Bringing Your New Kitten Home
Updated: Sep 27, 2019
We know the excitement and joy of bringing a new kitten into your home, and it’s best to make sure you’re prepared so that it will help create a smooth transition for your kitty.
First thing’s first, you’ll need a safe and suitable cat carry box to transport your kitty and make sure it is secure and easy to clean. Travelling can be scary for them, so make sure the carrier has enough space for them to move around and is well-ventilated. Try placing down a towel from their former home or shelter so that they have a familiar scent. It may also help to spray a cat pheromone prior to putting them in the carry box (this is optional).
It is important to have the following items in place before your kitty arrives home:
Food & Water Bowls
It is a common misunderstanding that a cat (/kitten’s) food and water bowls should be kept next to each other, this is, in fact, incorrect. Water bowls should be kept a fair distance away, if not in another room – you can read more about this on our blog.
Bowls should be easy to clean, sturdy and made of a durable, long-lasting material. You may want to consider buying one or two extra’s so they may be cleaned regularly.
Bed/ Place of Safety
Any new pet needs a place of safety! Begin by using your cat carry box, wrapped in a soft blanket to make it dark. Place a soft liner inside that the kitty can sleep on. Most carriers have removable front doors, so this can be taken off and stored with ease. This idea also helps with future transport as they will not be frightened of the box every time you would normally bring you out to be used. The kitty should see this as a place of safety. Place the bed in a quiet, draft-free corner away from the main traffic in your house. Don’t be offended if they choose not o use your expensive, plush bed you have bought for them. Cats are very particular and will often choose the box the bed came in, over the actual bed.
Make sure the box is big enough for your adult cat to move around in, to prevent scattering litter around the box. You'll also need to buy cat litter and a scoop to remove the soiled litter. Clean the litter box at least twice a day because your kitten may avoid using a soiled one. Wash the litter box weekly with soap and water. Do not use strong disinfectants containing ammonia as this may detract your kitten from using it due to their good sense of smell. Use a mild disinfectant and water on the litter box about once a month, putting the box outdoors to dry in the fresh air (if possible). Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling.
NB: Cat faeces contains toxoplasma which can be harmful to humans. Always wash your hands after cleaning the litter box. Pregnant women must not be in close proximity to the litter box, and must avoid cleaning it because toxoplasmosis can cause severe birth defects.
There are various options here. Ones that lie flat on the floor, some that are angled and others hang or get tied upright. Try one or two different options here. The scratching post should be sturdy and tall enough to let your kitten stretch their full length. Train your kitten to use the scratching post as soon as you bring them home. Encourage this by playing with them often, near or around it. Place your kitten's scratching post and bed close together so they learn to use it when they first wake up and need a stretch. Contrary to popular belief, cats do not use a scratching post to sharpen their claws. They use it for exercise, to clean away dead scales from their nails and to mark their territory.
Again, there are a variety of options here, but make sure they are cat/ kitten specific and are safe and fun to play with. A kitten is naturally curious and needs toys to satiate their playful nature. Choose toys that cannot be splintered, torn apart or swallowed. Toys don’t need to be store bought. Use your imagination. Ladies hair bands, however, are a huge hit with our feline friends. But this should be under supervision only! We will create a blog on this soon.
Just like a toddler, be wary of toys (or items that a kitten may see as a toy) that can break, be swallowed or injure them. Keep your kitten away from children’s toys made of soft rubber, fur, wool, sponge or polyurethane. If your kitten swallows even a small particle, it could cause digestive problems. Avoid all toys with squeakers that could be swallowed.
Collar and Microchip
Ensure your kitten always wears a collar made of lightweight material and an identification tag. Put this on as soon as you get home. It helps them get used to the sensation, and in the unlikely event they somehow escape your home, it will assist the finder contacting you. Microchipping is also highly recommended! Cat’s have been known to have been missing for months (even years), when they are taken to a vet or shelter and owners have been identified through a chip. Sometimes it is near impossible to keep a collar on a cat, this is a safe alternative. And in the unlikely event of the cat being stolen, this is a proof of ownership as well.
A cat harness or leash can be a great training tool for your kitten. If you're unsure about taking your kitten outside for the first time, this could be a great training tool to help them familiarise themselves around their new home and will aid in less runaways when you do finally let them outside unassisted.
Helping Them Settle In
It is important that the new kitten has somewhere it feels safe and can be left undisturbed (especially with young children around). It is advisable to keep them enclosed in a large room or portion of the house for several days to help them ‘settle in’ and become less stressed. All windows must remain closed! After a few days (depending on the kitten’s confidence) you could let them out into other portions of the house while you are there and they are supervised. Again, ensure all windows are closed where the kitten has access to. Soon thereafter they can have access to the whole house.
After about a week to 10 days, you could introduce them to the great outdoors (this is where a harness and leash become a blessing). Small outings at first, followed by supervised but unrestricted access after a few days, until finally they are happy and confident in finding home if they get spooked by something.
Do not underestimate this ‘settling in’ time and cut it short. It is very easy for a kitten to get frightened and run far away in a moment of stress. And the extra time, love and attention now could save you a lot of heartache in the long run!
We wish you the best with your new kitten!
Disclaimer: We have compiled our information from various different sources and we claim no rights to any of the information obtained herein.