Bringing home a new cat or kitten is a terribly exciting time. Having a new pet in the house is fun, and getting better acquainted with your new friend is more than half the enjoyment. But you may find that your new friend needs some help and patience in making the adjustment to his new home.

When you first bring your new cat home, give him some time to explore at his own pace. He may feel the need to hide in a safe location for a bit and keep an eye on things before he comes out and starts to socialize much with you, so be sure to give him a safe place. My cats always seemed to prefer hiding under the bed, but it is a good idea to provide a variety of different locations where your new cat can seek some privacy. If he does decide to hide on arrival to your home, be patient and give him time to adjust and begin to feel more comfortable. In time, he will come out and start to investigate his surroundings.

Feliway is a pheromone that can be quite effective in helping a cat adjust to a new environment. The product can be readily purchased through most pet retailers and is easy to use. The Feliway diffuser simply plugs into an electrical outlet, where it will release the pheromone that your cat can detect but you cannot. It needs no further attention other than changing the plug-in once monthly. I use Feliway in my own home and it definitely helps keep the peace between my six cats.

A good diet is an important requirement for any cat. Choose your cat’s diet wisely, since a good diet can help maintain his health. For cats, I prefer a diet that is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates. I also prefer a diet that is at least partly comprised of wet food. One of the most important things to keep in mind when feeding your cat is to avoid overfeeding. Weight issues are a common problem in our house cats and can lead to numerous health issues that can ultimately shorten your cat’s life.

Grooming is another process that will need to become a regular part of your routine with your new cat. Regular brushing and combing can help keep your cat’s hair shiny and free of mats and his skin healthy. I particularly like a deshedding tool called the Furminator, and my cats love being brushed with it.

In addition to brushing the hair, you’ll need to clip your cat’s toenails regularly and clean his ears as necessary. Oral care is also essential and brushing your cat’s teeth is the best way to keep your cat’s mouth healthy. However, if you can’t brush your cat’s teeth, other products such as Greenies can help keep your cat’s teeth and mouth healthy.

Dr. Lorie Huston

Image: Peter Radacsi / via Shutterstock