Cat Behavior Resources
It is very important to give your newly adopted cat the time and space needed to acclimate to their new home. Cats can take anywhere from a few days to a month or two to be 100% comfortable with the sights, smells, sounds, people, and other animals in the home. The adjustment time needed will increase the more people or pets there are in the house. If your new kitty feels like they are threatened because they are not used to things but are being forced to interact, they may hiss, scratch, bite, shut down, hide, or show other concerning behaviors that are not reflective of how they will be once comfortable.
The best way to help your cat through this process is to introduce them into only one room at first. Set up a quiet space with food, water, a litter box, a place to hide, toys, and comfy spots to sleep before bringing the cat home. Guest bedrooms work very well for this, but anywhere that you can close off and is relatively quiet will work. When you get home with your new family member, bring them to this space and open the carrier. Do not force them to come out of the carrier, but rather leave them alone to take in all the new things they are encountering. They may hide for a period of time while adjusting, this is totally normal. Spend time with them in this room using tasty treats and toys to bring them out of their shell. Only pet them if they initiate the affection by rubbing you or coming up to you. Once they are comfortable and not hiding as much in this room, you can allow them to explore more areas of the house at their own pace. Always keep their room open so they can escape back to their area of comfort if they get scared or overwhelmed. Make sure if there are other animals in the home that they are introduced one at a time and there is always a way for your new cat to escape the situation so they do not feel the need to fight. Remember that every cat is different, so there is no set time or path to adjustment, but making sure to not force them to do anything or overwhelm them is the best way to having a happy, comfortable cat.
The key to understanding your cat is learning about cat body language. The more you know about what they are trying to communicate, the more you can help meet their needs or show them better ways to ask for what they need.
Common cat problem behaviors include not getting along with other cats, not using the litter box, scratching inappropriate items, and lack of socialization with people. There are some great sites that have compiled amazing, reliable resources for these things. Check out these sites for help with these problems.