Cat Adoption: 4 Tips for a Stress Free Transition

Cat Adoption: 4 Tips for a Stress Free Transition

Roughly 4 million cats and dogs are adopted from shelters each years, but nearly 3 million are euthanized annually. Adopting a cat or dog is the best way to rescue them from the high probability of being euthanized. Deciding to adopt a cat can be an easy enough decision, but seamlessly bringing your new friend into your home can be a little bit more difficult. In order to make the transition into a home that may already house other animals and children as easy for your new cat as possible, there are a few things you need to consider.

Safe Space

Before you bring your cat home, you need to already have a safe area set up for them. Have a litter box, food and water dish, and toys available for your cat in a room away from another other animals or people in your home. If you already have one or more cats, don’t assume that they or your new cat will be willing to share litter boxes or dishes with one another. Make sure your new cat has his or her own place away from things that your existing pets may consider their own property.


Respect that the pets you’ve had for a while now consider your home to be their territory. Although you might be ready to welcome a new cat into your house, older pets might not be as willing. Keep your new cat in a room away from pets already in the home and let them get used to each other on opposite sides of the door. It can take 1 to 2 weeks for cats to become accustomed enough to each other for you to allow them to meet face to face. By keeping your cats separated, the cat or cats already living in your home will have a chance to get used to a newcomer gradually, and your new cat will be less frightened by or aggressive towards the other animals.

One At A Time

Only allow one visitor to see your new kitty at a time. This can be very difficult, particularly in homes with children, but your new cat will probably be stressed by their new surroundings, and having too many humans around at once will only make the problem worse. Let your new cat have time to become accustomed to his or her new surroundings, and make sure that any visitors to the cat’s safe space know to sit on the ground and let the cat come to them, rather than attempting to pick the cat up, or chase it around the room to pet it. You want to make your new cat’s transition into your home as stress free as possible.


After 1 to 2 weeks of allowing your cats to sniff each other through a door, you will probably decide that it is time for your cats to meet face to face. It might seem like your cats will be fine if you just open the door and let them see each other, but sometimes this can lead to cats fighting and injuring each other. Even if your cats seemed to be getting along fine in separate rooms, don’t let them have free time together without careful supervision for several days. In fact, it is best if you put your new kitty in a carrier, and allow existing pets to nose around the outside for a bit rather than immediately letting them come nose to nose. Remember that your old pets are the ones whose territory is being invaded. You want them to feel as though the new cat is not a threat. Try letting your cats see each other through a carrier a few times (after 1 to 2 weeks of room separation) before allowing them to actually roam free together

Adoption is the best way to bring a new animal into your home, but you should always be aware that moving an animal from one set of surroundings to another, no matter how  young or old they are, can be an extremely stressful situation. Do your best to give your new friend the best introduction to their new life that you can. If you don’t have room in your home for another pet, but would still like to know how you can support pets in shelters, contact us, Texas Alliance for Homeless Pets, to find out how you can raise awareness of pet adoption in your area.



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