How To Help Your New Rescue Cat Settle In

You want her to feel sooo safe 😍

Cat hiding under a bed

Adopting a rescue cat is honestly one of the most rewarding experiences there is.

But since rescue cats have often been through a lot of change before being adopted, you might be a little concerned about getting her settled into her new home.

So The Dodo spoke with Susan Courtney, a rescue partner with Kitt Crusaders in Los Angeles, who explained the best ways to make your cat feel safe and get adjusted.

What kind of adjustment will a rescue cat need to feel settled?

For the most part, the process for settling in a new rescue cat will be the same as any other cat you bring home, in the sense that she’ll need to gradually get used to the new space.

And just like with any cat, you’ll want to set your rescue cat up in a small room to start.

“Providing a place for the cat to hide makes the transition easier and helps the cat feel safe,” Courtney told The Dodo.

But since some rescue cats can come from difficult backgrounds, it’s more likely on average that they’re going to be a bit scared and skittish and may take some extra time to feel comfortable (though it obviously depends on the individual cat).

“Let the cat explore the room that you set up alone for the first hour or so,” Courtney explained. “Shy or scared cats will need longer.”

How long will settling in a new rescue cat take?

“Usually it takes a cat a few days to a few weeks to become comfortable in the new environment,” Courtney said.

So you have to be willing to wait for your cat to warm up to her new digs.

“Patience and understanding how scary a new home can appear to a cat goes a long way [toward] building trust and a lifelong relationship together,” Courtney explained.

Things you’ll need to get your rescue cat settled

Obviously, there’s a list of products you’ll need to get before bringing your rescue home.

This list should include the necessities, like:

  • Food
  • Bowls
  • A litter box (and litter!)
  • A bed (or blanket)
  • A scratching post
  • Toys

While your new rescue cat is getting settled in her designated room, you’re going to want to keep all of those things in that space with her.

Once she’s ready to explore the rest of the house, you can spread them out wherever you like.

At that point, it’s also important to provide your rescue with a place to escape that’s pretty high up.

“Provide access to a high place where the cat can go to get away from other pets and children, or simply to look outside or lie in the sun,” Courtney said.

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Introducing yourself to your new rescue cat

It’s so important to be patient when settling in your new rescue cat, especially when she's meeting you.

“Sit quietly in the same room, but don’t force the cat to come out,” Courtney explained. “Go at the cat’s pace, not yours.”

If your rescue cat came from a home where she wasn’t treated well, be prepared that your new cat might be extra cautious of you.

As much as you want to snuggle the heck out of your new BFF, patience is so crucial, particularly when it comes to first impressions.

“You only have one chance at first introductions,” Courtney said. “Being patient and going at the cat’s pace helps to reduce stress and doesn’t overwhelm your cat.”

The same goes for introducing your rescue to another pet.

If you take your time and do everything you can to make your rescue cat feel comfortable, it shouldn’t be long before she's all settled in to her new home.

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