A starter room for a new cat will provide them with the quiet place he/she needs while becoming familiar with the scents and sounds of your home. We recommend a small bathroom or laundry room for the first 7-14 days if possible. A bedroom is fine but just note the cat may hide under the bed or other furniture which will lessen your chances of seeing the cat, and therefore getting to know the cat. A room with a window for them to see outside is always a bonus! Be sure this window has a screen! You should have a scratching post, or cat tree available so that the cat has a place to relieve it’s need to scratch. This will lower their chances of scratching your furniture. If you have other pets in the home, we recommend you keep the door closed and bring a bed or blanket that current pet uses to them (and vice versa) so they can learn the each other’s scent. See our section about cat to cat/pet introductions.
Safety should be everyone’s top priority when bringing home a new pet. Your new cat (and current pets) will be nervous with the change, which changes their behavior. Remember the cat you have brought home is now in a new home, with new people, possibly new pets and is likely feeling quite anxious. They may hide, lick/chew their fur, hiss/growl at you...this is completely normal. This will eventually change as they learn to trust you.
You need to get to know your new cat and what habits and behaviors are normal... including how they act under stress. We first recommend that you observe their reaction to doors/windows. Are they possible door dodgers? If so, you know you need to be diligent in keeping them from getting out. Be sure there are secure screens on all windows. Check that all plants you have are safe for cats. Many cats like to chew on string, feathers, and other odd items that can be harmful if swallowed. If you have cleaning products, medications, laundry products, mouse/rat poisons, etc. stored in a space the cat has access to (especially in laundry/bathrooms) be sure that they are locked away. This is especially important if you are bringing home a kitten or a young cat who tend to be ultra-curious. If you have children in the home that can forget to close the exterior doors, windows, or starter room door, be sure that you monitor the situation at all times. Some of our pet parents have purchased alarms when windows or doors are left open.
Read more about cat proofing here
Igloo beds, hideaway or box beds are perfect for a cat’s first few days as it fulfills their instinct to hide. Even the friendliest of cats will retreat to hiding in a new environment or home. This is why we recommend a small room without a lot of furniture that will have less hiding spaces. If you do not have a separate room for your cat, you can also use a large dog crate. You can cover the crate with a sheet or blanket to make the cat feel safe and slowly lift the blanket each day to allow them to gradually adjust to the new home.
Learn more about a cat’s need to hide here
Place a t-shirt or a piece of your own worn clothing, even a pair of shoes which contains your scent in the starter room. On day one when you arrive watch your cat, you may want to just let them sit in their carrier and give them a few hours to just be alone and decompress. Checking on them is ok, but if they’re showing little interest in being touched, that is ok.
*Cat’s will let you know when they’re ready to proceed with the relationship!!
Put a new scratching post inside the safe room within the first day or two. Scratching is a natural and comforting behavior for cats. It’s also important that the scratching post is new and has not been used by other cats. Your new cat will like the fact that h/she has a post all to their own and they will feel more relaxed having this available to them when needed.
Read more about a cat’s need to scratch; here
If your new cat is an adult, you can use a store-bought product called Feliway. Feliway imitates natural cat pheromones and helps a new cat feel more comfortable. Feliway comes in a spray and diffuser form. This doesn’t need to be purchased right away, but if you feel your cat seems to be stressed (hiding, licking their lips, eyes dilating) it is a good tool to use to help them relax. You can purchase Feliway at most pet stores.
Learn more via a link to the company website; Feliway
First, we recommend highly that you give your cat some stimulating and fun cat toys for entertainment when they are alone or with you. The more you can exercise their mind and their body, they better they will feel. We like laser pointers that provide fun and exercise! In the beginning, visit frequently for short periods of time. Visiting can mean interacting directly with the new cat in the form of play or petting, or quietly reading a book or chatting on the telephone in the same space as your new companion. Keep in mind that a nervous cat may growl, hiss, twitch its tail or pull its ears back. The best response is to speak softly followed by giving the cat some time alone. All cats will learn to trust in their own time. Patience is key!
Learn more about bonding with a new cat; here
How will you introduce your cat to the rest of your home? Well, each cat is different and he/she will let you know when they’re ready. When the cat is no longer hiding or showing signs of fear this is when we suggest you open the door and let them explore. We recommend you start the process only under supervision for short amounts of time. You can increase the time and the amount of rooms h/she can get into with each visit. Let them explore each area slowly and return to their safe room once you feel they have had enough. Too many new spaces at once can be stressful and frightening. If you’ve adopted a shy cat, be sure not let them into an attic, garage or basement for many weeks. *Most of these rooms have many hiding places—some inaccessible to humans, or escape routes to the outdoors.
Learn more about introducing your cat to your home; here
One of the benefits to the starter room is insuring the cat knows where his litter box is at all times. It is a huge bonus if your starter room happens to be where you will keep the litter box permanently. If you eventually plan to move the litter box out of the starter room, you should slowly move the litter box to it’s permanent location. If you move the box too abruptly it may lead to confusion and to possible accidents. The rule of thumb for one cat is to have access to two litter boxes. This is due to the fact that cats prefer to have a clean box at all times. Two boxes insures they will always find a clean place to go. The larger your home, the more boxes you should have for the cat, especially if you have other cats in the home. Essentially 2 cats would have 4 boxes, and 3 cats 6. The more boxes you can have for your pride, the better!
Read more about litter box compliance; here
Our rescue feeds a serving of canned/wet food (~ 2-3 oz per cat) twice a day in the AM & PM, with access to a small bowl of dry kibble and water all day/night. We reduce the amount of dry food a cat has access to once they are over one year, or are gaining weight. We prefer to feed a grain free food that is high in protein. Many cats will naturally lose their appetite for the first 24 to 48 (sometimes longer) hours and may experience temporary diarrhea from stress. If your cat has not eaten in 48 hours, try some extra tasty treats such as canned tuna or salmon. Please contact your veterinarian if your cat experiences vomiting or diarrhea for more than 24 hours.
Learn more about feeding your cat(s); here
Feeding your cat the proper diet for the rest of their life is crucial to their longevity. We believe that the cost for a higher quality food can lower the chances of your cat developing chronic conditions such as; weight gain, diabetes, tooth and dental issues, kidney issues, and cancer. Cats should eat very little carbohydrates as they are obligate carnivores. Low grain, no grain and limited ingredient diets are best for a cat. Our shopping list will provide you with recommended brands of food to purchase. Hydration is also key! Kidney disease is extremely prevalent in cats, and it is one of the leading causes of death in cats. Since cats naturally do not drink sitting or still water, wet food adds moisture to their diet keeping them hydrated. Purchasing a water fountain is also highly recommended as cat’s are naturally attracted to running water and a fountain encourages drinking.
To learn more about selecting the best food choices for your cat click here
Our rule of thumb in pet to pet introductions is slow and steady wins the race. Cats will be overwhelmed by the new home and your current pet(s) will be stressed by the stranger in the home. Have patience and do not rush the process.
Learn more about cat to cat/pet introductions here