Adding a new family member to your home can be exciting and joyful! Before you have a new furry friend rip-roaring around the house there are a few things that we would like to mention to ensure that your new kitten is ready to take on the world!.....and you are too!
New home means new EVERYTHING!
Bringing a kitten home can be very stressful and confusing for your little bundle of fluff. It is important that your new kitten is comfortable with you and their new home. Introduce everything sloooooowly. It will take time to adjust to their new surroundings as everything is a new experience for them. The first few days are crucial as your kitten will try to understand where they can explore, where not to go, what they can and cannot jump on, where they can sleep etc.
For the first few days it would be a good idea to keep them in an area that is quiet and somewhat secluded so that he or she can explore the rest of the household and socialize at their own pace, but still have one area they can claim theirs. It is important to keep the household as calm and stress free as possible to ensure that all family members are introduced in a careful, loving way. If there are young children in the home, ensure that they are taught that a kitten needs to be treated with gentleness and that a kitten can easily become startled and overwhelmed in a new home.
Because your kitten is going to be “learning the ropes” it is crucial that they are disciplined in the right manner. They do not know what acceptable behavior is in your household. If punishments like scolding or physical corrections are done this can impact your relationship in a negative way. The last thing we want is for your kitten to become reluctant to socialize due to fear and uncertainty.
Cats can be very social animals! They need just as much attention as a dog! If you decide to have your kitten stay indoors it is important to provide physical and mental stimulation. Play time can give your cat the opportunity to engage in their natural instinct, hunting. Cats are phenomenal hunters that love to chase, stalk, pounce and capture. There are several toys available that can fulfill this need whether it would be from chasing a mouse on a string, ribbons, laser pointer, activity center, tunnels, scrunchy balls etc. Always supervise your kitten when he or she has been introduced to a new toy. Cats love to eat things like string and elastic bands, so keeping a close eye on your kitten is essential.
Not the leather couches!
Another natural instinct that cats have is scratching. Cats do not scratch your furniture out of spite! There are scent glands on your kitten’s paws that will leave behind a pheromone once your kitten has scratched something. Your kitten will love to leave their pheromone everywhere they go so they can feel like they have claimed their territory and it is their way of communicating with other animals. It is no different than a cat rubbing their face against a piece of furniture; their pheromones are being released through their cheeks. Kittens start scratching at 5 weeks of age so being prepared for this is going to minimize the chances of your kitten becoming friends with your leather couches. We recommend a scratching post for your household as this can be the most practical solution. There are tons of scratch posts available to owners and your kitten may need to try a few different kinds before deciding which one he or she likes. There are scratching posts made from cardboard, wood, sisal and carpet.
Litter Boxes, aren’t they great? The more the merrier!
When your kitten is brought into their new home it is essential that they are introduced to their litter box! A lot of owners are not aware that the golden rule for litter boxes is to have one more litter box than the number of cats in a household. Therefore, if your kitten is a lone ranger than a minimum of two litter boxes is recommended. Easy accessibility and a litter box on each level in a house would be ideal for your kitten. Some cats even like to use one litter box for urinating and one for defecating so in this case more litter boxes may be needed.
Cats can be very picky with their litter boxes so if your kitten isn’t using their litter box you may want to change it up. You could try switching to another brand of litter, taking the tops off of the box (if they have a roof), provide boxes with lower sides or move the box to a quieter area. Avoid having the litter box where your kitten will be eating and drinking as this can be very unappealing for some cats. If you are going to be moving the litter box location, try to move it slowly over the course of a few days as a dramatic move can be stressful for cats! Accidents happen! However, if elimination outside of the litter box continues please contact our clinic as there may be a medical condition associated with this behaviour.
A clean litter box will also minimize elimination problems. If you scoop out your kittens litter box daily they will thank you for it! Cats generally prefer fine litter that is un-scented. Washing the litter boxes with warm water and mild dish soap is recommended as certain disinfectants and or bleach can be toxic to cats!
We want to make sure that your kitten has the purrrfect start to its new life! It can be overwhelming and stressful for your little furry friend as he or she takes on this new adventure. Your kitten will be learning new things everyday about his or her home and family. By preparing your home (aka “kitty proofing”) and understanding how to welcome your kitten will make their first few days and or weeks with you much easier and more enjoyable for not only you and your family but for your new furry family member.