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Getting Your Home Ready for a New Cat: A Complete Guide

Adopting a cat is an exciting and rewarding experience that requires careful preparation. New cat owners might wonder what equipment they need to buy, how to set up a designated cat area in the house, what to do if there’s already another cat or dog in the house, and many more questions. Right before the first meow, here’s everything you should know and prepare before welcoming your new cat.


Before your cat arrives

Create a safe space

Introducing a new cat into your home is almost like bringing in a new baby. And the preparation for their arrival is quite similar. You’ll need the right accessories and food. Plus, you’ll need to arrange the cat’s living area, and make sure the house is safe for them. 

When we say “safe”, we mean creating a space that will protect them from their own natural curiosity and playfulness. Cats tend to explore every detail in their environment and experiment with everything possible, even if it’s potentially life-threatening. Especially if it’s life-threatening, it seems like.

Kittens are much more problematic in this regard and you need to be even more mindful of their curiosity. Not only did they just land smack dab in a new environment, but they’re also just starting to develop their own physical skills and coordination. This means they’re more prone to injuries or getting into trouble.

Hide sharp objects, exposed electrical cables, bags, or anything else that the cat may see as part of a game. Keep poisonous houseplants away. Store cleaning materials, medicines, and chemicals in a high place. Block access to dangerous places where they could hide, such as open toilets, a washing machine, and other electrical devices.

To prevent the cat from escaping, especially in the first few days, it’s important to make sure that windows are sealed and that there are no other ways for them to get out. Your cat can spend many hours staring out the window, looking at what’s happening on the street or in the garden. They can safely enjoy this, as long as you make sure the window is secure so that they can’t get out and jump down.

Remember – cats do land on their feet… but life isn’t a cartoon and there’s a limit to that rule. If you have a garden at home, check that there are no risks for your cat there either, including places from which the cat could fall or get stuck. 

As for the plant life there, avoid pesticides such as rat poison and go through the list of potentially poisonous plants that may be present in your garden, such as Cyclamen, Hollyhock, or Ficus.

Buy everything your cat needs in advance

Here’s a checklist for everything you should buy before your new family member arrives at your home:

  1. Age-appropriate food
  2. Cat carrier
  3. Food and water bowls
  4. Litter box
  5. Toys
  6. A special bed that’s soft and suitable for the cat’s size
  7. A scratching device – cats need their nails trimmed to relieve stress, to mark territory, and to prevent nails from growing and shedding. Invest in a stable, comfortable, and appropriately sized scratching device to prevent the cat from scratching your sofa or carpet. It’s worth investing in two different types of scratching devices – for example, a tower and a mat.
  8. Brush – if your cat has long fur, make sure to brush them daily. Cats with shorter fur only require one brush a week. This will help maintain hygiene and prevent hairballs. Even though kittens don’t have to be combed, it’s important to do it anyway as it helps them get used to being handled. Start with a light and slow brushing motion and slowly move to full combing.

Going through the adjustment period safely

Bringing your new cat home

Once you’ve sorted out all the paperwork, you can finally pick up and bring your cat home. We recommend you avoid feeding them before the trip so that they don’t vomit on the way.

Use a carrier, and line it with a towel or other soft bedding, preferably one with a smell they’re used to. To relieve the stress involved in traveling and leaving a familiar environment, it’s also a good idea to have a blanket or sheet to cover the carrier. Drive calmly, and try avoiding sudden breaks and stops.

Entering the house for the first time

Cats are curious, but can also be easily overwhelmed in a new environment they’re unfamiliar with. The adaptation period is no picnic, especially during the first 24-48 hours. Your cat has to adapt to an unknown environment, and maybe even has to enter a shared home with other pets. Things may seem exciting, confusing, and maybe even a tad scary. 

Keep in mind that different cats will react differently to the transition between territories and owners. Some will want to play and explore on the first day of their arrival, while others will prefer to hide and learn the environment at their own pace. Most cats will probably hide and go out to eat and drink at night when they feel that the house is quiet and safe.

If possible, try to bring the cat home at a time when the house is relatively quiet. If you bring the cat in inside a carrier, place it next to a wall or a large piece of furniture, open it, and leave the room for an hour or so.

The first days

In the beginning, you should assign the new cat a room in the house, where they’ll spend the first few days. It can be a bedroom, a study, or any other closed room that’ll allow your cat to get used to the new noises and smells of the house. Just make sure they have food, water, and a place to sleep inside that room. It’s also recommended to add a scratching device. Keep the litter box as far as possible from the cat’s eating and sleeping area. 

The cat will begin to explore the new environment. After a few days of being closed off in the same room, you can let them start exploring the rest of the house while you watch. This should also be done when the house is relatively quiet, without the presence of other dogs or cats. Let the cat explore the environment at their own pace and let them return to their corner at each stage. You can occasionally try and encourage your cat to leave the room with the promise of tasty food outside the door.

As part of the process of adapting and dealing with the anxiety connected to the new environment, cats may also look for hiding places where they feel safe. Create cozy hiding places for them, such as a cat tunnel or an empty cardboard box lying on its side. If they choose to hide in the closet or under the bed at first, don’t force them out. Respect their privacy and let them get to know and get used to the new background noises and smells. They’ll leave those spaces at their own pace when they feel safe.

7 tips for the first few days with your new cat

  1. Take it slow: A new cat will usually need 7-14 days to adjust to their new environment. During that time, try to avoid visits from friends or family – even if they can’t wait to see your cute little furry friend. We completely understand the excitement, but for a cat, it can be a bit tough.
  2. Company isn’t vital for cats, but an additional cat in the house can make everything much easier: It’s important to remember that cats are essentially solitary creatures. They have no problem staying home alone, but there’s no doubt that another cat in the house will make the process of getting familiar with it much easier. A companion cat is the most attractive toy a new cat can have. The additional company will make your new cat less needy. In addition, leaving them alone becomes much less upsetting if there’s another cat with them.
  3. Timing is important: Try to bring your cat home on the weekend or during the week when you (and the rest of the family) can be at home as many days in a row as possible. This will help you build a daily routine and establish the initial bond between your family and your new feline family.
  4. Patience is key: Each cat has their own character, so the time it’ll take each one to get used to a new home can vary. Some cats may feel at home from day one, while others may take a little longer. Give them time to explore the environment at their own pace.
  5. Wait a bit before petting: Bonding with a new cat requires time and trust, so you should wait patiently until they turn to you to be petted or any other kind of affection. You should avoid showering them with too much attention at first. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend with them. Talk to them in a pleasant and calm voice, praise them for good behavior, and offer them treats, playtime, and gentle touch to develop a warm and loving bond.
  6. Eye level contact: We mean that literally. Do not stand over them or sit on a sofa that’s higher than them. Just sit on the floor, play with them at their height, and allow them to look straight at you.
  7. Get the kids ready: Before you even bring the cat home, if you have small children, sit them down for a conversation and instruct them on how to behave with the cat. Some guidance includes: do not chase the cat, don’t pull their tail, don’t pick them up suddenly from the floor or startle them.

Daily routine with a new cat at home


During the first week or two, give your cat the same food they used to eat before they joined your family. If you want to switch to a different type of food, make the change gradually and start by adding a quarter amount of new food to the food they’re already familiar with. Slowly, increase the amount of the new food by an additional 10% each day. 

Also, put a bowl with fresh and clean water next to it (emphasis on fresh). Cats sometimes prefer not to drink at all if the water is not fresh enough for their taste. It’s recommended to use fountains. Wash the bowls every few days so that bacteria and mold do not accumulate.


Cats have an instinct to dig and bury their waste, so it’s important to provide them with the right litter box. There are a wide variety of different-sized boxes, with open or closed structures, as well as boxes with automatic cleaning mechanisms. The box should be spacious enough and the height of the sand in it should reach at least 5-6 inches so that the cat can easily cover their business.

When buying litter for the litter box, you’ll see different types, such as clay litter, crystallized litter, perfumed litter, litter with color changing alerts, etc. It’s recommended not to use regular sand found in your garden, which may be more smelly. With time and experience, you’ll figure out which type is your and your cat’s favorite litter. 

The box should be placed somewhere a bit hidden, easily accessible to your cat, and far away from their sleeping or eating area. Cats are clean animals, so make sure to clean the litter box at least once a day and change the litter every 5-7 days.


Cats are curious beings who need a lot of stimulation. There’s a huge variety of toys on the market. Balls, mice, and catch games are cat favorites because they help them develop their hunting abilities. You can also just take a simple cardboard box and put some holes in it. That will keep them busy for hours. Be sure to only change toys from time to time and dispose of any toy that begins to fall apart or crumble.

A bit like with nosy neighbors, cats also like to sit for hours next to a window and watch what’s happening outside. So why not organize a comfortable sitting and viewing surface for them on the windowsill or hang a shelf? Make sure, of course, that the window is sealed first.

Cats also enjoy climbing and sitting at different heights so you can provide some vertical play spaces in the house. Poles attached to the wall, shelves at different heights, and cat trees satisfy their instincts and give them fun ways to be physical. It also gives them a bird’s eye view of the room and a sense of security and control over their environment.


Cats sleep an average of 14 hours a day and are considered nocturnal animals. To reduce their waking hours at night, it’s important to provide them with plenty of things to do during the day. If they’re bored during the day, they’ll be that much more alert at night. 

For example, playing catch for 10 minutes before bed can tire them out properly. It’s also possible to put them in a room that has fewer distractions or less space for activity at night. Eventually, they’ll go to sleep from lack of interest.

How to help your new cat get along with your other pets

Cats don’t like it (and that’s an understatement) when someone new and unfamiliar suddenly enters their territory. Any intrusion into their personal space feels like a threat to them. So it’s normal for them to react with piloerection (hair standing up) and arching of the back.

Meeting your other cat

With another cat in the house at this initial stage, it’s recommended to provide both cats with separate food and water bowls. It’s also recommended for the first few days to put the new cat in a closed room with all the necessary equipment and gradually get your other cat used to your new cat’s presence. One of the recommended methods is to take clean socks and rub them on each cat’s face and then give each of them the sock with the other’s scent. Alternatively, you can consistently switch their beds. This way the cats will get to know each other through smell and during their early encounters, the tension will decrease. 

Don’t be too bothered by the prospect of dual cats. In most cases, they’ll get along after a few days or weeks and will develop boundaries and their own power dynamics. There’s no need to worry because of a paw to the face here and there… as long as it doesn’t turn into an actual physical fight. They’ll start cleaning each other and playing together in no time. And if one of them is a kitten, the adult cat will even help them build social skills as part of the socialization process.

Meeting your dog

If your new cat is to enter a house where there’s already a dog, it’s recommended to put food and water dishes for the cat out of the dog’s reach. Also, make sure the cat has the ability to jump up to a higher place in case the dog starts to get too rambunctious with them.

Keep your dog leashed at all times so that you can stay in control and prevent them from chasing the cat, even as a game. It’s also possible to mix the scents of the dog and the cat. Place the cat’s blanket in the dog’s bed, and vice versa.

As a new cat owner, your cat’s physical and mental health are super important. This means finding the right veterinarian and scheduling an appointment about a week after your new cat arrives at home. And to make that process even easier, you can get customized health insurance for cats. That way you and your new fur baby are fully taken care of. Now that’s fur-fect.


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