Getting a new cat or kitten is always exciting – for you. Introducing your new cat or kitten to new surroundings and new people can be daunting, so it’s essential to ensure that they feel comfortable in their new home.
It’s important to give them their space for the first few days – literally. Prepare one room in advance with food, water, bedding and a litter tray (as far from the food as possible) so that they can get used to that space first, as a whole house all at once could be a bit much.
They need time to acclimatise and to explore, plus an area to themselves where they can get away from everything and feel safe – somewhere they can hide. This is particularly important if you have young children or other pets.
Gradually introduce your kitten to a wider area and to other people. Make introductions as fun as possible for your pet, offering plenty of reassurance and using familiar toys. Try to introduce your kitten to as many people as possible but not all at once and, if they seem nervous or stressed, let them return to their safe area and give them some time to recover.
Most cats enjoy being held and cuddled, but there are exceptions. Try holding them gently with one hand and stroking them with the other. Speak to them in a soft, quiet voice and, if they struggle, release them and try again later.
Some cats prefer to bond through play, rather than handling, so if your cat is not cuddly, try giving them attention in other ways. They’ll soon bond with you and become more comfortable with handling.
Try to get everyone in the family to play with your kitten to integrate them. If they are surrounded by many people they feel comfortable with, they’ll soon settle in to their new home.
If you have problems socialising your cat or kitten, our vets are happy to give advice on how you might be able to make them feel more at home.