Bringing a new kitten, or even an adult cat home is stressful to all parties involved, and, unfortunately, it is not possible to eliminate it. It’ s too high.
In our previous article we talked about choosing the stuff your new kitten will need. Now, we want to teach you how to introduce a kitten to his new home, so the stress involved is minimized as much as possible.
At this point, we will not address specific situations, like introducing a kitten to a dog, or a resident cat. Advises below are suitable for all cases, either you bring a cat to an empty house, or to a one already inhabited by other pets. However, if you have a dog, or a cat, additional training of both sides will be required, and we will talk about those in the future of our series for beginner cat owners.
Bring something familiar when a kitten is coming to his new home
First thing to do is to get something from your cat’s previous home. Something to remind him of his home. Good breeders usually know this and give a blanket, a shirt or a toy along with the kitten to his new owners.
Also, keeping the same type and brand of food, at least initially, is highly recommended. Same applies to feeding schedule, which benefits both stress level minimization, and the stomach wellbeing, as well. Talk to the breeders (or staff at the shelter) at what time do they feed the kitten, and try to stick with it for, at least few weeks. Later you may gradually shift it to your desired feeding times.
Also, you may plug a cat pheromone diffuser, which will help your kitten to feel calm and secure. Those are not drugs, just a synthetic derivative of a substance cats use for “positive” marking. You may read more about feline pheromones in this article.
Introduce your kitten to his new home gradually
Next, is to create a separate room for the new kitten. It does not matter if there are pets in your home, or not, you should do it. If you have pets, initially it helps to prevent the new kitten from physically contacting other pets, if you have any. But more important, it helps to introduce a kitten to his new home gradually.
We already mentioned, coming to a new home is a huge stress to your kitten, and, keeping his new experiences (that is, rooms and things to see) to a minimum, will reduce it significantly.
Place everything your new cat will need in this room, including food and water bowls, litter tray, bed, scratching post and maybe even a cat tree or something else that will allow your cat to sit on an elevation.
For this purposes, you should choose a room that is not a passage to other rooms, and one with doors that can be closed.
How much attention should the new kitten get?
When your kitten is settled up, try not to push your attention on him, and instruct other family members not to distract the kitten unnecessarily.
However, it does not mean you have to leave the kitten alone. Hi still need your presence, but in a nun pushy way. How much of it, depends on every case, and it’ s all about finding the perfect amount of attention in your specific situation.
Like, if the new kitten is willing to play, encourage him by dragging a toy along the floor. If the kitten is slightly cautious when you are around, you may also try to gain his confidence by inviting (not pushing) him to a play, but from a greater distance, acting like if you are playing with the toy yourself. However, if the kitten is extremely afraid, it may be as well leaving him totally alone, or sitting in the same room, and doing something unrelated, like reading a newspaper, for instance.
Introducing the kitten to the rest of the house.
When your kitten feels comfortable in his new environment, you might start letting him in the rest of the house. If he was socialized properly by the breeder, and there are no other pets in your household, time to keep the kitten in this dedicated room may be as short as one or few days.
Open the door to the next room, and allow the kitten come out, if he wants. Most likely he will, however, you may encourage him by a toy, as well. Kittens love playing, and, in nature, kitten usually learn to explore their environment during playing with other kittens.
If you did carry out the first room introduction properly, the kitten will move on rapidly, and real soon will feel confident in the whole house. However, some challenges may be present if the kitten is afraid of you or other family members.
This article is a part of a series intended for beginner cat owners.