will also really appreciate it if you regularly change her water.

Some breeders might also ask if you would like to take home a blanket with the scent of your cat’s family on it. This can help make your home familiar for your new arrival.

Set Up A Safe Room For Your New Cat’s Arrival

Before bringing your cat home have a room prepared that you can make the cat’s “safe room”. It is best for the safe room to be quiet and tucked away so your cat can keep her head down until her confidence levels start to rise. A lot of people use a bathroom for this, as it’s usually the easiest room to clean and is often separated from the hustle and bustle of a busy house. Equip this room with a bed, litter tray, food, water, scratching post and a few toys. When you bring your cat home put their carry case down and open the door. Don’t reach in to pull her out, but let her come out and explore the room in her own time.

A lovely Siberian cat contemplating leaving her safe room
A lovely Siberian cat contemplating leaving her safe room

As your cat grows in confidence you can let her out of the safe room to explore, but make sure you keep an eye on her. Kittens will not remember their way back to the safe room so if you see them sniffing around sheepishly make sure you get them back to their hideaway to use their litter tray.

Put your cat to bed in her safe room and continue to build up the amount of time they spend being handled and out exploring their new surroundings.

Just what you don't want - a sofa disguised as a scratching post!
Just what you don't want - a sofa disguised as a scratching post!


As your new cat gains confidence you can put some trust in her. As long as she is happy that the safe room is her area of refuge you can allow her more freedom in your house, but watch out for undesirable behavior like climbing on the kitchen table or sharpening her claws on the furniture. Buy a scratching post to satisfy her scratching instincts.

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Comments Leave a comment

Fern, 18 April 2020

I’m getting a cat tomorrow. I’ve had a friends cat who I’ve loved, however, my friends children want to be with her. I plan on spoiling my new cat with love. Thank you for your advice. I looking forward to meeting my new cat

Alicja, 10 August 2019

My kitten settled straight away, did not hide even for a minute, was not afraid of our older cat and when he got tired after couple of hours of extensive exploring and play he came straight to me, jumped on my knees and fell asleep. Very first night run after us and slept in our bed. It seems from the article such a bold behaviour is not typical . :)