Bringing home a new kitten is always thrilling. Having a little bundle of purring fur sounds just purrfect, doesn’t it? Although it may sound exciting, there are many things to consider before you bring home a kitten, whether it’s your first kitten or fifth! Kittens will depend on you entirely to help with the transition of leaving the shelter or their cat mom’s side. It is important to realize that you need the cooperation and patience of everyone at home to make sure that the kitten is safe, happy and well adjusted to the new surroundings.
Patience and planning are key to making the transition a success. You will need to talk to your family about making your home ‘kitten proof’ and if there are children in the home, make sure they understand how to handle a kitten and what they must and must not do.
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How Young Is Too Young?
You must always pay attention to the age of the kitten that you are planning to bring home. It is recommended that kittens be at least 10 -12 weeks before being adopted. Kittens need time to spend with their mother in order to learn skills such as getting along with siblings, getting used to human contact etc. If a kitten is too young, they will be stressed from being taken away from the family too soon. They will develop fearfulness of people and end up hiding or running away.
Kitten Care 101
Kittens grow at an alarming rate, therefore, they need specific nutrition. When looking for kitten food, focus on high-quality food that has extra protein, fatty acids and enough calories to aid in muscle development and overall health. Special kitten food should be given until your kitten is around a year old. Consult your veterinarian if your kitten develops any food intolerance or allergies.
Your new kitten needs to feel safe and secure since they are now away from their mother. Provide them with a soft blanket or pet bed and keep it in a quiet place, creating a peaceful sanctuary for them.
When it comes to litter training, start by putting the litter box in a corner or a quiet place. Once your kitten is up from napping or when she is done her meal time, gently place her in the box. Cats will instinctively bury their waste, however, your new kitten might need a little help. If she doesn’t dig, gently use one paw and simulate digging. Never punish, always be gentle and keep encouraging her until she gets it.
Just like teaching a baby or a toddler about acceptable behavior, you would need to guide your kitten. You can discourage clawing furniture by providing her with a carpeted scratching post. Always speak in a kind and gentle voice and encourage good behavior.
Introducing the Family
It is important that everyone in the family understands how to handle a new kitten. For the first few days, limit handling and let your kitten adjust to the new surroundings. Set up the supplies in a quiet room where the kitten can feel safe until she gets used to being in the new home. Let the kitten come to you first. If there are kids in the household, do not let children under five handle the kitten. Older children need to be taught how to hold a kitten carefully, with adult supervision.
Ensure that kids know never to grab a kitten by the tail, ears or scruff. Teach them to gently pat the head and back and always supervise their interactions with the kitten.
Safety and Health
Safety is of utmost importance when it comes to your new kitten. Secure anything that they can accidentally get tangled or choked with. Electric cords, phone lines, drapery cords, rubber bands, jewelry are all items that can pose a risk. Bundle them up and keep them away from the kitten’s reach. Also, make sure to put away any home cleaning and body care products in a closed cupboard and remove any poisonous plants from your home. Don’t forget to keep the toilet lid down and keep the washer and dryer closed at all times!
Before you bring a new kitten into your home, make sure that your resident pets have been checked by your vet. Introductions should always be gradual and supervised. If you have a dog, make sure the dog is leashed before introducing the new kitten. Never leave the dog alone with the kitten. Always supervise and reward both pets for good behavior.
Playtime is important for all cats, especially for kittens. Choose toys carefully, avoiding anything with small parts, buttons, bells etc. Kittens will swallow tiny objects and even things like string and yarn can be dangerous if ingested. Provide soft toys or fuzzy mice that will provide your kitten hours of fun. Remember to always supervise playtime.
Getting your kitten to the vet within a few days of their arrival is crucial. Ear mites, fleas, worms could sometimes be found in kittens. If you got your kitten from a shelter, they may already have had their vaccines. It is important to take any documentation you got from the shelter to the vet to make sure your kitten is up to date on all the shots required. Your vet will also determine when the kitten can be spayed or neutered depending on the age.
Spend as much time as you can with your kitten! Love and attention are what they need the most!
In conclusion, bringing a kitten into your requires a well thought out plan. You need to make sure you have the time to give them lots of attention and show them how to grow into independent cats. Kittens are full of energy, therefore, they will be very active.
Provide them with a surrounding that will aid in their curiosity and help them learn skills. Safety is of utmost importance, so make sure there isn’t anything laying about that could pose a risk to them. Keep up with annual checkups and vaccines and watch for any changes in their eating habits or behaviour. With time, patience and a lot of love, the kitten will blossom into a confident adult cat, bringing a lifetime of love and joy into your home.