Acclimating Cats and Kittens

Crystal Creek Rescue > Acclimating Cats and Kittens

New Cat in your home? It’s important to acclimate them

 Whether you have other animals already in your home or not, you will want to make sure you help both your new feline and you adjust to having each other in your home. This helps smooth the way to happy home life with your new family member

Introducing the feline new member

  1. Start the new cat in a bathroom with food, water, and litter. Cats are geography oriented and need to learn the space, the smells, and sounds associated with your home. The smallness of the bathroom compared to other rooms will provide them with a sense of security. 
  2. Let the resident cat or dog sniff at the door. Sit in the bathroom with the new cat, so you can get to know each other. Read, play with the cat, and make calls while there. Keep a night light in there for night time, cats can see 60% more than we can in low lighting. You want to give them a sense of day and night especially if the bathroom doesn’t have a window. 
  3. Next, close the connected bedroom door to the rest to the house and let the new cat come into the bedroom, barring resident animals. Let the new cat sleep with you in the room. Then put the new cat in a carrier on the bed and open the bedroom door to the rest of the house and let the other cat/dog come in and explore. This makes it so they can meet, but there is a barrier. And the height will make the new cat feel safe.
  4. It’s normal for there to be hissing from your cat. Your cat will consider him an intruder.
  5. You can pick up your cat and give him affection to reassure him that all is well. Even give him a treat when he is close to the new cat as long as there is no hissing. The goal is to reward positive behavior.
  6.  After about an hour, put your cat out, close the door and let the new cat out. Repeat this in a few hours.
  7.  When you see both cats playing footsie under the door, no longer hissing and even the resident cat laying down in front of the carrier in a friendly manner, with the new cat inside, it’s time to consider opening the carrier door. Don’t interfere, remain relaxed and calm and just see what they do. If it’s going well, give them both a treat. If not, separate and try again later, with the new cat in his carrier.
  8.  You can also carry the new cat into the rest of the house in his carrier and leave him on a table or counter while you work or cook….he can see everything, but feel safe inside the carrier.
  9.  This slow acclimation to the physical space gives all cats involved the confidence that this is not an invasion, but a “good” change that has happened.

Feeding your new cat

Keeping the new cat on the food he’s used to for at least seven days is important. You can slowly change it to what you are feeding but do so over at least six days. Using the same food is important because felines have very sensitive stomachs and should the new cat become ill, you can rule out a food change as making it ill if you follow this protocol.

Finally, we do not recommend kibble (dry food), because it tends to cause diarrhea and is often produced with lots of fillers, meal, and by-products. Wet food for an adult twice a day is closer to the natural diet of a feline. 

Check labels, if you don’t think the ingredients are natural or appetizing, it’s probably not a good food. If the ingredients that are listed in the beginning of the list are something you don’t easily recognize, they are most likely by-products or meal, which can be detrimental to your cat’s health. Never feed a cat anything other than cat food, because it has important ingredients that cats need, like taurine. The occasional treat of fresh chicken or salmon is fine. Try to stay away from canned tuna, as it can cause urinary problems.

Here are some foods that you should avoid with your cat at all times, even after they are acclimated. 

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