Getting a new pet is really exciting but can also be a little nerve wracking. It may have been a while since you introduced a new pet to your home, or you may be a first-time kitten owner. Whatever the case, don’t panic! We’re here to help.
From preparing their living space in your house to encouraging them to explore around the home, there are some key things to consider. Here we highlight some of our top tips for new kitten owners, to help you prepare to bring them home.
Prepare the Kitten’s Room and ensure it is Cat proof
Before you bring them home you need to make sure you have everything you need for them and that their room is set up how you want it. The last thing you need on the day you collect them home is to be fumbling around trying to prepare their bed or other accessories. Have the room ready a couple of days in advance and you’ll feel much more settled about introducing them to the family. Brands such as Catit are dedicated to making good quality cat products for every area pf your cats life.
Think about the comfort and safety of your little kitten. They may be nervous at first so providing them with a safe and quiet space is really important. Ensure you have cat proofed the room and there are no escape routes. Our Cat Proofing Your Home blog post may be of interest if you’d like some further advice around kitten safety.
Don’t forget to give them some fun cat toys to keep them occupied too. These won’t just provide them with lots of excitement but will also help their brain development and learning.
Give Kitten Places to Hide
Cats quite like hiding in general, but little kittens may be especially nervous and thankful for some ‘secret’ spots that they can hide themselves in. Make sure these hiding places are still accessible for you though, as you will still need to socialise with them. Try to use a room where kitten can’t get trapped and use things like cardboard boxes as their hideaway! Some good quality scratch posts have hiding spaces which would make the ideal addition to your kitten room.
Prepare the Litter Tray and Feeding Areas
Your kitten will need somewhere to toilet so you will need a litter tray set up in the kitten’s room. This should be situated away from the kitten’s bed and their feeding area. Your kitten won’t want to sleep or eat where they toilet so take a bit of time to work out the perfect layout of the room. The feeding area should include at least two bowls or saucers for dry food and water - possibly three if you’d like a separate dish for wet food. Ensure kitten has access to fresh water and dry food throughout the day and supplement with a serving of wet food once or twice a day.
When you first bring them home and introduce them to their living space, it’s important to show them around so that they can easily find their food and their litter tray.
We briefly mentioned scratch posts when talking about a place to hide, but they have much more importance than being a hidey place. Cats have many unique senses, one of which is to scratch. Scratching keeps their claws in tip top condition and allows them to stretch their muscles, keeping their athletic bodies healthy. If you don’t provide your kitten with a scratch post or pad, they will find elsewhere to sate their scratching desires. Provide a good quality scratch post and encourage them to use that rather than your soft furnishings!
Cats are known for their inquisitive nature, but some can be quite nervous especially when introduced to a new environment. We would highly recommend a calming product such as Ceva’s Feliway plugin diffusers to help keep your feline calm and relaxed. Feliway products are designed to mimic your cat’s facial pheromones (the things they leave behind when they rub against objects). The products have been developed over many years and help to make your cat feel reassured and relaxed in unknown environments. Pop a plugin diffuser in their room a few days before you collect them to help them relax when they come home.
Don’t Forget to Travel Safely
Before your kitten reaches their new home, they will have some kind of journey to get there. It might be just a short trip across town, or you may be travelling hours to pick up your new arrival, but however long the journey you need to make sure you travel safely. Ensure you have a suitable cat carrier for the car and think about what other accessories you may need. We’d suggest a blanket to keep them cosy inside and perhaps a travel bowl for water if it’s a long journey. Have your travel bag ready for the big day so you don’t panic before you collect them.
Socialise with Them
This may seem obvious. Why would we need to encourage you to play and socialise with your cute little kitten?! We only mention it because the time spent with your kitten at this stage isn’t just fun for you both, but a really important way to help them settle and feel at home. Do be mindful at first that you don’t over stimulate them. Just being around them with short periods of gentle play is enough. Get them used to normal household noises like talking on the telephone, the radio and the TV. The first couple of weeks will be all about transitioning them into your routine and getting them used to normal daily life in their new family.
Exploring their New Home
It will soon be time for your new feline to explore beyond their kitten room and into the rest of the house. You will know when your kitten seems relaxed and settled enough to begin exploring. When you decide the time is right, make sure their forays into the rest of the house are done with supervision and in stages. You shouldn’t just set them free, but rather show them only small parts of the house at a time, maybe a room or two. Make sure the rooms or hallways are kitten-safe, putting your cat proofing skills to work. They will soon get used to the house (or parts of the house that they’re allowed) and will start to learn all about their family home.
Hopefully with the help of our advice, your kitten will move to your home and settle in quickly and efficiently without too many problems. Try not to stress, make your preparations, and all will be fine. Kittens are resilient little things and they'll soon be enjoying your company and exploring their new home!
If you have any other questions about bringing your kitten home or you're not sure what things you might need, do give us a call. We're always happy to help. Also, take a look at our Information Hub where you will find all kinds of helpful pet articles. We try to update the Hub regularly, so keep checking back to see what is new.