Bringing home a new kitten can be an exciting experience! Here are some tips to make the transition smooth:
Prepare a safe and comfortable space for your kitten to explore and rest in.
A small kitten can get overwhelmed pretty easily, so introduce her to just one room at a time. Start by bringing her carrier to a small, enclosed, quiet room with a litter box, food and water bowls, toys, and a bed. She may hide in her carrier for a while at first, and that's perfectly normal. Give her a little time to calm down before she steps out into the wide, open space.
Keep her in the small room and play with her frequently until she feels more comfortable and confident. Slowly expand her access, one room at a time. Remember to cat-proof your home, keeping anything that could be harmful out of reach.
Stock up on food, water, litter, toys, and scratching posts.
Make sure you have all supplies before bringing your kitten home so that when she comes home you can focus on her! Before you bring her home, ask what food she has been eating and what litter she has been using. If you wish to change either of these once you bring her home, you should transition slowly.
Some other items you may want to think about:
- Cat carrier - In order to bring your new cat or kitten home safely, you need a cat carrier. If you’re adopting a kitten, the shelter may have cardboard carriers or one you can borrow and return. But to take kitty to their vet visits and if you’re ever going to travel with your cat, a carrier is a must.
A litter box for each cat (and a place to put it)
When your new kitten or cat arrives home, you’ll need to show them where they should do their business. Remember: you need one litter box for each cat in your household, and ideally an extra one. You can have different types of litter boxes as available options. Designer Pet Products has a variety of litter boxes that keep the litter pan accessible to your cats and gives them a safe space, but also keeps it out of sight for you!
Cat food and water dishes
Your kitten will need designated food and water dishes when you bring her home. Go with a wider, shallower dish when possible because some kitties have sensitive whiskers that hurt when they try to push their face into narrower openings to eat or drink.
Scratchers and Toys
You also want to encourage your kitten to engage in play that taps into her instincts. This will help her feel more confident and, as an added bonus, help her stay out of trouble. When kittens (or even adult cats) have too much energy or stress, they tend to express it through destructive actions like spraying or scratching furniture.
Set up scratching posts, so she has appropriate locations to scratch and stretch her claws. Get a cat tree to cater to your kitten's instinct to climb.
Introduce your kitten to family members and other pets slowly and with supervision.
Keep your kitten in a separate room and regularly bring food, refresh the water and change the litter box. If you spot the kitty coming out to explore, spend a little more time in there. Speak softly and handle your kitten gently if they seem interested. The rest of your human family can slowly do the same
Once your kitten seems curious and confident, it’s time to let kitty out of their room— but just for a while. Put other pets in a different room while you let the kitten explore your house.
Now it’s time for all your pets to meet! Expect some defensive behavior from your older pets, including fluffed-up tails, hissing and growling. Always supervise your pets until you’re absolutely sure the big ones will play nicely with the little one.
With that milestone reached, it’s time for the finishing touch: feeding the kitten in the same area as your other pets.
Schedule a vet visit to ensure your kitten is healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations.
All newly adopted cats should be brought to a veterinarian within a couple weeks of adoption for a full physical examination even if they are older and already up to date with their vaccinations. Kittens will need to have at least a few visits. They will get vaccines at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age.
Give your kitten plenty of love and attention, but also allow them time to adjust to their new surroundings.
This is an exciting time for you and your new kitten! Enjoy spending time with your new family member and helping her adjust will be rewarding for both of you!