Introducing a New Kitten to the House
By: Faith P.
Introducing a New Kitten to the House: Getting a new kitten is exciting, especially for first-time cat owners. You want to give them the best life you can, and that begins with introducing them to their new home. Making sure they are comfortable and that they feel safe in your house is key. Keep reading for some great advice.
When you’re getting a new kitten, understand that it is different than taking care of an adult cat. Kittens will require you to give them much more attention because they have boundless energy and curiosity. These cute, small fluff balls may end up exhausting you, but they are worth all of the time you give them and more.
Before you can bring your kitten to its new home, you need to make sure you are prepared with everything they need. First and foremost, kitten-proof your house. This means blocking off windows, any small spaces they might want to explore, moving electronics and any choking hazards. Kittens are masters of mischief!
You should also give your new kitten its own space so that it can get used to its new surroundings. Include a litter box, food and water dishes, comfortable bedding, and a toy in this space. Keep in mind that you should keep your kitten’s food and water away from the litter box.
Some supplies you should have before getting a kitten are:
- Cat food and treats
- Food and water bowls
- Litter box and cat litter
- Bed and carrier
- Collar and ID tags
- Toothbrush and pet-safe toothpaste
- Scratching post and toys
The ride home can be scary for a kitten, so you need to make them as comfortable as possible. Put a towel in your cat carrier and gently place your kitten inside. Remove the carrier’s top instead of nudging him through the door if they refuse to go in. Be sure to have a carrier; kittens or cats should not ride in your car without one. Make sure the carrier is the right size for the kitten.
Introduction to the New Home
Once home, place the carrier down in a quiet room and let your kitten walk out at its own pace. Put a bowl of fresh food, water and a litter box near the carrier’s entrance. Let your kitten come and go at its own will. If they don’t come out after 30 minutes, lightly remove the top of the carrier, pick them up, and show the food, water bowls, and litter box. Allow your kitten to get used to its new surroundings; start with one room before you show them the whole house.
Socialization and Training
Now they are comfy being at home it’s time for training! Litter box training should be one of the top priorities you have for your kitten’s first day home. Usually, your kitten will already know what to do; your only job is to show them the box. Use positive reinforcement, like treats and praise, until they get used to using it independently. Establish and reinforce boundaries and household rules. While training, avoid punishing them or speaking to them harshly. To grow into well-balanced adults, kittens need to be socialized. You should play with and comfort them often and expose them to as many new sights, sounds, smells, and sensations as possible. While they’re young, it’s best to get them used to wear a collar, travel in a pet carrier, and tolerate grooming.
You should take your kitten to get checked by the vet within a week of bringing them home. When first visiting the vet, they should check for parasites, leukemia, and other health concerns. Your vet will give your new friend their first round of vaccinations if they haven’t gotten them already. It would be best to talk to your vet about starting a flea and parasite control plan and spaying or neutering. This visit is also a perfect time to ask your vet any questions you have taking care of your new kitten.
Be sure you are prepared to take on the responsibility of having a new addition in your house. Kittens, like all pets, will need our love and attention. Trust me when I say, all this hard work is worth it!