Helping Your Cat Adapt to a New Home

Your cat feels the same way as a dog, although it might not seem like it.
Helping Your Cat Adapt to a New Home

Last update: 15 June, 2020

Adapting to a new home can be traumatic for a pet. However, some animals are better prepared than others to get used to a new area. It all depends on your pet’s personality. Today, we’re going to show you how to help your cat adapt to a new home.

Moving and helping your cat adapt to a new home

Some people believe that having a cat requires little time, unlike a dog. However, this is wrong. We know that cats need the same amount of time that we dedicate to dogs, although sometimes it doesn’t seem like it.

Despite being domesticated, cats still possess many characteristics of wild animals. However, they have adapted little by little to their new living conditions. For example, cats are territorial animals by nature and they haven’t lost this trait over time.

A defined territory allows you to create a safe environment for your pet, where they feel comfortable and safe to move freely. Losing this territory is very stressful for them. In fact, it’s the same thing as losing their entire home. In addition, this territory is one of the things that helps them feel calm.

There are some important steps to help your cat adapt to a new home.

Introducing a cat to a new environment is an important moment for a pet. This is how they will define this strange new area. Little by little, they’ll create new areas where they’ll carry out their usual routine.

The new territory

The best way to help a cat adapt to a new home is to leave the cat in an appropriately-sized closed room. This is true, regardless of the age of the cat. By closing them in a room, the animal is able to gradually familiarize itself with the new space. This actually decreases stress since they only have to become familiar with one room initially. Of course, the cat will mark the space with their pheromones.

However, the space should have all the essential things your cat needs. For example, you need to put their little box, food, water, and some toys in the room. All of these items should be relatively spread out. As a result, this will encourage the cat to properly explore the entire room.

Still, not all cats are the same. Some cats are more timid than others. In these cases, you should follow the same procedure regardless. However, you should never put pressure on your cat.

Your cat might hide under furniture and stay out of sight, but don’t let this alarm you. This is just their survival instinct. After a while, maybe about a week, your cat will become more social.

A cat playing with a toy and scratching post.

If there’s high furniture or shelves in the house, this is even better. Cats feel safer at heights. So, if you have a shy cat, it’s best to give them places where they can climb and rest up high.

Meeting their needs

As we mentioned, cats have to have certain things in their new space. Some are rather basic so we don’t need to explain much, such as food and water. However, cats need other things to effectively help them adapt to a new home.

As cats are still very attached to their wild instincts, cats need objects that help them satisfy these needs. For example, cats still feel urges to hunt, mark, and groom. We recommend:

  • A vertical scratching post. The higher, the better! An ideal scratching post has multiple levels. This allows your cat to sharpen their claws when they want. Cats in the wild actually did the same thing on the bark of trees, which also marked their territory.
  • Some toys are also great to include, especially ones that can simulate hunting prey in the wild. There are tons of toys to choose from. However, we recommend only choosing suitable toys based on your cat’s size. Toys that move are also a great choice!
  • Cats are very clean creatures. This is a reaction to their hunting instincts, rather than just a preference. Cats usually clean themselves near their litter boxes so make sure there is sufficient space.
  • They also need a special place to rub up against to get rid of dead hair. We recommend that you give them a place to do this, otherwise they’ll choose a piece of furniture on their own!

A few final tips to help your cat adapt to a new home

Once you see that your cat is starting to feel comfortable in the closed room, it’s time to open the doors to the rest of the home. Bit by bit, your cat will become familiar with the entire house. Then, they can start to get back to their normal routine.

Keep in mind that cats socialize differently to dogs. They like to walk around when humans are present.

If you don’t help your cat adapt to a new home properly, this can have serious consequences. In fact, they may end up developing undesired behaviors. So be careful and follow our tips!

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