As with any infant, whether human or feline, they’re always dependent the first few years of their life as they learn the ropes on how to be independent and fend for themselves. With a kitten, it’s no different and you’ll need to provide a safe and friendly environment for them to experiment and grow into a self-sufficient cat.
Read on for some tips on how to provide a sense of security for your new kitten the first few years it’s with you:
Time solves everything
As a new kitten, the ideal age of adoption for most is 10 to 12 weeks but sometimes you may end up adopting a kitten as young as 6 weeks. In either case, be aware that these first few months are very stressful for kittens especially without their mother nearby. They will be fearful and shy.
It’s important to handle them with extra care during this period, ease them into everything whether it’s a new bath or a new sleeping pad. Let the kitten explore and take its time. As a pet owner, patience is key at this stage.
Make sure you’ve taken care of the basics
As a young kitten, everything is new and scary. With their mother and siblings, this stressful phase in their lives is eased but after adoption this responsibility of calming them and taking care of what they can’t by themselves falls on you.
It’s important you take care of the basics to make them feel comfortable in their new environment. Whether it’s a new cat bed, or ensuring the kitten has blankets available when it gets cold. Be prepared in advance with such things. Their first few years will also require a more tailored special diet consisting of extra protein and calories. Head to the nearest pet store and stock up on kitten-formulated foods.
Litter training is another area you’ll have to get going right away. After each meal, place your kitten in the box and reward him/her when they’ve used it correctly. Snag a scratching post as well so your kitten isn’t sharpening its claws on your furniture.
Kitten-proof your home
In addition to taking care of the basics, the other important aspect you’ll need to be aware of and be prepared for before your kitten arrives home is ensuring it’s kitten proofed.
Be sure to bundle any electrical cords and place them out of rich from your kitten as they may chew on it. If there are small items lying around, pack them away to prevent your kitten from accidentally swallowing it. Remove any poisonous plants or pest traps that your kitten may end of ingesting out of curiosity. Finally, keep the toilet seat lid closed and any cabinets or lids to washers and dryers.
Make sure playtime is safe
A kitten-proofed home is great but be sure to also ensure playtime is safe as well. Buy toys that are age-appropriate and designed for kittens. They should have no loose parts or any small appendages that your kitten may break off and swallow. Our recommendation is small stuffed animals that are hazardous chemical free are a good pick.
Book the first check-up
As your kitten arrives home for the first time, it’s important to schedule their first check-up with a vet in a few days. This check-up is both for the vet to see how your kitten is doing and if there any health concerns you should be aware of, but also so that you as a pet owner can have any questions answered.
It’s also important to consider having your kitten spayed or neuters at around 8 weeks of age, and this is an important topic to discuss early on with your vet to see when is the best option.
Introduce friends and family gently
New environment, things, and people can be very overwhelming for a kitten. Always allow for them to slowly adjust to each new stimulant one by one. Start by having them adjust to your new home and getting comfortable with their new bed, litterbox, and meals. After this, introduce each family member one by one, with extra attention to children as they may handle the kitten a little too harshly.
Prepare your other pets for a new family member
Once your family members have met their new kitten, the next step is to introduce your other pets if you have any. With older cats already in the house, help ease anxiety by paying extra attention to them once your new kitten is home as even without meeting the new kitten, your older cats can smell its scent and get anxious.
If you’ve got a dog, introduce your pupper gently with a leash and slowly to assess if it’s being aggressive or friendly. Never leave your dog alone with your kitten for the first few months until you’re confident they’ve adjusted to each other and are friendly.
Remember, with each pet that meets your new kitten. If they are friendly, then reward them for their new behavior.
Acclimatize them to their new home, room by room
Once your kitten has adjusted to its new space in the home, you can start introducing him/her to the other rooms in your household. Be sure each of these rooms are kitten-proof and it’s best to have some level of control over where your kitten explores in each room so they don’t get scared and hide away under the bed out of reach.
Voila! With these easy tips, you’ll be well-prepared for your new kitten and embark on this exciting journey of being a pet owner and having a new family member! It’s a never-ending journey with lots more to learn so what we’ve shared is just the tip of the iceberg. Be sure to keep reading up on how to care for your kitten as it grows into a full-fledged cat and its needs change.