You have contacted a breeder, selected your Bengal cat or Bengal kitten, and now await the adoption day when you will bring home your new furry family member, hooray! But are you ready to introduce your new pet to their new home?
Cats do not adjust to new environments quickly. The trip from the breeder to your home alone can be very stressful for your Bengal cat. It is important to prepare your home ahead of time and introduce your Bengal cat to their new home in phases so everyone has a good transition. Here’s how.
Pick a Room
Pick one room in your home to introduce your Bengal cat to first. Introducing your cat to the entire home at once can be overwhelming and extra traumatizing for your cat because the home is full of unfamiliar territory, who knows what dangers could be lurking around the next corner? If you kitten is small, it is also really easy to lose your pet right away if giving it free range of the entire house. Pick a room that is quiet and does not receive as much traffic for your cat to become familiar with first. Keep your cat in this room for a couple weeks. Once it has become comfortable with the room and your family, you can begin allowing it into other areas of your home.
Prepare the Room
Preparation of the first room your cat enters is vital to having a quick and smooth transition for your new Bengal cat. There are a few key things you need to have in place before bringing your cat home.
1. Food and Water
Have fresh food, wet and dry, and water available for your new pet. Animals only eat when they feel safe. Having food available helps your cat know that your home is a safe space where they will be provided for.
2. A Clean Litter box
Provide a fresh litter box un-used and full of clean litter. When you release your Bengal cat from the crate your brought it home in, release it right next to the litter box so right away your cat knows where the bathroom is. This helps prevent any accidents.
3. Places to Hide
When your cat enters your home it doesn’t what is going or who could be here to attack them. Providing spaces where your cat can hide and feel secure helps reduce your Bengal cat’s anxiety. Some ways you can create places to hide are:
- Pull furniture away from walls so cats can hide behind it
- Adjust storage under beds so cats can hide under the bed
- Provide cat trees or domed cat houses for cats to climb and hide in
- Adjust boxes or other furniture to create a kitten “fort”
4. Places to Sleep
Traveling to a new place will tire your cat out. Provide many comfortable safe places for your cat to take a nap.
5. A Scratching Post
Start good scratching habits right away be providing a place your cat is supposed to scratch.
6. Cat Toys!
Once your cat settles down, toys for them to play with and for you to play with them are a great way to start building a relationship with your new pet. Since you don’t know what toys your new Bengal cat likes, provide a few different kinds for the two of you to explore together.
7. Something Old
If you can, bring a blanket, toy, or bed from the breeder full of smells your cat is already familiar with. Having this security item can help you cat feel safer on the trip home and while adjusting to a new environment.
Let Your Cat Enter on Their Own Terms
Once you have picked and prepared the room, bring your new furry family member home in a cat carrier and take the carrier straight to the prepared room. Set the carrier down in the room and just let the cat rest in the carrier in the room for 5 to 10 minutes. This will let your new furry family member relax from the trip and get accustomed to the sounds and smells of your new home.
After 5 or 10 minutes. Open the doors to the carrier and have any family members sit on the floor in the room and watch. Do not try to interact with your new Bengal cat at this point. Just let them enter their new home when they are ready. Watch your new cat as the exit the carrier and explore the room.
Let your Bengal cat enter their new home when they are ready.
It is perfectly normal for your cat to rush out of the carrier and immediately hide. Entering a new environment where your pet does not know what to expect is a very scary experience for them. They may hide for several days before becoming comfortable enough to come out and play. You should watch you pet to see if they eat food, drink water, or use the litter box. If you Bengal cat does not do these things in the first 24 hours, show them where the food, water, and litter box are to encourage them to eat and go to the bathroom.
After 24 hours of hiding, if your cat has not ventured out and tried to play, try using the toys to encourage them to play and start building a relationship with you Bengal.
If your cat displays any abnormal behavior or does not eat or drink within 48 hours, call the breeder or your vet to determine what to do.
Here is a great video on introducing your cat to a new home by the Humane Society of Huron Valley.
How to Introduce Your Cat to a New Home