Skip to main content

Jun 06 2024

A New Beginning: Helping Your Shelter Cat Acclimate and Reduce Stress

image for A New Beginning: Helping Your Shelter Cat Acclimate and Reduce Stress

Hello, human friends! Did you know June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month? My name is Whiskers, and I want to share my story of adoption from a shelter to a loving home. Let me walk you through what it’s like for a cat to find a forever home, how we acclimate, and most importantly, how you can help reduce our stress during this transition.

My Life at the Shelter

My life at the shelter wasn’t bad, but it could be a bit overwhelming. There were lots of other cats, different smells, and strange sounds. We got food, water, and care, but what we really dreamed of was a cozy home with our own special humans.

The Big Day: Adoption

When my person came to the shelter and decided to adopt me, it was the start of a magical new chapter for both of us. I was a bit shy or scared at first because everything was new and different, but with my human’s patience and love, I soon felt at home.

Acclimating to My New Home

A Safe Space: When I first arrived, I wanted to hide. It wasn’t because I didn’t like my person or my new home; it’s just how I needed to process all the changes. My human created a small, quiet space for me with a bed, litter box, food, and water in a spare room. It helped me feel safe and gave me time to adjust.

A Calm Environment: My human noticed loud noises and sudden movements were scary for me, so they kept the noise and activity levels low, initially. I was soothed by sounds of soft music or white noise that helped mask unfamiliar sounds.

Hiding Spots: Cats love to hide, especially when we’re feeling stressed. My human had lots of hiding spots around my new home, like cardboard boxes, cat tunnels, or cozy blankets. This gave me a sense of security and control over my environment.

Slow introductions: Along with a human, I also got adopted by another cat. We were introduced slowly. We were given time to check out each other’s smells on our bedding, without seeing each other, then gradually allowed supervised meetings. Luckily my new “brother” Charlie welcomed me and was very easygoing. Patience is key to building positive relationships.

Consistent Routine: Cats thrive on routine, like getting fed at the same times every day, and having consistent playtimes. This predictability helped reduce my stress and made me feel more secure in my new home.

Calming Products: There are many products designed to reduce stress, like Feliway®, which mimics cat pheromones and can help me feel more relaxed. There are also calming collars and treats that can make the transition smoother.

Interactive Playtime: Interactive play helped me bond with my human and reduced my stress. Toys like feather wands, laser pointers, and puzzle feeders are my favorite toys and provide me with mental stimulation.

Gentle and Positive Interactions: My human spent a lot of time with me just softly talking and offering some snuggles and gentle pets. These positive, non-demanding interactions helped me trust my human and made me more comfortable. Remember, every cat is different, so go at their pace.

Observe and Adjust: Watch for signs of stress like excessive hiding, grooming, or changes in appetite. If I seemed particularly anxious, my human would give me more time and space to adjust. When they adjusted their approach based on my needs, it helped me feel more at ease.

The Importance of a Vet Visit

One of the first things my humans did after bringing me home was to schedule a vet visit. This set the foundation for my ongoing care. My vet did a few things:

  • Conducted a Health Check-Up: Performed a physical examination and addressed any immediate concerns (I was a little chubby, so the vet talked to my human about ways to manage my weight).
  • Discussed Vaccinations and Preventive Care: These protect me from common diseases and parasites.
  • Reviewed Spaying/Neutering: This was already done for me, to help prevent health and behavior issues.
  • Microchipped: I got a microchip, and it wasn’t bad! It means I’m permanently identified as my human’s boy, and it increases the chances of us being reunited if I ever get lost.

Our Journey Together

Adopting a shelter cat like me is the beginning of a wonderful adventure. I promise a shelter cat will bring joy, love, and a touch of feline mystery into your life. With your care, they’ll thrive and show you endless affection in return.

Remember, patience and love are the keys to helping a shelter cat adjust. Soon, they’ll be snuggling on your lap, playing with their favorite toys, and happily exploring their new home. Thank you for giving a shelter cat a second chance and for making Adopt a Shelter Cat Month a celebration of new beginnings and lifelong friendships.

Purrs and headbutts,


LifeLearn News

Note: This article, written by LifeLearn Animal Health (LifeLearn Inc.) is licensed to this practice for the personal use of our clients. Any copying, printing or further distribution is prohibited without the express written permission of Lifelearn. Please note that the news information presented here is NOT a substitute for a proper consultation and/or clinical examination of your pet by a veterinarian.