Humane Society of 
Northeast Iowa

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Helping Your New Cat in the New Home

Three very informative links to visit to help make your new feline's transition

safe and pleasant into your home:

Particularly useful is the following link to help care for small, newborn kittens:

Taking your new cat home:

  • Transport them securely in a covered pet carrier and talk to them calmly.

Upon arrival at home:

  • Put them in a bathroom and close the door and the toilet lid.
  • Provide water and food placed away from the litterbox filled with clumpable litter, a blanket and a scratching post. Cut a hole in a box for them to go into.
  • Let the feline come to you. Don't force her.
  • Visit them frequently in their room. Slowly give more access to other rooms.

If you have other pets in the home:

  • Keep your new pet in a small room and feed your resident pet nearby. Slowly move the bowl closer to the door.
  • Swap blankets/beds or rub a washcloth on a cat's cheek and put it under the food dish of another.
  • Later, use doorstops to prop open the door slightly for the cats to see each other.
  • Supervise any interaction as you give access out of the room.
  • If a fight breaks out, clap your hands, throw a pillow nearby to distract them, or squirt water. Start the whole process over if the cats continue to fight.

A few important points to mention:

  • Cats are lactose intolerant so they can not digest milk, which may cause diarrhea.
  • Kitty proof your house, put away breakables for awhile.
  • Cats like to look out windows, check your screens to make sure they are secure.
  • Rubberbands, hair ties and string are dangerous to your cat.
  • All string toy usage should be supervised and put away until the next play session.
  • Don't allow them to play with your hand, redirect with toys.
  • Rotate cat toys so they don't become bored with them.
  • Declawing can make a cat less likely to use the litter box, more likely to bite and involves amputation of each toe. The nails can be trimmed, caps can be glued on.
  • Provide scratching posts where your cat likes to scratch and teach them to use it.
  • Scoop the litter DAILY! If you have 2 cats, it is suggested to have 3 boxes.
  • Feed canned food, it is more compatible to their natural diet. Dry food requires a lot of water intake. Dry food that lists protein as the first ingredient is best.
  • Learn about your cat's body language and about the different types of aggression.
  • If you see a change in your pet's behavior, check with your veterinarian.
  • A collar with pet ID tag/owners phone # and/or microchipping is recommended.