Published on April 6th, 2018 | by Debbie Martin
7 top tips for introducing your new kitten to your home
Getting a new kitten is a wonderful experience but there are many common mistakes that new owners make which can not only end up making their life difficult in the long run, but that can also upset their new addition too.
Here are 7 top tips to follow to ensure that your kitten is happy and settled in its new home and to help ensure that your pet is contended and relaxed for the rest of its life.
1. There is such a thing as too much loving
Bringing your new kitten home is an exciting time for all the family, and as cute and cuddly as they may be, it is important to remember that your new pet will need some quiet alone time too. Kittens need quiet time to sleep, grow and develop and so it is vital that you and any young children give them this. Make sure that your kitten has somewhere warm, comfortable and quiet to sleep and rest and also ensure that any children in the home know to leave the kitten alone when he is sleeping, eating and using the litter tray. A kitten or cat will get defensive if bothered when using the litter tray and especially when eating and you don’t want any aggressive behaviour or your kitten being afraid to eat or use the litter tray.
2. Don’t assume your kitten will always find the litter tray
While it is true that kittens and cats do have a great sense of smell and will remember where they have been to the toilet and return there, however you can’t expect your new kitten to find the litter tray from the other side of the house. Your kitten will still be learning where everything is, and he only has little legs, if he needs to use the litter tray he may not make it in time and have an accident on your carpet. The problem here is that he may then think that the carpet is a suitable place to urinate the next time too. When you first get your kitten, it is a good idea to restrict the space he has to explore, keep it to one room with his food, bed and litter tray and gradually begin to expand is exploring room as he gets bigger.
3. Your cat will want to scratch
There is no sound that will get a cat owner moving quite like the sound of him using your sofa as a scratching post. All cats need to scratch, also known as stropping, and if you want to protect your soft furnishings then it is a good idea to invest in a couple of scratch posts as soon as you get your kitten, so he knows where he can and cant’s scratch. Get bigger posts as he grows so that he can stretch to his full height and also look at a horizontal scratch mat too, which can double as a great place to sit your kitten for grooming- moving us on to the next tip.
4. Get grooming young
Many adult cats have an intense fear of a brush and grooming them can be a real battle. Short and long-haired cats need regular brushing, so it is a good idea to introduce your kitten to the brush as soon as possible. Make brushing a calming or playful time so that your kitten learns that there is nothing to worry about when the brush appears. Sit your kitten on a scratch mat and turn it into a game using a soft brush. Be gentle but thorough so that your kitten gets used to being handled in such a way.
5. Claw maintenance
Another good routine to begin when your kitten is young is claw maintenance. Having their claw clipped is another thing many adult cats detest but it is a necessity, especially if you have an indoor cat whose claws will not get the opportunity to be kept trim by climbing or walking outside. Buy a pair of feline claw clippers from your vet or local pet shop and get your kitten used to you handling his paws. Settle down somewhere quiet so that your kitten is relaxed and calm and gently examine his paws and claws and clip the claws. If you are unsure of how to do this, then your vet can show you.
6. Getting used to the carrier
Get your kitten used to the carrier from the start by keeping it around not stored away. Many carriers have detachable bases, so you can use this as another bed for your cat so that they are used to it and their scent is left on it. You can take your kitten on short, 5-minute car journeys to get your animal used to traveling. Talk to your kitten in the car in a gentle and calm voice so that they know there is nothing to fear and reward them with some kitty treats at the end of the journey.
7. Your new kitten may not be a hit with everyone
If you already have a cat at home, bringing your new kitten home may not mean love at first sight. Your cat is likely to consider the new addition as an invader or rival for his territory and often will not take kindly his new sibling, no matter how cute he is. Before you bring your new kitten home, exchange his bedding with your cats bedding so that they can both get used to their other’s scent. Most breeders and rescue centres will help you with this. When you do bring him home, keep your kitten confined to one room and keep the door closed as he settles in. Invest in a cat pen and put the kitten inside with bedding, toys and food and open the door to the room twice a day. Feed your adult cat in the same room so that he is in eye line of the kitten. You can gradually increase the contact between the two cats until you feel comfortable allowing the kitten out of the pen with the adult cat present. Keep an eye on them and ensure both have an escape route and you are ready with a cushion should things get heated. Don’t expect your cat to love your kitten immediately but they will get closer over time.