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Taking Your New Cat Home

Some advice on preparing for your new family addition coming home, and how to make the early days count


Preparing the Settling Room

Things to consider when choosing the Settling Room:

  • Quiet & calm. A spare bedroom is ideal, alternatively, a lounge or dining room can sometimes be a good choice. Kitchens are too busy & noisy for the early days

  • Big enough to space resources out (litter tray, bed, food and water bowls all spaced apart)

  • Bedding and toys should be new or those which came with them from the Cattery. Scents of resident pets may make them feel uneasy 

  • Provide hiding places, including off the ground if possible (needs to be stable, and not at risk of falling)

  • Secure - all windows shut or locked on vent (even those up high, and upstairs windows) cat flap locked & blocked up, doors shut

  • Comfortable for you to spend time with your new cat while they settle

  • A room existing pets don't need to use

  • A Feliway or Pet Remedy Diffuser can help ease stress


Providing hides like this or cardboard boxes allows your cat to take themselves away if things are overwhelming. The car journey and being in new surroundings can be stressful, so they may take themselves off. Providing more than one around their settling room gives them the confidence to use their space, go their food, water and tray, knowing they can hide easily if needed. It's more beneficial for them to have hides dotted around than their only option being under the bed or behind a cupboard. It allows them to learn more about their new home, but still gives them the sense of safety they need. 

Settling In & Making Friends

  • Have everything set up before you bring your new cat home, so you're not disturbing them after they arrive

  • Make sure the house is as quiet as possible for the first few hours at least

  • Set the carrier down, near a hiding place so they can take themselves away if they feel the need. Take the carrier door off and let them come out in their own time. If they don't come out with you there, leave them to it for a bit

  • Spend time with them; sit quietly and talk gently to them. You could read aloud to them,  so they get to know you and your voice. Let them initiate contact and follow Cat Friendly Interaction Guidelines (see below). This allows them to do everything at their pace

  • Keep the door closed while they get used to the sounds and routines of the home. For some, this might be a few days, others may take a week or two. You'll know they feel comfortable in their new surroundings when they start:

    • Rubbing round your legs, chirruping, purring or meowing at you​

    • Playing

    • Eating, grooming & toileting normally

    • Facial rubbing (scent marking, which helps them feel at ease)​​

  • Start introducing to a bit more of the house If they become frustrated with being confined (scratching or meowing at the door, darting past you as soon as you open the door) give them some more space and allow them to explore a bit more of your home

  • Don't worry if they seem to be less friendly than they were in the Cattery, or even if they show unexpected signs of aggression. They are just telling you they need more time to decompress and get their bearings.  Taking away the pressure of physical contact will allow them to build trust in you, and they'll seek you out all the more quickly

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Choice – offering a slightly closed fist. If they don’t nuzzle, leave them to it and don’t persevere.

Attention – do they look relaxed? Are they enjoying the fuss- are you looking for signs they’ve had enough? By following the 3 second rule (see below), you give them regular opportunities to move away or end the interaction peacefully.

Touch zones - keeping to the green zones, unless the cat is clearly offering other zones.

While you get to know each other, it's best to keep to the Green Zones.

  • Once your cat has nuzzled your slightly closed fist, and seems to be enjoying it, you can gently fuss them around the ‘green zones’ 

  • After a few seconds, pause and offer your fist again. If they rub round again, they are effectively asking for more.

  • You can keep fussing them in this way until they stop asking for more.

  • This ensures the cat has control of the situation and each session ends positively for them.​

  • As you get to know each other, they might come to enjoy fusses on the Amber Zones, but most cats will not enjoy contact with the Red Zones.

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Introductions With Resident Pets

Introductions need to be gradual and controlled. Only start the introduction process once your new cat is comfortable in their new surroundings (see 'Settling In & Making Friends' Section for the signs to look out for. 

Click the button below for further information on introducing cats on International Cat Care's website 

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