Five Ways To Help Your Rescue Cat Feel At Home

help cat feel at home
Photo credit maxpixel.com.

Just adopted a lovely new kitty, but worried about them settling into their new home, being safe, and obeying the house rules? You’re not alone. When a cat has been in a shelter for a period, their habits can become a little bit odd, so a bit of TLC, their own space, and a few ground rules is just what it takes to help them feel at home. It might take them some time to settle in and get used to their surroundings, but with patience and love, they’ll be walking around like they own the place in no time.

1. Give them their own space

New cats, especially from shelters, can be very timid and nervous around humans. When they first turn up at their new home, their instinct is going to be to hide, preferably in a small, cozy space. You can make this easier on them by setting this space up – include food, water, a litter tray, and comfy bedding. A laundry room or a bathroom is the perfect space for this as they’re generally quiet, but there is room for you to get in with them as they start to get used to you too.

2. Establish the ground rules

Depending on the background of the cat, they might have some basic instincts which are natural to them, but problematic for you. For instance, some cats feel the need to mark their territory by urinating on objects around the room. Using a hormone-based spray such as Feliway can help to nip these problems in the bud. If they’re indoor cats, they might decide that sofas or walls are perfect for scratching their claws on. Setting up scratching posts nearby and moving the kitty to them when they start scratching is a great way to teach them right and wrong. You can also take them to the vet for regular claw clipping to keep this problem to a minimum.

3. Set up their feeding station

Cats can be quite particular about what they eat and where. For example, it needs to be situated away from the litter box, preferably in a different room. They often prefer to have their water and food separated too, so it could be worth bearing this in mind.

4. Make it safe

Cats have a habit of exploring in the most awkward places. Get a kitten’s eye view of your home, and block up any potentially problematic nooks and crannies. What you don’t want is for your cat to go exploring through a small hole in the wall, only for you to have to rip the wall out to free them from their terrible mistake.

5. Establish no-go zones

Many people prefer their new cats not to go upstairs or the sit on the couch, especially if it’s leather. Establishing these rules early on can save problems further down the line. Every time they head into a no-go zone, don’t spray them with water or shout, just simply move them into an area they are allowed in. They’ll soon learn.

Helping a rescue cat to feel at home can be time-consuming, but they’ll get there eventually – perseverance is key.

Melanie Kampman

Melanie Kampman is a web designer, developer and owner of Giveaway Bandit and Farm News for Kids. She lives in Northwest Missouri on a large family farm with her husband and eight year old son, the Giveaway Bandit. They raise cattle with a variety of pets including horses, chickens, ducks, and a slew of cats. By Melanie Kampman If you are interested in writing a sponsored post on Giveaway Bandit please email me at melanie (at) giveawaybandit (dot) com.

2 Comments
  1. Too many pets who are adopted from shelters and rescues end up being returned. Not because they are “bad”, but because members of their new family just don’t understand what’s involved in bringing a four-legged family member into the home. Too many expect the pet to be totally housebroken, when in fact, even pets that ARE housebroken before being adopted, can have accidents. They are frightened and stressed, or the new family just doesn’t know how to read their signals. I just want to scream when a dog or cat is returned after just one or two days. NO animal is going to totally adjust in that short of a time. Would you return a newborn baby to the hospital just because he or she cries all night? Throws up on you? Gets into something? No, but people will do that with pets. Sometimes even pets they’ve had for years and years. When a dog or cat gets old, they can start having issues holding their bladders. They can get picky about food. They can have trouble walking. The number of senior pets being dumped at kill shelters is staggering. I have both a kitten (almost 10 months old, but I found her when she was just two weeks and I had to bottle feed her at first, meaning getting up every couple of hours for feedings – just like a human baby). I also have a senior cat who has been having medical issues, including peeing where she shouldn’t. I have a supply of piddle pads, which I cut to fit the top section of the cat tower, since that is where she spends most of her time. I even secured a small litter box on the next level down, since she had started peeing on that level – just one the tree. I will have my furbabies with me as long as they are happy, healthy, and have a good quality of life. I will mop up their pee and clean up their other messes. I will buy every brand of food for them until I find what they’ll eat. They are my babies, and I just wish more people saw them as part of their family and not just a “thing” to be discarded when they get tired of them or the pet makes their owners have to actually do something other than dropping a cup of kibble into a bowl and keeping a water dish filled.

  2. I have a rescue cat. He is almost 10 yrs. old. It took him longer than most to get him adjusted, but then he was fine until 2 mo. ago. Now, he hides over half the day straight inside of the futon. I can’t coax him out no matter what I do. He’s always been a scaredy-cat, but this is ridiculous.

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