First things first—congratulations on your new addition! We've put together some easy to implement steps to help your new cat settle right in.
At the very outset, help your new cat feel as safe as possible by transporting her in a comfortable, secure carrier such as the transformative Sleepypod (sleepypod.com), a cozy pet bed, carrier, pet car seat all in one.
Next, have your cat’s room ready. A little-used guest room or home office makes for a perfect, quiet zone in which your new cat can acclimate. In advance, outfit the room for your new cat. You’ll need food and water dishes—note that many cats prefer their food and water dishes be separated as, in between meals, they prefer not to smell food while drinking—as well as a litter box, which should be placed away from the food and water dishes (cats, like most animals, don’t like to eliminate where they eat and drink) and situated with a view to the door to help her feel safe when doing her business. Some toys, a scratching/climbing post, and a cozy spot to curl up in round out the must-haves.
If you have other pets, keep them separate for now. For the first few days, your cat may hide when you enter the room. That’s okay. Just let her do her thing.
Feed your cat a little bit multiple times a day, allowing for plenty of opportunity for positive interaction—you are the person that makes good things happen! If your new cat doesn’t come out at feeding time, just leave her food out and carry on.
Allow your cat to approach you on her own terms. Perhaps do a bit of reading in your cat’s room, or, better yet, read out loud; it helps your cat get used to your voice. Ignoring her but being in her vicinity allows her to adjust to your presence.
When you’re ready to introduce your other pets, use a baby gate to allow slow, safe integration—that way they can see/smell each other but each have their own space in which to get used to the idea of the other.
If you have another cat, mimic allogrooming, which is the co-grooming bonded cats engage in, by using the same brush on both cats. First brush one cat, then, using the same brush (don’t remove any of the cat hair in it), groom your new cat in order to create a group scent that will facilitate friendship and happy, chill vibes.
Help your new cat relax with a Feliway diffuser or spray (feliway.com). It helps comfort and reassure cats by mimicking the natural feline facial pheromone that happy cats use to mark their territory as safe and familiar.
Most of all, allow your new cat the time and space she needs to feel comfortable approaching you and your family/other pets on her own terms.