Introducing a new cat or kitten into your home is an exciting moment for any new, or existing pet owner. However, special care needs to be taken to ensure a smooth transition. If the kitten is being rehomed away from its mother, it is important to make it feel comfortable, relaxed and loved, which will speed up the settling in period and allow the pair of you to start forming a lifelong bond. The key to a happy new pet is patience!
Preparing the Home
Have you stocked up on all the essentials? Food and water bowls, a warm and cosy bed, a selection of suitable kitten food, litter tray and ID collar are all compulsory purchases before your new friend moves in. Don’t forget the little extras too, such as a dustpan and brush for sweeping up excess from the litter tray, gates to keep your kitten in or out of certain areas, a scratching post and toys. Go through the entire house making sure any hazardous objects are out of reach of little paws, and that nothing fragile or delicate is on display which could be knocked over. Another important thing to remember is to make an appointment at the vets for a check-up and to make an enquiry about when to get your kitten vaccinated and neutered.
Each kitten has a very unique personality, however most will share the same character traits when they find themselves in unfamiliar territory and will show signs of being very anxious and shy. Allow your kitten to explore your home by itself, starting with one room at a time. Do not force your kitten to go anywhere, let it slowly make its way through each room at its own pace. It could take weeks, or even months for your kitten to pluck up the courage to move from its ‘safe’ spot, but be patient and it will happen. It is recommended to keep new kittens inside for two weeks before allowing them to venture outdoors into a safe environment.
Setting up designated areas in your home before your cat moves in will make it a lot easier to train it to associate each area with a certain action. Cats are territorial animals, so create a little safe place for it to seek comfort and call its own. A laundry room could be a suitable location as it is warm, secluded and has lots of little nooks and crannies for your cat to explore. Most cats have a natural instinct to use the bathroom outside, but in case you don’t have a cat flap, make sure you familiarise your new kitten with the litter tray.
It is understandable that you and your family will want to spend as much time as possible with your new pet, but be careful not to overwhelm it. It is understandable for a new kitten to be timid and frightened in a brand new environment, so help it feel comfortable and calm by taking it in turns to introduce yourselves to the cat. Keep visitors to a minimum to avoid confusion until your cat becomes more confident.