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How Long Until a Cat Gets Used to You

Having a new cat might be challenging to most people. In my case, I have realized that cats are inherently territorial creatures and can be stressed when I transition them from the home they were acclimatized to into a new one.

That is because of lack of familiarity, smells abound, and new sights, meaning there are several things my cat will need to explore and weary of. Despite that, making my cat feel comfortable is part of my task as their caregiver.

Therefore, the sooner I help my cat become happy, the sooner they will become a more loved critical part of my family.

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How long does it take for a cat to get used to you?

Generally, for a healthy and happy cat, it should not take longer than a week or two weeks to get comfortable with me. In this case, I will need to encourage the cat to adjust to me easily, but they should easily feel comfortable.

However, if my new cat is traumatized, it can take several months before they start to trust me.  However, if the cat has not managed to trust me after one month, I might need to seek the services of a professional ethologist to advise me on what I can do so that I can get become comfortable.

Variables which will determine how long the cat will get used to a new home

Age: If I have a kitten, they will be learning to adjust to their new home and the world. However, a kitten can easily get used to me because they are gaining experience.

On the contrary, an older cat can be disoriented and struggle to acclimatize because they were acclimatized to their previous territory.

Socialization: If my cat was poorly socialized, exposing them to a major disruption such as moving to a new home will imply that they will take time to get used to me.

Trauma: If the cat had suffered trauma in the past, exposing them to plenty of changes might be disruptive to them. That means they might take an extended period to get used to me.

Environment: If the cat could previously access outdoors, but I no longer expose them to the outside environment, they can become unhappy. Other environmental issues, including amenities and noise, can affect the comfortability of the cat.

Family: If there are other pets or new family members, the cat can take several months to adjust. However, most cats can take up to eight months to get used to others.

How to make a cat feel comfortable in a new home

Always ensure the cat has food and water

To earn trust from my cat, I should always have water and food. Although it might seem obvious, I should remember that my cat has essential needs which I should strive to meet.

If I fail to satisfy them, it will indicate that I am not a good master. Therefore, I should feed my cat gradually to understand that I am the one who will offer them food.

Most importantly, I should know that I offer the wet cat food at least once a week, and they will be grateful. While I offer food to my cat, I should say their name softly so that they can associate my voice with a pleasant and positive situation.

However, when the cat moves closer to eat the food, I should step aside to offer them privacy and space.

Offer comfortable cat beddings

Offering my cat a cozy place to sleep can assist in making them feel comfortable in a new home.  In particular, the cat might wish to sleep in a slightly raised place for them to monitor their new room easily. Have beddings that my cat is already used to, I should use them to offer extra comfort.

Provide scratching posts

In most cases, cats scratch objects to remove worn-out hair. Therefore, offering a post where the cat can scratch itself can save my furniture from damage. However, my cat will need some encouragement to use the post. I can do that by placing a small toy on the post to attract the cat’s attention.

Pay attention and respecting body language.

How can establish trust is by showing my cat that I respect their need for time and space. While doing that, I should let my cat set the pace for interactions.

The cat’s body language will give me a clue regarding how they are feeling. By respecting and understanding body signals will help the cat to view me as a trustworthy person. I should give space to my cat if they exhibit the following anxiety and fear signs.

  • Growling, spitting, and hissing behavior
  • Arched back tail, which is flicking back and forth
  • Hair standing up
  • Ears that lay flat against the head.

Trying to touch a cat displaying such warning signs can make them distrust me. I can also experience serious injuries if the cat strikes.

In contrast, a cat that exhibits the following signs will be happy and relaxed:

  • Rubbing against me
  • Exposed stomach
  • Erect tail
  • Forward or upright ears

In case my cat appears stressed, I should relax them to earn their trust. I should be the one to assist my cats in coping with the new environment and restoring their emotional state. One way I can help my cat relax and gain my trust is by familiarizing them with my scent.

That will be useful in assisting my cat in recognizing me when I start to share my physical contact. For instance, I can allow my cat to sleep on a piece of clothing that I do not often wear so that they can become familiar with my scent.

Using my voice

While I might succeed with my puppy by using an excited and high-pitched voice, an adult cat might not receive it well. Instead, I should try to speak in a quiet and gentle tone to assist my cat in getting used to my presence.

Most importantly, I should know that my cat will easily become comfortable with a soothing and calm voice. Also, if I have children, I should assist them in understanding that concept once they meet the new adult cat.

Let the cat set the pace

If I wish to get my cat to become comfortable, it is critical to allow them to control when and how they want to get closer and interact with me. Therefore, I should not pull my cat out of a hiding place or hasten the trust-building process.

Even if the catwalks out from the hiding place, I should not attempt to hold them. The cat is supposed to know that they have control in deciding on how close they wish to get to me and have the freedom to retreat at any time they wish.

Allowing the cat to set place while demonstrating to them that they have nothing to be afraid of will realize that I am the best caregiver they have found.

Use interactive play.

Playing is one of the most powerful tools that I can employ to establish trust with my cat, provide I do it appropriately. In particular, I can use a fishing pole-type toy to create distance between the cat and me. That can allow the cat to feel safe while playing in its comfort zone.

 While I move a toy, I should not try to move toward the cat since that would make them react defensively. Instead, I should gently move the toy away or across from the cat’s visual field to spark their motivation to play.

In other words, I should make the movements gentle and easy so that the cat can easily bond with me. Further, I should remember that this will not be the time to request my cat to do a backflip or run around the house.  In this case, my cat might only be comfortable stretching out within a limited distance while remaining at the same place.

However, continuous introductions to a variety of toys can easily make the cat adjust to the new environment.  

When my cat accepts me by bumping its head on my body, I should stroke its ears or chin. That will be a clear sign that cat trusts me. I can gently take care of my cat by avoiding making abrupt or sudden movements.

With time I can touch more parts of the pet while the trust increases. Most importantly, I should set aside some time to play with my pet, especially when I begin to notice signs of mutual respect.

At the same time, when the cat starts to search for me, purrs, and cuddles around my legs, it will be time that I begin to play with them regularly. I should attempt to play with the cat every day to strengthen my bond with the cat because they will expect to have fun with me every day.

Offer hiding places

The ability to find a hiding place is one of the valuable coping mechanisms for a cat. I should not have a negative attitude that my new cat wishes to hide.

When the cat hides, they will manage to calm down and begin to evaluate their surroundings. In this case, I can encourage my cat to investigate more of their territory by offering more hiding options throughout my home.

I can create hiding places by offering tunnels, paper bags, open boxes, cave-style cat beds, or adopt any other creative ideas that I can think of.

Offer the right environment.

I might have a large magnificent home, and I might want my new cat to see the kind of space they will have. However, during the first few weeks, the wider environment can be overwhelming to my new cat.

I should know that the cat requires a limited amount of space to get comfortable with me easily. While considering that, I should consider the sound and lighting of the cat room.

I should make sure that I do not play loud music or talk loudly and lower the lights so that the cat does not feel exposed.

Further, I should place a clean litter box in the room of my cat. However, I should play the tray a few inches from the water and food bowl and in an area where it cannot disturb my cat.