Bringing Your Kitten Home
The thought of bringing home a new kitten can be both exciting and overwhelming. Here are some kitten-specific suggestions that will help make your new friend’s welcome a warm and lasting one and working from home gives you more time to spend with your young kitten!
Kitten proof your home
- Just like you might prepare a house for a new baby, it’s also good to make your home kitten proof so you can keep your kitten safe.
- Things to remember include; covering up open fireplaces and chimneys, closing windows, hiding electrical cables, safely storing away medications, chemicals, hair elastics and threads.
- Also keep in mind that some house plants can be toxic for cats so be sure to tuck them away out of reach.
Close all the exits
- When you first bring home your kitten, it's important to keep them inside so they can get used to their new home and so they don’t get lost.
- As a guide, when bringing home a new adult cat they should be kept inside for a minimum of 3 - 4 weeks but with kittens ideally they should be keep indoors until they are over 5 months of age and have had all their vaccinations. It's important to make sure that windows and doors are kept secure so your kitten has time to learn where home is and adjust to their new environment before they are let outside to explore the neighbourhood.
Helping your kitten get through the first night
- When your kitten arrives home they may be frightened, it can be quite intimidating for a little kitten to be in a completely different home.
- Your kitten may be unsure of their surroundings and quite happily stay in one room as a safe space for a few days while they adjusts to their new family and home.
- Once your kitten has settled in you can start to introduce your new cat to a room or two at a time and increase their access to other rooms over a few days.
A comfy place to sleep
- Kittens sleep for between 16-20 hours a day. That's a lot! So it's important that you provide them with a comfortable place to take a nap and sleep.
- You might be tempted to keep them in your bedroom, but unless that's where you want to keep their litter box, it's best to section off somewhere in the house that is just for them.
- By giving your cat their own space they settle in faster and also are less likely to disrupt your sleep with meowing while they are still settling in.
Put time aside for play
- A big part of a kittens life is exploration and play therefore, it's important to have suitable kitten safe toys for exercising their natural predatory instincts of pouncing, stalking and chasing.
- You shouldn't encourage your cat to play with your hands, fingers, feet or clothing as this behaviour will not be appreciated when you have a fully grown cat.
- Be sure not to use toys that are too heavy for the kitten to move or that are small enough to be swallowed.
Introduce your new kitten to other pets
- Kittens won't only be introduced to a new home, they will also meet a new family that includes other cats or pets as well as humans.
So it's important to make sure the introduction between your other pets and your new kitten goes smoothly as the safety of both pets is important while they get use to each other.
- To start introducing your new kitten to other pets you can introduce them to their scent, by bringing in your other pets favourite toy or blanket for the kitten to smell.
- Once both pets appear comfortable with each other’s scent you can allow them to explore each other's territory (without them in it).
- Then you can move to introduce the two pets through a barrier such as a crate or mesh door until they react to each other calmly.
- The key to introducing pets is to always make sure that you give equal love and attention to your existing pets so they don't feel like they are missing out!