First, make an appointment with your veterinarian to have your new pet examined. If possible, schedule the appointment so you can take your cat to the veterinarian immediately after picking him up.
Make sure you have a sturdy travel kennel for him to ride home in. When cats are nervous, they may feel more secure in an enclosed space such as a crate. Plus, an unrestrained cat can be a driving hazard, especially if he climbs down by the pedals, or jumps onto your shoulder. Having your cat in a carrier can also be helpful in case he vomits, urinates or defecates, which some cats will do if they are nervous.
Make Him Feel At Home
Make a Quiet Place for Him
Introducing Him to Your Home and Family Members
When you bring your cat home, place him in the room you have fixed up for him, keep this room closed off, and let him explore that area first. Let the cat come out of his crate on his own; do not try to coax him or tip the crate to force him out. Cats are curious and most will soon come out to explore their surroundings. If the cat seems very timid, you can leave the room for a while and check back later. If you really want to stay in the room, get a book and read. When the cat is ready to come out, stay where you are and let him come to you. Talk in a soft, reassuring tone, pet him if he seems interested, but do not try to pick him up. Leave the open carrier in the room so that he has a safe retreat if he wants one. Give him time to learn that he can trust you.
Introduce other family members slowly. Have them come into the room one at a time to pet and play with the cat. Have younger children sit down, then show them how to gently stroke the cat's fur and offer him a few treats. Make certain that children understand that they are not to chase the cat, hurt him or bother him while he eats, sleeps, or uses the litter box. If there are no other pets, you can let the cat begin to explore the rest of the house in a few days.
Knowing your cat's history, taking care to pick a cat likely to fit in well with your household, and taking the time to gradually introduce the newcomer, will greatly increase the chances of your new cat becoming a happy, permanent member of your family.
For more information, including information on vaccines, see our Kitten Center.