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cat and owner

Caring for your new cat in the first few weeks

What you will need

  1. A large, sturdy cat carrier – ideally one that allows the top half to be removed
  2. Washable bedding or cat ‘igloo’ bed, great for hiding, cosy snoozing
  3. Food that provides a ‘complete’ diet and is appropriate for your cat (we recommend James Wellbeloved biscuits)
  4. Food and water bowls (ceramic or stainless steel with a wide diameter)
  5. Litter trays – there should be one tray per cat plus one extra. It is important to select the correct size and height for the cat
  6. Cat litter (dependent on cat’s preference) – we sell wood pellet cat litter at the rescue centre
  7. Large scratching post or board (one per cat)
  8. Toys to keep your cat occupied
  9. Grooming brushes (essential for medium or long-haired breeds)
  10. Feliway® Classic Diffuser. Whilst not essential, they may reduce stress if installed in their settling-in room (ideally 24 hours before they arrive). Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Top tips for settling your new cat in their new home

  1. Settle your cat in one room for the first couple of days
  2. Keep them indoors for at least three weeks. Kittens should be at least 6 months old before going outdoors
  3. Remember, safe ‘hidey holes’ are the key to a happy cat
  4. Ensure they have a large litter tray positioned in a quiet and private area of your home, away from food and water bowls
  5. Give your cat an environment that is as calm and predictable as possible
  6. Introduce new things and family members gradually
  7. When interacting with your cat, remember, let the cat tell you how much interaction they want
  8. Keep your cat entertained using toys and play with you.

What to expect in the first few weeks

When you bring your new cat home they may not behave like their usual selves. Change is a daunting experience for many cats and every individual reacts   differently when introduced to a new home. Some cats are confident and adapt quickly to their new surroundings, others may be fearful and hide. This is not unusual and should not cause undue  concern. Your cat may also be uninterested in their food or water and experience toileting issues.

It is important to understand that all these behaviours are common in the first few weeks so do not panic!

If you are concerned that your cat is not settling in, you are welcome to speak to a member of the cattery team.

Understanding your  cat

Some cats will love to spend hours on your lap being stroked, while others prefer only the briefest of chin tickles before they’re off. What’s important is to respect your cat’s preferences to encourage a long-lasting bond.

While many friendly cats will greatly benefit from interacting with people, some may become over-stimulated during petting, or find some forms of touch unpleasant or overwhelming. This can lead to your cat behaving aggressively (e.g. swiping or biting) to get you to stop.


Your cat should ideally be the one who initiates contact: always let them make the first move. Gently offer your hand to your cat and see if they choose to rub against it. If they don’t rub against you, they might not want to be touched.

Your cat should always be able to easily move away from you during interactions, and should not be restrained or picked up as this can be stressful and might cause aggressive behaviour. Many cats do not enjoy being picked up as it makes them feel less in control.