You've just taken home your new cat, stocked up on cat food, and changed the kitty liter. What's next? Your cat may be a little disorientated going to a new home. By understanding your cat's behaviors, you can help him or her settle in and get adjusted.
Cats are territorial animals. Once you take him home, he's going to want to establish his boundaries. It's important for him to know the range of his home base, which centers around his food source, and those routes that lead to his meal.
Your cat will mark his territory by scratching, spraying, leaving urine or feces deposits, and rubbing. If you keep your liter box in an accessible place, you shouldn't have to worry about him using urine or feces to mark his territory around the house. However, when he gets old enough, he might spray the walls. The best way to help you deal with this problem is to get him neutered as soon as he's old enough to spray.
One thing to take note of: if you have guests staying overnight and your cat feels like they are invading his territory, he might urinate on their property or in their room. Try to keep him away from it until they leave.
Cats like to talk. They have a speech all their own. The most familiar sound a cat makes is "meow." Young cats use it to help their mother find them or signal that they're cold. In older cats, they want to get your attention, i.e., they might be hungry.
Cats also hiss. A hiss usually means the cat is angry, or frightened. As the cat feels more threatened the hiss can become a yowl or a scream.
A yodel that sounds sad or a bit spooky by a female cat usually means that she's in heat. The male replies by caterwauling. This lets the female know he's available and the sound warns off other males.
A purring sound usually signals your cat is content and happy.
Other things to watch for in your cat are his ears, eyes, and tail. A curious or friendly cat will have the ears forward and erect. Wide eyes will usually indicate if the cat is happy or scared. Looking at your cat's posture will help you determine his mood along with their wide eyes. A relaxed cat eyes will be open, but not wide. Also, dilated pupils may indicate fear or aggression.
An erect tail usually indicates a friendly greeting. A lashing tail demonstrates excitement, a bristled tail is a sign of fear, and a gently swaying tail that moves back and forth is a sign your cat is happy.
By understanding your new cat's verbal and non-verbal clues, you'll help him feel welcomed and loved.