How to Introduce Your New Kitten to Your Home
Give your kitten/cat time to adjust to their new surroundings. Please remember that they have been accustom to only our home. They know what our voices sound like, how we walk and how we smell. They know what it sounds like when our furnace, air conditioner or dishwasher turns on. These are just some of the things that may scare them when they arrive in your home. They do not know how to climb steps for we live in a ranch style home. This is why it is so important for you to create a ‘safe place’ for them in your home and be patient with them as they adjust. Depending on their comfort level, this adjustment may take a while or it may come quickly. The more comfortable they feel – the happier they and you will be.
This is why we suggest you keep them in one room, such as in your bedroom, for a period of time. This will give them time to hear the noises, smell the smell, explore their new surrounding in a confided area to build their confidence. This room should include food, water, a litter box and a scratching post. We recommend keeping your new kitten/cat in this room for about 24 to 36 hours (maybe longer for an adult cat). This will help your new kitten/cat establish a ‘safe place’ for themselves in their new home. So, if they are scared by the sound of the vacuum cleaner instead of running around the house looking desperately for a place to hide, they will run to their safe place.
Please be patient with them as they get accustomed to their new home.
Prepare your home for your new kitten. Put away all small items such as rubber bands, paperclips small pieces of plastic and pins that your kitten might think is a toy. Move gently, do not shout and avoid excessive handling of the kitten. An excessively noisy or agitated atmosphere could cause your kitten to be a nervous, fearful adult. Explain to children that the new kitten is not a toy and that it needs lots of sleep to grow and develop. Cats sleep 16 to 18 hours per day.
Introductions – The introduction of your new kitten to other household pets in a very important stage in successfully integrating your kitten into your home. This must take place gradually and with supervision. A poor introduction can cause your existing pets to feel frustrated and/or jealous. If you have a dog, integration with your new kitten will generally take place quickly and without major problems. If you have another cat, your adult cat may not appreciate invasion of its territory and disruption of its routines. Do not be disappointed if you’re older cat does not seem to be particularly fond of the kitten initially; it may take some time for them to become pals. Total acceptance may take several days to several weeks. Bringing a new adult cat into your home with other pets may take even longer.
With a bedroom door separating the cats, both cats will know there’s something going on behind the door and can start getting used to the idea. Switch sleeping blankets between the new kitten/cat and your cat so they have a chance to become accustomed to each other’s scent. Once your new kitten/cat has adapted to its new, safe haven; confine your other cat and let the kitten/cat have free time to explore the rest of the house. This switch provides another way for the cats to experience each other’s scent without a face to face meeting.
At the first face to face meeting, consider patting each cat’s behind with a drop or two of vanilla extract or baby powder so that they will smell alike. If either cat becomes fearful or aggressive, separate them until both cats have calmed down. Hissing and spitting is normal – don’t panic. The cats are just establishing a hierarchy and their boundaries. If growling and aggressive chasing ensue, you need to intervene, separate the two and start from the beginning after they have both calmed down. Having a towel or small blanket handy is a good idea. If either animal gets aggressive, toss the cover on to the cat and pick them up and into another room.
Vet visits – You will receive a health record with your kitten detailing vaccinations and examinations. Please take your new kitten to your vet within the first week that its home. This visit to your vet will confirm the health of your new kitten. Please don’t let them over vaccinate the kitten If you are unsure please call us.
Water – Always have fresh water available, filtered water would be best. Since a lot of our kittens have developed a fondness to splashing in their water before taking a drink, you may want to place the water bowl on a splash mat or in another container to catch any wayward water.
Food – Cats are designed by Mother Nature to be meat eaters. In nature, cats eat high protein diets of mice and other small animals. Cats lack specific metabolic (enzymatic) pathways and cannot digest grains and cannot utilize proteins found in plants. Meat, especially raw meat, contains valuable proteins, vitamins, minerals, and nutrition that cats are designed to eat. Our cat’s digestive systems are short, which means they have a limited amount of time to extract the nutrients they need from their food. They need to digest food quickly and effectively. Fresh meat meets this need.
As for dry cat food, take some time to read the label. The ingredient listing for a quality cat food will not contain a lot of fillers, meat by-products or ingredients you cannot pronounce. Be aware – from time to time, large conglomerate companies have purchased smaller, quality pet food companies and the quality of the food product has suffered. Please call us if you need help with selecting a diet for your kitten.
A good quality diet will help keep your cat healthy and happy.
Grooming – Brushing your kitten’s coat will keep the fur shiny, reduce shedding and decrease the development of hairballs. Brushing also helps to avoid the formation of knots and tangles. Pay special attention to the areas behind the ears and neck, which are inaccessible to the kitten’s tongue and are the most prone to knots. Other areas prone to knots are the underarms and the britches. Avoid combs with plastic handles as they create static and may give your kitten little shocks while you are combing. All metal or bamboo combs and brushes are good alternatives. Get your kitten used to being brushed as soon as possible. It is a good idea to end the brushing session with a cuddle or a game. Trimming your kitten’s nails every two to three weeks to keep the nails relatively blunt.
Litter box – Remember that cats will not use a messy or smelly litter box. Be sure to clean the litter box(s) often. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the litter box. If you must move it, move it gradually so that you do not confuse your cat.
Cat trees – A scratching post and/or a cat tree are a must the taller the better. A cat needs to scratch to shed nail casings. A sturdy, thick sisal scratching post allows your cat to scratch and mark with its nails, keeps him active and distracts him from scratching furniture. To encourage your kitten to use the scratching post, place the kitten at the base of the post and then use your nails to scratch on the post. The kitten will hear the sound and mimic it. This is also helpful if your kitten starts scratching on your furniture, simply pick the kitten up, and take it to the base of the post and scratch the post with your nails and the kitten will follow. Cats love to climb; and a cat tree gives them something to climb on and help limit excessive running and jumping up on to your furniture. Some cats find comfort by being on the top of a tall cat tree; others find comfort in a covered area, such as a cat tent or a box lying on its side. Give your cat options.
Play – Play encourages discovery of surroundings and develops the kitten’s physical capabilities. Ping-pong balls are good chasing toys. At the slightest tap of a paw, the ball is moving and the chase is on. Fake mice covered with rabbit fur are great toys. Stick toys can really get your kitten moving. Exercise is essential for your kitten’s well-being throughout their lives. It provides a means to channel energy into toning muscles, rather than using that energy for destructive purposes.
If your kitten would start to develop unfavorable habits, use water in a squirt gun or spray bottle to deter them from that behavior. Please contact us if other deterrents are needed, we have other suggestions that you can try. It is difficult to change an adult cat’s behavior if you have allowed this behavior when it was a kitten.
Remember that kittens are little chaos machines and need a lot of attention and affection.