How to Introduce Your Cat to a New Home

We were lucky to have been approache dby Redfin to share our favorite piece of advice for moving to a new house with your cats. We recently moved into a new home back in August and we used the same trick as before and it works like a charm. Read all about it in Redfin’s blog below and check out our moving vlog (also below)!

Being introduced to a new home can be a tense and scary experience for a cat. Your patience and care are essential during this adjustment period and there are a lot of different ways to make your cat feel at home. That’s why we reached out to experts from Toronto to Dallas to show you how to properly introduce your cat or kitty to a new home. 

Patience is key

If you’re introducing a new cat to a home where a cat already lives, the key to introducing them is patience!   Confine the new cat to one room of the house with a litter box, food, water, so your resident cat doesn’t feel threatened by the newcomer. They can smell each other under the door and get to know each other without being in each other’s’ faces. You can help them associate each others’ scents with something good by giving them treats on their side of the door at the same time. – Humane Society of Oldham County

Prioritize safety

Sweep and maintain areas of the home that could be hazardous to cats, including toxic plants, cleaners, cords, small items that cause choking, fragile items that can shatter, and human food. Ensure that everybody in the human family, of all ages, understands what is safe and unsafe for cats. Be aware of any windows or doors that are frequently opened, and be careful to not let your cat escape. As soon as you move, change the contact information registered to your cat’s microchip to reflect your new residence and update their collar tag, in case your kitty goes missing. – Pounce Hawaii

Take it slow

My best tip for introducing a new cat to your home would be to introduce the cat slowly to the entire home since cats attach to their space tremendously and it can be quite a shock to be placed in a completely new environment. Start with keeping them in one small room for at least a few days until they are more comfortable to start exploring more of the home. I would also highly suggest using some sort of pheromone diffuser (such as Feliway) in this room they are kept in as that can reduce stress. This is what I did with my cat when we moved to Las Vegas from the bay area. – The Comforted Kitty

Instead of immediately allowing the kitty to roam free in your new home, select one room in which they can begin to settle in. Any room with a door will suffice, but an office or bedroom with familiar furniture is ideal. Fill the litter box and place it in the room. Put out food and a water bowl on the other side of the room. Moreover, add some toys and a scratcher, so your cat doesn’t get bored. While keeping the room door closed, open their carrier and allow your cat to step out when they are ready. The key is to let your cat acclimate to a small area of the house first, so they can become acquainted with the new smells before venturing further. You can keep your kitty in the room for a few hours or up to a week, depending on how they’re doing. – Cats at Home Pet Sitting

Don’t get too fancy

Don’t start with anything too fancy in terms of equipment. When I first bought my kitten home I had purchased a kitty litter “house” with a flap and a tray inside. He had no idea what it was and peed on the couch. I quickly moved to a simple litter box. – The Discerning Cat

Take their preferences into consideration

Did you know that a cat’s food and water bowls should be kept separated, preferably in different rooms? As humans, we like to have order and convenience when it comes to setting up our living space. However, it’s important to think about your cat’s needs and preferences as well. Cats really dislike eating and drinking in the same area, possibly due to genetics telling them that there’s a time and place for hunting and likewise for quenching their thirst. Regardless, separating food and water dishes will make your cat happier, as well as prevent some unwanted behaviors- like learning how to turn on the bathroom faucet while you’re away! – Carver Scott Humane Society

Keep ‘em close by

When moving to a new home I like to prepare a room where we all hang out and sleep for a few nights. For us, that is three cats, my husband, and I in one room. I like to prep the room the day before with their favorite cat beds/sleeping spots, toys, their feeders, and a water fountain. After a few days, we will open small sections of the house one day at a time and hang out with them there. If they ever get scared they have that first room as a home base to hide. – Sven and Robbie

Set up a kitty “zen den”

It’s important to create a safe, welcoming environment for your feline family member when settling into a new home. Our team recommends setting up a kitty “zen den” to help them acclimate. This should be an enclosed space that includes their litter box, enrichment activities, food and water, and a cat carrier. We also recommend utilizing Feliway which is a natural, drug-free product that provides “happy messages” through calming pheromones. – Haines Road Animal Hospital

Cats are very territorial animals and can be sensitive to changes in their environment, especially if there are other pets involved or if the cat has a more timid personality. It’s important to provide a quiet, safe space such as a small bathroom or bedroom where the cat can become accustomed to all of the new sounds and smells of their new home before giving them full reign. In a new territory, it is important to be patient and let the cat gain their confidence to explore on their own while providing a safe space to retreat if they get overwhelmed. Each cat is different and the acclimation period can vary based on the personality of the cat. – Daily Mews Cat Cafe & Boutique

Make it familiar

Cats are cautious creatures, especially nervous in unfamiliar places. Before moving into your new home, bring some items and furniture that your cat really likes. On arrival, the kitty’s new home will feel like the old home is a part of it. The discovery of a new catnip toy or scratcher next to a familiar item will make it easier to accept and soon enjoy this strange new territory. – One Spoiled Kitty

When petting your new cat, place a sock on your hand to collect the pheromones from the side of its face and then rub the sock on the legs of the furniture, other objects in the house and even yourself and other family members. Your cat will feel more at ease and adjust quickly if its new territory smells like itself. – Raising Your Paws

If you have other cats

For now, have the new cat in the room for a week or two, so both the new and old fur family members are able to adjust. After three days, start switching the cats’ beddings so they get to know each other through sniffing the scent leftover on the bed. Later on, set a time for the new cat to explore outside their room while keeping your other cats in another room. Two weeks passed, you can try introducing them to each other, if there is aggression, separate them for another week and continue with swap scenting until both are comfortable with each other’s presence. As for dogs, the approach is slightly different, however, the same. Keep them in a separate room, rub each hand towel on your dog and your new cat, switch the towels, and give them time to sniff it. – Art Your Cat

Originally published on Redfin


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