Bringing a new, four-legged family member home is a tremendous joy but also a significant challenge. Feeling the typical “newbie stress”? Perfectly normal, fabCat, even if it’s not your first cat! In theory, everything seems beautiful and easy: provide the cat with meals, a clean litter box, accessories, a place to sleep, and care. What could go wrong? Well, practice doesn’t always follow theory, and cats, being cats, like to play tricks 🙂 So today, fabCat, we have a short guide for you on how to overcome the newbie stress and become a fabCat Guardian extraordinaire. But before we dive in, a quick message for you: you’ve got this!
Tiny cat, big personality. Welcome the kitten to their new home
Introducing a cat to your home is a significant change, so it’s normal to feel somewhat overwhelmed. This small, fluffy creature now relies entirely on you for food, play, companionship, health, and daily hygiene. With a cat at home, your daily routine will change, your responsibilities will shift, your view of the living space will transform (quickly taken over by beds, scratching posts, litter boxes, and toys), and even your approach to short and long trips outside the home might be different. Contrary to appearances, cats are not loners that can live alone in the house, being fed only once or twice a day. Cats need companionship and the presence of their Guardian. This helps them feel safe at home.
A kitten in a new home and newbie stress. How to prepare for a new, fluffy family member?
The decision has been made: this year, a four-legged, purring friend joins your family. Congratulations, fabCat! But before you welcome the young kitten into your home, your mind is undoubtedly filled with many questions: from the seemingly obvious ones to slightly more challenging ones that may require expert support. These questions, uncertainties, and excitement mixed with uncertainty are precisely what newbie stress is! How do you deal with it?
First, take a deep breath and realize that this will pass – as soon as you and the cat start to understand each other’s habits, needs, and lifestyle, stress will quickly turn into excitement and the building of a beautiful friendship. In the first days of life with a cat, focus primarily on the basics:
- Create a base for the cat – this is especially important if your apartment is larger, and the little kitten may feel lost in it. It’s worth limiting the space available to the cat to 1-2 rooms where all the essential cat resources will be located. This way, the cat doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the territory they have to supervise. You can gradually expand the base when the cat feels ready to explore.
- Spend as much time with the cat during the adaptation period without forcing yourself on them – let the cat come to you, get to know your scent, and get used to your presence. Remember to play, as it’s one of the best ways to strengthen the cat-human relationship.
- Prepare a kitten starter kit. To start things off, you don’t need much – food and water bowls, a litter box with litter, scratching posts for the cat to stretch and mark its territory, a comfortable bed, and a few toys. Over time, as you expand the cat’s space throughout the apartment, you can add more gadgets. After a few days of getting to know the cat, it will be easier for you to choose the items it will actually use – without blind purchases 🙂
Read more about building a cat starter kit on our blog: https://blog.mykotty.pl/en/2019/10/22/kitty-starter-kit-a-checklist/
- Find a veterinarian nearby. It’s worth asking friends about vet clinics they are satisfied with – a small recommendation from someone close can make you feel more confident when entering the veterinary office with a young kitten for the first time.
PS It’s a good idea to schedule a visit as soon as the kitten gets acclimated at home, even if nothing is wrong – this way, from an early age, you familiarize the cat with the idea that a trip to the vet is nothing to be afraid of.
Building a routine – how to live with a cat in harmony?
If cats used planners, their calendars would be filled with TO-DO lists and a daily schedule down to the minute. They’re truly organized and routine-based creatures! When you welcome a cat (or a dog or another pet) into your home, you must be ready for some changes in your routine to adapt your lifestyle to the needs of the new family member. You don’t have to set an alarm on your watch to remind you to feed the cat or clean the litter box, but if you’re afraid of missing something, feel free to use such help. Over time, it will come naturally to you, and the cat, accustomed to specific meal times, will effectively remind you of them.
Newbie stress is often associated with the fact that we spend a significant part of the day away from home. But someone has to earn money for food and litter! Therefore, from the beginning, start getting the cat used to the fact that you don’t spend the whole day at home – you can initially organize longer trips to the store or the city, leaving a camera at home and having a constant view of what the furball is doing. This way, you’ll also avoid situations where the cat becomes so attached to your constant presence at home that it experiences separation anxiety when its human disappears for a few hours.
Give yourself (and the cat) time to adapt.
Building a bond with a cat takes time – just like forming new friendships with another person. So don’t stress if your new kitten doesn’t jump on your lap on the first day, doesn’t sleep with you in bed, or maintains a safe distance when you approach. Allow yourself some distance while showing the cat that nothing threatens them from your side. Play, spend time together, entice the cat with treats, respect their private space, and don’t force them into anything. Cats truly appreciate that.
Introducing a cat to your home is also a real lesson in patience. Newbie stress will affect both you and the cat! It may take you not days, not weeks, but even several months to fully adapt to living together. So don’t feel like you have to do everything purrfectly from the first day – you have plenty of time to become the most fabCat Guardian for your cat. Making mistakes is also normal, and there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you learn from them and make better decisions in the future.
A new cat at home – where to seek support?
Lastly, a quick reminder, fabCat: it never hurts to ask questions. So don’t hesitate to consult your worries and doubts with cat-loving friends, a veterinarian, a behaviorist, or the fabCat community on the internet. Everyone will be happy to help and dispel your doubts, whether based on their professional knowledge or simply life experience with cats. Online, including on the myKotty blog, you’ll find a ton of articles and content that will easily prepare you to welcome a cat into your home.
So, fabCat, newbie stress conquered? Share your ways of feeling more confident in taking care of your furballs. We’re waiting for your ideas!