How long does it take for a cat to adjust to a new owner? Did you get a cat from a friend, family member, or just a cat that had another owner before? It is normal to wonder how long your new friend will take to bond with you.

A cat may take a few hours to a week to adjust to a new owner, but cats that suddenly lost their owner or were abandoned may take a longer time to adjust. Some cats are shyer than others and may take even a few months before trusting a new owner. Eventually, they all will come around and bond with a new owner.

Let’s go over this in details.

How long does it take for a cat to adjust to a new owner?


Many circumstances in life may require a cat to change owner, not necessarily a new house. And there are other circumstances when a cat needs to change both: home and owner.

If you know something about cats, you also know that cats are a creature of habit, they like routines and feel less stressed if the same people are around them, and if the same schedule is kept.

The other important factor is that cats do get affectionate, and they do love their owners. Not only because of the food. I know many people are ready to swear that cats are selfish and love you only because you feed them. It is not true. Or at least not entirely true.

I have been missing for days, and I left my cat with a friend or parents; they told me that he was meowing not stop looking for me. He was fed, so technically, he should not have cared if he was only after food.

Therefore, we can conclude that cats feel sad and become stressed when they do not have their owners anymore. However, after a period of adjustment, cats can definitively start to trust and love a new person.

Cats have different personalities, and each cat may have been affected differently by the loss of his owner and the change of environment. The most important thing is to give cats time to adjust and feel the new owner’s love.


Now that we know how cats can be affected by losing their owner, we can conclude: how long does it take for a cat to adjust to a new owner?

A cat that is open to relationships; in other words, not a shy or scared cat, would go through the loss of his owner much faster. They still need to adjust to a new owner. In this case, a cat takes a few days to a week to feel comfortable around a new owner—a couple of weeks at most.

In the case of an already shy cat that is sensitive to changes and that scare easily, the process of adjusting to a new owner can take much longer. With a scared cat, one has to use extra care to avoid scare the cat with sudden moves, and one has to leave a lot of space around him. Let him come when he is ready.

It can take weeks or even months for a cat to adjust to a new owner and to feel comfortable in a new environment.

Whatever is the case or the cat’s personality, one has to be patient and let them know that you love them and care for them. They will see that you are not dangerous and that you are a person to trust. They will come around and will get affectionate soon.


So, what can we do to make a cat adjust easily and faster when he needs to relocate with a new owner?

Here some advice to make your new cat bond with you, especially if you got him from another owner:

  • Give him space: do not force the cat to come to you, don’t try to pick him up or pet him. When cats feel safe, they will come out and roam around the house and come to you. If you wait for this to happen, they will adjust faster. I know it doesn’t sound so, but in the long run, it is like so.
  • Ensure that his food, water, and litter are placed in a place he can access easily and that they are placed where there aren’t many movements—basically, a quiet place.
  • Provide a place, bed, or hiding place to use and retreat when he feels scared. More than one is best, but at least one.
  • Try establishing a routine that your cat can get used to. Cats love routine and can make them feel safer. Try to feed them at the same time throughout the day.
  • Treats, of course: A couple of times a day, try to give your cat a few treats. It will help to build a bond.
  • Toys: provide scratchers and a couple of toys and see how he reacts. It can help the cat to feel relaxed and entertained.
  • Interaction: if the cat allows, try to play with him with some toys without forcing it. Playtime help build a bond.

That same advice can be used to make a cat comfortable in a new home. The best is always to let the cat come to you and leave plenty of space to decide if he wants to come to you or not.

I know it isn’t easy to hold off. The first instinct is to pick you a cat, kiss him, pet him, rub his belly, etc., but one has to refrain from it until the cat gets to know you and he is ready.

Here some ideas of cat toys to keep your cat happy

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Here some related questions and answers:

  • Do cats get sad when rehomed?

Yes, cats get sad when they lose their owner. Cats are independent, but they also get attached to their owner and members of the family. They miss their owner when he is not there.

A rehomed cat is sad, not happy, stressed, and scared. It is a little bit like a human that is thrown out of his house.

  • Do cats forget their owners in 3 days?

I remember some scientists writing that cats remember things only for 3 days. I am not so sure. Based on my experience with cats, they can remember their owner for much longer.

I have been missing for 2 months, then three weeks and my cat did remember me. I was told they were looking for me and that they were sad and meowing a lot through the day.

When I came back, they complained to me; they literally looked at me and meow loudly as soon as I can him, then they were fine and treated me as usual. Therefore I know cats can remember for much longer.

  • Do abandoned cats get sad?

Yes, cats get sad and hurt if they are abandoned. They do not understand what is going and why they are suddenly left outside, or their owner is not there. It is an experience that represents a sudden change, fear, and stress, and the fact that they miss their owner.

I remember a time where I accidentally closed the house door with my cat outside. I haven’t seen him that he went behind the corner. I thought he was inside. After one minute, I heard him crying very loud outside the door. I opened him immediately.

It was literally 2 minutes and he was already crushed.

  • Do cats miss their owners when they are rehomed?

Yes. Again cats miss their owners. When their owners are not there, they will try to look for them and be sad that their owners are missing. Cats do not always show affection in a clingy manner, not all cats are the cuddling type, but they get affectionate in their ways.

Therefore, a rehomed cat is not a happy cat. The new owner has to understand this and work with his cat to make him happy again.

  • How do you know if your cat has bonded with you?

You know that a cat finally bonded with you because he is roaming around the house not afraid of you, he will be in the same room with you, often if you go in another room, the cat will follow you.

He will come to you purring to get scratches. A conservative cat or shy cat would not do it often, but he will sleep near you, maybe not touching you but still near you or in the same room. In other words, when a cat wants to be with you, it is a cat that has bonded with you.


Cats can adjust to a new owner, it takes some time and patient, but it can happen. I hope this article was useful to you. If you have any questions or want to add anything, leave it in the comments below.

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