You’ve made it. Home at last. Be passive, calm, quiet and confident. Allow everything to happen in kitty’s own sweet time. Place the carrier in kitty’s temporary room. Close the door. Slowly open the carrier and let kitty come out without assistance. This can take time and it may be best to leave kitty alone for a while to settle. Don’t force unwanted attention or interfere. Let the cat explore in its own time. It could vanish straight under a bed or leap on top of an armoire; fine. Leave it, keep calm; kitty will reappear when it’s ready.
Cats react differently to change and this is a big one. The cat’s history may or may not be known. Think about kitty’s background. Bearing that in mind, what would make the transition easier? The process may take a few hours or several weeks depending on the cat, its background and you. There are cats that will immediately want to join the household and explore the entire home. It is best to expect the timid; be suitably surprised if you get the bold and laid back.
A cat will find what it needs by itself. Ignore the temptation to put kitty in the litter box. A clump of litter from kitty’s shelter litter box placed in the new litter may help reinforce “This is the place”. Should there be a litter box problem don’t despair there are solutions; it maybe as simple as kitty being unable to get to or into the litter box. Kitty will find its food but may choose its own sleeping arrangements.
Visit kitty regularly, spend time quietly sitting in the room, allow kitty to come to you, be relaxed and gently stroke it when the opportunity is offered. Allow kitty to get used to you and your scent.
Once the cat is comfortable and feels secure with you, open the door just enough for it to go in and out. Let kitty explore the rest of the home in its own time. Cats are nocturnal and tend to explore more at night. You may not even see the process and assume kitty has spent the last three weeks camped under the bed. Now kitty can pace its introductions to other members of the household. Try limiting to one person at a time. Supervise children and ensure they know and practice cat etiquette before being left alone with kitty.
Now kitty is familiar with its new domain and family and is wandering contentedly around the home, gradually move the litter box and food bowls to their permanent locations. They will be found without assistance. Kitty is well on the way to making you and your home its very own.