For a small kitten, moving away from their mum and siblings to a new home can be strange and scary. So, it’s important that we do all we can to build their trust and confidence in us as their new owners. To them, we are total strangers and their new house looks and smells completely different to anything they have known before. It’s only natural that they will take some time to get used to things.
Preparation is Key
Before collecting your kitten and bringing them home, set yourself up for success. You can do this by ensuring the home is ready for a boisterous new kitten to explore. Understand that they love to run about, scratch and climb and any furniture, carpet and curtains are fair game to them. Cordon off any areas of the home you don’t want them to be in just yet. Consider having a large play pen or crate for them to relax in when you are out of the home.
Every cat needs their own resources so ensure they have food and water bowls, a comfy bed that’s in their own space and a clean litter tray that is in an area of low foot traffic. As well as these, your kitten will probably appreciate a scratching post, small cat tree and some toys. It’s also a good idea to buy a grooming brush. This can be used on them every few days to keep their coat in tip-top condition. For particularly anxious kitties, consider using a plug-in pheromone diffuser such as Feliway to help them stay calm as they settle in.
Top Tip: Getting your kitten used to being handled, brushed and having their claws trimmed will really pay off in the long-term.
Kittens just love to jump from heights and explore and test their boundaries. However, their balance and strength aren’t always well-developed enough for their shenanigans. Monitor them closely in the first few weeks and try to prevent them from being up too high. A big fall could cause a lot of damage. As well as this, keep potentially toxic items such as lily flowers, holiday decorations or human medicines away from inquisitive mouths.
Keep your little one engaged by playing with them as often as they desire; something which also helps to burn off all of that excess energy! Why not try a ‘hide the treat’ game, or see how long they keep themselves entertained by following a wind-up mouse or laser pointer? There’s no need to break the bank though; even old cardboard boxes and toilet paper rolls can provide hours of fun for these inquisitive critters.
Meeting the Family
Take introductions to other pets and people slowly. Don’t force them, allow your kitten to do it on their own terms. Read more about the importance of socialisation here. Remember, cats don’t always like to share their home with other pets but they are most likely to accept those that they grow up with.
It’s likely that your kitten’s breeder will send them home with a small bag of the same food that they have been weaned on to. It is best to continue with this diet if possible. However, if you wish to switch, discuss this with our vets so we can suggest the most appropriate diet, which may be wet or dry. It’s never a good idea to change foods suddenly. This can result in vomiting and diarrhoea, so the process needs to be done slowly over several days.
The Great Outdoors
As small kittens have no road sense and can get into a lot of trouble when outside, it’s best to wait until they are older to let them out. This is also because they should be fully vaccinated and neutered before being allowed to explore the outside world. For those keen on dipping their toes in the water, they can always be brought out into the garden on a harness.