Ask the Vet

Ask the Vet: Bringing Home a New Cat

Are you fed up with a feline that stopped using the litter box? Concerned for a cat who’s sleeping a lot? Or, not sure if what your kitty does is normal? These are all questions you should ask a veterinarian. The Catington Post is thrilled to announce an exciting new partnership with veterinarian, Dr. Liz Bales, to answer your kitty questions about health, wellness, and behavior!

Please give Dr. Bales your warmest welcome to The Catington Post, then go LIKE her on Facebook by clicking here. If you’ve got a question about YOUR cat, leave it as a comment below and Dr. Bales just might answer your question next!

ThinkstockPhotos-472212511Dear Dr. Bales,
I just got a beautiful gray female cat out of rescue I would like to know what’s the best way for her to get used to her new home?

Congratulations on your new family member. This is a very exciting time. As exciting as it is, it can be a little overwhelming for a cat to adjust to a new environment.

The most important thing to know is that slow and steady is best. Cats like to become familiar with their environment gradually. When you bring your cat home, confine her to one room. Make sure that doors close well and that your windows and screens are secure to prevent an escape while she is getting used to her new home.

I know you will want to spend lots of time with your new cat. This is a special time for the two of you to bond. But, be slow and steady with your affection as you two are getting to know each other. You should also use fun toys, like fishing pole toys or lasers, to have active play time together.

Now that you’ve chosen your new cat’s bedroom, you can “decorate” to give her all that she needs in her indoor environment to be happy. Cats like to climb and hide, so outfitting her room with a cat tree, scratching post and plenty of safe sleeping spots will add to her feeling of safety and security.

It’s worth taking a minute to address the necessities. If possible, two litter boxes that are placed in separate locations are best. Cats prefer their toilet in a separate location than their food and water. This is a lot to ask of one room, but if you get cleaver, you can usually make it work. For instance, you could put the food and water on different parts of the cat tree.

For some extra good feelings, you could use happy cat pheromones to enhance your kitty’s contentment. Cats use chemical messengers, called pheromones, to communicate. You can buy happy cat pheromones (Feliway) to use in the chosen room.

Once she is settled in, you can gradually increase her access to the rest of your house, using the same techniques.

I wish you and your new feline friend a lifetime of happiness together. With these tips, you will be off to a good start.

Thanks for a great question!  For more cat health and wellness information, check out my website at

FullSizeRenderDr. Liz Bales, The Catvocate, is a practicing veterinarian with 15 years of experience. Dr. Bales has a strong interest in feline wellness and behavior. She believes that by understanding the natural state of the cat we can create an indoor environment where cats  thrive and our bond with them grows.

Dr. Bales is interested in your questions and concerns about your cat!  Leave your question in a comment below!

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