How to Introduce a Kitten to Your Home
Who can resist a delicate mewing kitten? Although a tiny kitten is adorable, keep in mind that your kitten’s habits and even her personality to some extent develop in the first few weeks with you.
Ideally a kitten should be at least 8 weeks old before you bring him home. A kitten between 8 and 12 weeks is a bit more settled, can eat solid food and not be as likely to keep you up by fearfully meowing through the night. Here are a few tips for a smooth transition:
1. Think Small, Cat-Friendly Room. A bathroom is a great place to start with a new kitten. She can easily sniff out her litter box in that small area, and she’ll feel safe in a smaller area in the beginning. Provide her with food and water as well as her litter box in this room. Later on, as he explores a larger area, you’ll want to help him find her way back to the litter box for the first few times.
2. Kitty Calisthenics. Cats are born to be active, and you’ll no doubt be entertained by their antics. A scratching post is a great diversion and provides a welcome alternative from your piano or dining room table. Cat toys (especially tiny stuffed mice) provide amusement for your kitten and anyone watching.
3. Allow Your Kitten to Be Aloof. All you want to do is to cuddle your new kitten, and he’s hiding under the bed. That’s okay. It’s not you – really! When she realizes that you’re the one who keeps showing up with the food, water and clean litter, she’ll eventually adore you. Be patient.
4. Stroke, Pet, Admire! The more time you spend loving on your kitten, the more loving your cat will be. If you have children, instruct them to be gentle. Quick jerky movements may result in injuries for kitten, kids or both.
5. Can You Train a Kitten? Yes, Virginia, it is possible. It’s not a fairy tale, but early is always better than later. When your kitten climbs the drapes or jumps on your kitchen counters, say “no” firmly and physically remove him. If he’s strong-willed, you have to be a bit more creative. Sticky tape on edges of kitchen counters may deter her.
6. To Crate or Not to Crate? A crate is a great way to create boundaries. You may choose to have your crated cat in a larger room to help her become accustomed to a large, noisy household. If your kitten is introduced to the crate early, she won’t be so frightened when she needs to travel to the vet’s.
7. Schedule a Veterinarian’s Visit Early. Contact your veterinarian hospital to schedule your kitten’s vaccinations. They’d love to meet the newest member of your family! Also, mark your calendar for when your kitten will be 6 months old – this is an ideal time for him to be spayed.