top of page
Cat Portrait


Congratulations on adopting a new family member! This is an exciting time, and it's important to keep in mind that adopting and bringing a new cat into your home can be frightening and stressful for them.


Do not be discouraged when you get your new cat home and suddenly the friendly and affectionate cat from the shelter is now terrified, stressed, and hissing. Cats thrive from routine and consistency; therefore it is upsetting and scary for them to be plucked from their familiar setting (the shelter) and placed in the unknown (their new home). 

You can expect it will take your cat some time to become accustomed to the new routines and environment. The 3-3-3 Rule helps you gauge the time needed for your cat to fully acclimate to their new home.



Be patient!

  • Initial "detox" period

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • May be scared and unsure of what’s going on

  • May not want to eat or drink

  • May be very nervous and hide


Expanding horizons

  • Getting used to your comings and goings

  • Learning the daily routine

  • Acclimating to other parts of the house

  • Venturing out and exploring areas of the house


Likely settled in

  • Finally completely comfortable in the new home

  • Building trust and true bond

  • Gained a complete sense of security with their new family

  • Set in a routine

We recommend confining your new cat to one room for the first few days (to weeks), depending on how quickly your cat acclimates. 

Having one room, such as a bathroom or bedroom, to get used to at first minimizes stress for your cat, and allows you to monitor how well they are eating, drinking, and using the litter box.


Keeping your cat confined will help them learn their surroundings and get used to their litter box and scratching post, making them more likely to use it!

Your cat may have acclimated enough to have full run of the house or they may just be starting to venture out of their room. 

Providing your cat with scratching posts, litter boxes, and blankets/beds in their own room at first allows you to then place these objects in other areas of the home, giving your cat familiar scents and sights to help them get used to a new place. 

At 3 months, most cats know they are "home". It's a process to get there, but with patience and a sense of humor, you can scale the mountain together and enjoy the journey. Keep in mind that settling into a new environment can be a lengthy endeavor, but well worth the effort!

Copy of Gala2024Sponsors_edited.png
Copy of Gala2024Sponsors (2)_edited.png

What greater gift than the love of a cat.
-Charles Dickens

At the Dubuque Regional Humane Society (DRHS), we are proud to be part of the Hill's Food, Shelter, Love® program. This program provides food for the more than 3,000 animals we care for each year. 

We suggest that you continue feeding your new pet Hill's Science Diet because you will be offering your pet:

  • Vets' #1 choice to feed their own pets;

  • Clinically proven benefits;

  • Superior nutrition with visible results;

  • Precisely balanced nutrition for every lifestage and special need; and

  • Natural ingredients and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

We have provided you with a transition bag for your pet. For more information about Hill's Science Diet, to find your Best Friend Guide, identify the best product for your pet, or find additional coupons worth over $20, please visit their website at  When you choose Hill's Science Diet, you help the DRHS and Hill's Food, Shelter, Love® program continue to care for the lost and abandoned animals in the tri-state area. 

The DRHS would like to thank Hill's Science Diet and Theisen's Home-Farm-Auto for giving us the opportunity to help connect you and your new pet and begin a new life together. If you have any questions, please contact the DRHS at 563-582-6766 or

Science Diet.png
bottom of page