New cat owner anxiety? Are you feeling anxious and depressed after you got your new cat? It can happen for someone to start feeling anxious, guilty, having second thoughts, doubts, and similar emotions, right after adopting a new cat. It is more common than you think.

The ” new cat owner anxiety ” is a mixture of anxiety, guilt, remorse, doubt, and fear that comes on a new cat owner right after adoption. Normally, the cat owner doesn’t feel up to caring for the new cat; this brings the cat owner to worry and feel that it was a mistake to bring a new pet home.

Let’s see what we can do about it if this happens to us.

New cat owner anxiety?


If you never had such a thing or experienced a new cat owner’s anxiety, it could be difficult to understand what it is. However, if you had kids, I would say it is similar to the feeling a new parent may feel when a newborn enters this world. Of course, it is not the same, but the feelings and sensations could be similar.

It is when a new parent realizes that he is responsible for a new life, that it is now his responsibility if the newborn is eating, sleeping, and doing well. At times, for some people, this can be an overwhelming feeling.

A new cat owner can feel the same overwhelming feeling: once the new cat or kitten is home, one comes to realize that he is alive and need attention. With the same realization, it comes the fear to not care for another living being and that the new cat or kitten may suffer.

This can be a really intensive feeling, with a mixture of fear, doubts, and guilt. It can be really intense at times.

Is it normal? Well, it is more common than what you may think. Not everyone talks about it. More people are feeling this way that we normally think. You should not feel weird or sick because you have those thoughts. It can happen.

The most important thing is what to do when it happens?


So, we are into this incredible anxiety for our cats, that we have problems concentrating or doing other things. What can we do about it?

There is a stable datum and a principle I would like to put over everything else. IT WILL PASS! EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE!

After all, not only does the new kitten need to get used to the new place, but a cat owner has to get used to care and leave with another living being!

After this pearl of wisdom, we can go into practical tips and advice that can make the anxiety less biting. I used to freak out ( excuse the word) when I got my first cat. I would literally treat him like he would be made of glass or porcelain.

I would spoil him like crazy, and I would panic every time I had to leave or leave him alone for more than expected. If he meowed, I would get into agitation. I treated him like a small child and overprotected him.

Therefore, here some good tips to follow:

  • Wait for your cat to adjust: before drawing any conclusion about you not caring enough or your cat having a problem, wait for a couple of months that you and your cat take a weekly routine. You can have the time to learn what the new cat does and how he responds to different things. Just give it some time.
  • Kittens are very forgiving: do not worry if you accidentally stepped on your kitten’s tail or that you do not have time to play as much as he wants. Kittens are very energetic. Not even grown-up cats can run behind them all day. They have to run, jump, hunt, chew on things, scratch, and more. You do not have to feel guilty if you can’t dedicate as much time as you would want. Just play with your kitten 30 minutes a day, when you can. For the rest, provide tons of toys, balls, and scratchers. He will be happy.
  • Grown-up cats are more independent: Unlike a kitten that has to follow you everywhere obsessively and need more attention, an older cat is less needy. Cats do not need a lot. They need food, litter, water, toys, and of course you. But once they are older, they give you more stability because you know they are settled and happy in their routines.
  • Two is better than one: Sometimes it is a good idea to get them a little friend, if you feel too bad, you have to leave him alone all day. We all work, and we all do. It is expected, no need to feel bad. A cat should be in your house than out in the street. They are happy to see you when you come back and at the weekends. But if you think it is too much, get another cat friend. They will be fine.
  • It is constant learning: do not worry too much about doing the right thing all the time. You will learn a bit every day. It is difficult to damage a cat unless you do not feed him, give him water and a litter box. Cats need your love and attention, but it is not a full-time job. I learned all about caring for my cat reading about issues that would call the vet from time to time.
  • Know that you are not the only one: knowing that others have similar experiences can help. Knowing that it is not weird and that it can be resolved since others have done it.
  • Routines: routines can help you and your cat to feel happier. He knows when you can feed him and play and would learn to take advantage of those times. Cats, somehow, have a good internal clock.

I hope those points can give some good entrance points to resolve a new cat owner anxiety.


It can also happen to have second thoughts after adopting a cat. It may also be that you did not expect certain things from your cat or that it would take so much work. Maybe your cat personality is a bit too invasive and noisy. Anything can happen.

But if there are some habits that your new cat has that make you doubt the adoption, the best is not to make any rash decisions.

Let’s give it some time for the new cat to adjust and see if he needs any medical treatment or a source of anxiety in the house. Cats do not like changes at all.

Therefore, they may need some time to be able to settle and calm down. They also need to get used to you, and you need to get used to him and learn his personality.

I am sure that when a cat owner gets to know a cat and become affectionate, it is easier to overcome some of the barriers of living with a new cat.


Here some related questions and answers:

  • Is it bad to return an adopted cat?

It is not necessarily bad. If it is best for you and your cat, you should not feel that it is bad. Sometimes there are circumstances when needed. Shelters usually give a provisional time, or at least they should. You have some time to see if your cat is a good fit for you and vice-versa.

Certainly, it is not a good experience for a cat to return to a shelter, and it is not a good experience for a person, but if you can’t take care of the cat as it should be done, it is better to do so.

Try to spend some time with a cat at the shelter, feel how the cat is, and be sure that you can take care of a cat for a long time. They are not a short term commitment. If all fails, then better to return the cat, do not abandon them.

  • How long does it take for an adopted cat to adjust to a new home?

It can take a few weeks for a cat to be settled in. After a week, a new cat should feel already better and more comfortable. But each cat has its own time. Some cats are faster than others. Eventually, it will happen.

  • Do cats know you adopted them?

Yes, cats know that you are their friend and that they depend on you. They will learn this over time. Once they get into a new home, they will figure out that you are the main person they depend on and give them some time to adjust.


New cat owner anxiety can be problematic, I hope we could give you some good input to resolve it. If you have a question, or want to add anything, leave it in the comments below.

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