Profile Image
Pet Insurance
09 Nov 2020

What to know when you bring home your new cat

Becoming a carer to a new fur baby is such a beautiful and exciting time. Getting to know your new family member can also be intensive, challenging, demanding and chaotic. They can’t straight out tell us their needs. 

This may be a common time for pet carers to seek Vet help, so here are some tips from VetAssist to make the settling in as seamless as possible:

1. A safe place to sleep

Before night one, have a think about where your cat will sleep. Ideally, they need a secure, quiet, draft-free place that feels safe. This is a place they can retreat to whenever they are wanting to be alone as well. Having them safely contained in an area means they are not wandering around at night. These areas need to have perches and room for a litter box, as well as space for your kitty to feel comfortable.

It’s also worth noting that kittens sleep a lot! They need their sleep for growth and brain development, just like we do. It’s crucial that kittens and cats are not disturbed when they are sleeping.

2. The daily essentials

These include separate food and water bowls, a litter box (that dogs and children can’t access) and a scratching post (close to the feed and sleeping area). Find out what feed your cat has been on prior to coming home, and keep them on this for the first few days and then very slowly over a week transition them to your preferred food.

Water needs to be fresh daily, some cats prefer running water and may do well with water fountains. When it comes to the litter box, initially also use the same substrate as your cat was using prior.

3. Fun, sensible play

Play is important for kittens as a part of daily life, it’s a great opportunity for training as well. It’s important not to accept being scratched or bitten during play - if this starts to happen, stop the play immediately and use the word “NO” firmly at the same time. Allow them to perform hunting behaviour with their toys - never your hands or legs.

Your kitten needs to have lots of activities to do during the day, especially if you’re out. This might include food searches (either with food dispensing toys or bowls with bits of food in them scattered various locations), climbing towers and vertical space; even a large stuffed toy to cuddle.

4. Help settling in

It can take a number of days for a kitten to settle in, even weeks for an adult cat. Their first contact with you needs to be gentle and initiated by them, so let your kitten make the first move.

Introduce them gradually to your home and any new playmates, if you already have pets. Start by letting them into a small area of the house first. Then, as their confidence in their new life grows, expand into bigger areas. Before you know it, they’ll have the whole place covered!

Written by Dr Claire Jenkins. Claire is a QLD graduate with over 15 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of VetChat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.

vet assist icon

Get access to VetAssist free with every new pet policy

With VetAssist you can have a video call or online chat consultation with a licensed Australian Vet. It's perfect for those times when you're unsure if a trip to the Vet is required and you need some advice.

Related articles

Offer available to new Everyday Pet Insurance policyholders, and is limited to 1 membership per eligible policy. The free membership offer (valued at $199p.a) is from the date of your policy commencement, provided your Everyday Pet Insurance policy remains active. You are not eligible to redeem the free membership subscription for cash or credit. VetAssist is a separate subscription based service to the Everyday Pet Insurance product, and is provided independently by Woolworth’s third party service provider, VetChat Services Pty Ltd (VetChat). Click here for full VetAssist Service terms and conditions. Woolworths reserves the right to withdraw or extend this offer at anytime, without notice.

Everyday Pet Insurance policies entered into for the first time prior to 17 July 2023 and subsequent renewals of those policies are issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473, AFSL 241436 (Hollard), arranged and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 95 075 949 923, AFSL 420183 (PetSure) and promoted and distributed by Hollard’s Authorised Representative (AR) Woolworths Group Limited ABN 88 000 014 675, AR 245476 (Woolworths). Everyday Pet Insurance policies entered into for the first time on or after 17 July 2023 and subsequent renewals of those policies are issued by PetSure and promoted and distributed by PetSure’s AR, Woolworths. Any advice provided is general only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to ensure this product meets your needs before purchasing, or choosing to continue with the product. PDS and Target Market Determination available at