This month we’re going to look at how to introduce your new kitten into your home, especially if you have babies and young children already in your family.
Setting up a quiet place for your kitten
Your kitten will need a comfortable, quiet place where she can sleep, eat and toilet. This will also be the place she goes to when she is scared. Ideally, section off a room in the house for her.
Before you bring your kitten home make sure you have all the necessary items to help her settle in.
- Litter tray and cat litter—ensure this is as far away from her bedding and food dishes as possible
- Scratching post—your kitten has a need to scratch and this will help prevent her from scratching your furniture
- Cat bed— placing a ticking clock or a hot water bottle, wrapped in a blanket, in her bed may help her to settle
- Food and water bowls
- Cat toys
- Cat food
- Cat carrier
You will also need to kitten-proof your house by putting plants and cords out of reach and limiting access to places where you don’t want her to go.
Bringing your kitten home
It may take weeks for your kitten to adjust to her new home. Cats are territorial, so coming into a new home may scare your kitten. She may also miss her mum and littermates.
Ideally, bring your kitten home in a cat carrier as she will feel safer inside it. Take her directly to her new room and shut the door. Sit on the floor, open the door of the carrier, and let her come to you.
Don’t force your kitten to come out. Let her take her time and if she doesn’t want to come out, leave her alone and try again later.
Your kitten may be very timid at first and she may only come out when no-one is in her room. Give her space and time, and she will gradually gain the confidence to come out when you are there.
Introducing your children to your new kitten
This needs to be done with adult supervision. Your baby or young children should never be left alone with your kitten.
Let your kitten settle into her quiet place and then introduce her to your children slowly, carefully and calmly.
- Show your children how to gently and properly handle your kitten
- Provide your kitten with a safe place she can retreat to should she need to get away from your children—somewhere up high is good
- Limit play to short sessions while your kitten and children are still getting to know each other
- Teach your children to leave her alone when she is eating or sleeping
- Don’t let your kitten into the room where your baby is sleeping
- Make sure your toddler can’t access your kitten’s food bowls or litter trays
Introducing your kitten to other pets
Pay plenty of attention to your older pets so they don’t become jealous of your kitten.
At first your kitten will feel safer is she is kept away from your other pets. Let her settle in before you gradually introduce her to them, under careful supervision.
Sometimes it can take months for pets to adjust to each other. Keep trying but don’t ever force them together.
Feeding your kitten
Start your kitten off with the same food the breeder has been feeding her, before gradually changing over to her new diet. At first she will need to eat frequent small portions, often four meals a day. By the time she is 6 months old she can be fed twice a day.
If your kitten is reluctant to eat, you might like to try slightly warming her food in the microwave. If she still won’t eat after several days a mobile vet can come to your house to check she is ok.
Help with settling in your new kitten
It may take her a while to adjust to her new home. Be patient.
Your kitten will need to be checked by your vet within a week of coming home. A mobile vet can come to you to help with the settling in process and to explain all about vaccinations, worming, and flea and tick prevention.
Got questions about how to care for your new kitten? Contact us