How To Help Your Rescue Cat Settle In

Written by: Modi Ramos
| Published on December 22, 2014

A rescue cat is thankful for getting their new lease on life, but the transition into their forever home may not always come easily. In those first few days or weeks when your new cat is settling in, help make the adjustment as easy as possible for them by following these helpful tips:


1. The Foundation Starts With the Ride Home

Once your new cat is ready to go with you, it’s very important that the ride home be a smooth transition and as stress-free as possible. The facility should provide with a breathable cardboard cat carrier to transport your cat in your car. While on your way home, be sure to keep the cat securely in the carrier and head directly to your destination. Don’t for any reason let the cat roam in a moving car or stop and leave the cat unattended in your vehicle. (It’s also a good idea to practice this philosophy for vet trips, too.)

3376637415_423772c46e_zSource: Amanda Quintana-Bowles via Flickr

2. Have Your Home Ready for New Kitty

If you have other pets or small children, you’ll want to practice precaution integrating your rescue cat in with them. Your rescue cat has already dealt with enough trauma in their life and they don’t need any more added stress in their new environment. If you have another pet it’s best to separate them at first and if kids are present make sure beforehand that they are fully aware of the course of action for peacefully integrating your new kitty in with your family.

14182678018_32503a4b25_z-2Source: @Clara P. N. Araujo via Flickr

3. Keep Your New Cat Indoors Be All Means Necessary

While your rescue cat is adapting to the home, they are completely unfamiliar with their new living space and surrounding areas. Do not for any reason let your cat outside to explore even if they give you those convincing kitty eyes that are hard to resist. Doing so could propose definite risks of your cat running away and outside dangers could harm them.

11947755144_c7e9fa336b_zSource: Kārlis Dambrāns via Flickr

4. Have Their Food, Water and Litter Easily Accessible to Them

Now that your cat is not forced to live in a confined space like they were at the shelter/rescue, they may need help finding their kitty amenities. Find an open, easily accessible space for your cat to be able to eat and use the restroom whenever they need to.

2260916005_9dd3a2cbe0_zSource: Kimberly Brown-Azzarello via Flickr

5. Sleeping Arrangements Are Key

Cats sleep at several different times of the day so provide them with a quiet space where they can rest uninterrupted. A cat bed or a soft blanket is recommended to make your cat feel comfortable and may signal them to sleep there rather than on your furniture. Do your best to make this a kid-free zone so that your cat can feel safe and not have to worry about being bothered while they are resting. They may sleep more than usual in the beginning or retreat to their safe place until they are at ease. Be patient with them and their personality will start to shine through as trust is earned.

10393005285_246bbaaf61_zSource: Jennifer Tomaloff via Flickr

6. Go Easy Integrating Existing Pets

Whether it’s a cat or a dog that you already have in your home, take this slow while practicing supervision and patience. This will be a delicate situation for both pets, and there may be initial jealousy from your existing pet and intense worry from your new cat. Start by integrating the two pets in fully supervised segments, easing your way towards alone time together. If you want things to be copacetic between the two pets it takes time for the two of them to get to know one another. Don’t rush it and you will be rewarded in the long run.

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