Cat proof you’re home, before arriving with your new cat. Make sure there are no possible hazards such as open windows or toxic plants, and try to keep exposed electrical cords to a minimum. Choose a relatively quiet time to bring your cat home, such as the beginning of a free weekend. Introduce your cat to the new home in steps, confining the cat to one room at first. Allow plenty of time for your cat to explore and get to know the new environment. Kittens, especially, will be worried about their new surroundings. Only after your new cat appears comfortable to the new environment should you join him and begin to interact by speaking quietly, sitting close by and petting him. Introduce each family member one at a time, giving your cat time to get to know each person. We do not recommend allowing your cat to roam outdoors. It exposes the cat to many dangers such as automobile traffic, dogs and diseases, and the chances of a lost cat being reunited with its family are slim. Provide your cat with toys and a scratching post indoors to give her an outlet for her energy. Cats love to play, but make sure the toys are safe for your cat-avoid toys with strings or removable small objects. Your pet store has a supply of fun items that are designed and marketed specifically for cats. Cats have individual interests in toys, so you'll have to experiment to see what yours likes best. Indoor cats can lead a long, healthy life of 15 years or more.
If you already have a cat or cats, make sure the resident cat is healthy and current on its vaccinations. Then be sure the new cat is disease free, tested for FELV, and vaccinated before being brought into the household. Keep in mind he or she may view the newcomer as an trespasser. It may take a month or more before the new cat is accepted by the resident. So keep the new cat confined to a room with his own food and water bowls and a separate litter box. Allow your resident cat full run of the house except for this room. He'll probably prowl around the doorway and may show some signs of aggression toward this room. Keep the new cat completely out of sight until the resident cat shows some signs of acceptance. Nail trims for both cats are advisable in case of disagreements!
After several days to a week, let the resident see the new cat by means of a screen across the doorway or by placing your new cat in a crate within the room. Give them short periods of contact, slowly increasing the time as they adapt. You can also exchange items with each cat's scent to help familiarize them with one another. When they get close, there may be some hissing and growling-but doesn’t permit physical contact until your resident seems comfortable with the new addition. They may never do more than tolerate one another, but on the other hand, many cats become fast friends.
The food bowl is your cat's most important item, at least as far as the cat is concerned! Bowls designed for pets, made of metal or ceramic, are best. If you're feeding dry food, clean them at least once a week and more often if feeding canned food. Make sure the water bowl always has fresh water. Place both bowls in a quiet, low-traffic area, away from the litter box (or the cat may quit using it), always feed in this same place, and respect your cat's right to eat in peace. Cats are creatures of habit and feel most secure on a regular and predictable schedule. This is especially important when your cat is first introduced to a new environment. Feed him in the same place and at the same time each day, and condition him to regular schedules of attention, grooming and play. This regularity provides security for the cat and helps avoid later behavior problems.
Choose a litter box that's large enough for the cat to fit comfortably inside with ample room for him to dig and turn around, and place in a quiet area. Cats like commercial, unscented sand or clay litters with relatively small granules. Clumping litters now available make the task of litter box cleaning easier. Eliminate box odor simply by cleaning the box frequently with warm soapy water (avoid scented disinfectants). Kittens less than eight weeks old may be too small to use an adult-size litter box; an inexpensive aluminum or plastic pan with a two-inch rim will suffice until the kitten is able to graduate to a regular box. If you have more than one cat, consider providing each with its own litter box to avoid housebreaking problems. Remove solid waste daily and change the litter completely once a week or less frequently if you choose a clumping litter. If more than one cat is using it, you may need to change the litter more frequently.
Note: Pregnant women need to be aware of toxoplasmosis, a disease carried by some cats' feces that can cause birth defects. But don't let fear cause you to remove your cat from your household! Simple precautions can help prevent toxoplasmosis:
Change the litter box daily
If possible, have someone else change the litter box
If you must handle the litter box, use gloves, and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards
Keep your cat free of infection by keeping her indoors
Good luck with your new kitty!