Much like people and dogs, cats react differently when being presented with something new. Some cats (and people) revel in being in a different environment or approaching strangers, while others don’t.
Fear and anxiety may be common reactions, but neither is healthy for any pet. Raising a cat or any pet that is always on edge gets trickier if you have an active lifestyle, need to travel for work or have to move houses regularly.
Let an experienced cat sitter in Dubai provide some tips on how to make the transition easier for your feline when meeting new people or pets. By knowing how to introduce new elements to your feline correctly, you won’t have to worry about having friends over, being away from home, or moving.
When Picking a New Cat
Before you get another cat to add to your growing feline or animal family, consider the ones you already have at home. Think about their personalities before choosing one to adopt. The aim is to choose pets with similar personalities.
With rambunctious pets that love to play, look for cats that enjoy lots of activity. Otherwise, your new cat may not feel comfortable being around a bunch of high-spirited felines. The opposite is also true.
In homes that have grumpy old cats, it may not be a good idea to get kittens. Your older cats may not look too kindly on the young ones. Perhaps it would be wiser to get a more mature cat that prefers to lie in the sun in such cases.
Stick to Your Schedule
Cats thrive on routine. They are creatures of habit who like to do the same set of activities daily. For some, this may sound like a boring life, but for cats, it makes them feel safe and secure.
Any disruption can affect their physical health and make them feel anxious. If you have friends coming over, you must avoid disrupting the cat’s routine as much as possible. Making a mad dash to clean the house, combined with the use of loud vacuums and strong chemicals, can potentially send your cat into a panic.
If you do need to clean the house, do it gradually or in short segments. The objective is to stick to your routine or to make minimal changes over a long period of time. Doing so reduces the chances of your cats becoming anxious and agitated when you have guests coming over.
Give him Space
Before you take your new cat home, it is worth thinking about where to house it temporarily. Allocate a room or area that is away from the hustle and bustle. Space should have water, food, and a litter box, among others.
It may also be worth investing in a few cat accessories such as a scratching post, bed, treats, and a few toys before you get your cat. Use the last two when training your cat later on or for reinforcing good behavior.
If you have multiple pets or cats, create several hiding places. Large cardboard boxes with at least two large holes can act as makeshift carriers. The holes will allow each cat to get in or out quickly without feeling cornered.
Each cat should have at least one box. When you bring the new addition home, place him inside his box right away. Allocating boxes will help your pets get accustomed to each other while providing them with space.
Observe his Initial Behavior
Spend at least an hour with your cats on the first day and every day afterward. However, do not use this time to force interaction between your new and old cats. The best you can do during the first few days is to monitor the situation.
Observe how your cat behaves in his new environment and how your other felines are reacting to the new addition. Look for any indications of stress, anxiety, or agitation. This may come in the form of increased noise, limited appetite, or aggressive behavior.
Such behavior tends to be normal with putting cats in a new environment. However, it may be worth taking him to the veterinarian, if the cat still refuses to eat even after several days have passed.
It may be worth placing the new cat in a separate area if he exhibits signs of stress. Your new cat may need some time alone to get acclimatized to the new environment. The new space should be equipped with the essentials we’ve previously mentioned.
Only let your other pets in the new cat’s room after two days. This will allow all your cats to gradually get accustomed to each other’s scent without getting agitated or stressed.
An alternative method of introducing your new cat to the other members of the household is through the use of scents. Look for pieces of unwashed clothing from your spouse or kids.
With cats, you can rub a piece of fabric against their cheeks. A cat’s cheeks and head are rich in pheromones. This is why cats normally rub their faces against people – transferring some of a cat’s scent is an indication of his trust in the person.
Leave the fabric inside the new cat’s space and observe how he reacts to the scent. If your new cat does not react to the strange scents, this is a sign that he is feeling more comfortable.
Give Plenty of Praise
Let your cat make the first move. Once your new cat becomes accustomed to your scent and presence, he will decide to come out of his hiding place on his own. The same goes for guests and other pets you may have inside the house.
Give him lots of playful rubs and praise when he approaches you. Doing so will encourage him to stick around. Providing him with treats, praise and toys also reinforces it as a positive behavior.
Cats have excellent memory retention and tend to remember people they like. Allowing your cat to approach you on his terms makes him feel safe and secure with his new surroundings.
Adopting a cat and getting him settled in his new home may seem tricky in the beginning. But by following these tips, you are on your way to making him feel like a part of your family.