Bringing home a kitten: the first 24 hours
Whether you are an experienced cat owner or it’s your first time adopting a kitten, it’s vital to properly prepare for the arrival of your new kitty to make it as stress-free as possible for the both of you.
Petplan takes a look at your kitten’s first 24 hours in their new home and offers some advice on how to make settling in as easy as possible.
Set up a safe room for your kitten
Before collecting your kitten for the first time, be sure to choose a room, preferably within a quiet area of the house where they can be kept during the first few weeks as they adjust to their surroundings. This will also help with toilet training and avoid ‘accidents’ within the house.
The room should be equipped with:
- A enclosed bed or cardboard box lined with bedding for your kitten to hide away if they become scared
- Litter tray – place in opposite corner away from food/water bowls and the bed
- Food and water
- A scratching post
Ensure any breakable items and poisonous plants are removed from table tops and shelves, and cupboards/windows are securely fastened.
Get the right cat insurance in place
Kittens can sometimes suffer from gastrointestinal upsets as they settle into their new surroundings, so it’s important to find out if your kitten is coming with 4 weeks free pet insurance from the breeder or rehoming centre or whether you need to set up cover for them.
Remember not all cat insurance is the same so look for a Lifetime policy that covers any ongoing conditions that may arise. Once you have the right insurance in place to cover the cost of any unexpected veterinary fees you can concentrate on getting to know your new kitty!
Arriving home with your new kitten
When you arrive home with your kitten, place their carrier down in the allocated room and open the door. Allow them to venture out when they are ready.
For the first few hours give them as much freedom as they need to explore their new surroundings, but whilst still keeping them confined within the room. This will allow them to settle into their new surroundings and become accustomed to new sights, sounds and smells with the room being recognised as a place of refuge, should they need it.
You can allow your kitten to venture around the rest of the house when they seem comfortable enough. Take them back to the litter tray after play, meals or if they start scratching the floor.
Don’t worry if your kitten hides out under sofas or beds for a little while, this is perfectly natural. Allow them the freedom to explore and they will come out in their own time.
Keep things familiar
If possible, when you collect your kitten – ask if you can take a blanket which smells of your kitten and their surroundings to bridge the gap between their old and new home. Putting this into their new bed will help them feel more relaxed and secure.
Giving your kitten the same food they were fed previously will help them adjust and should encourage them to eat, and you should also change their water regularly (at least once a day).
Introducing your kitten to people
As much as you’ll want to cuddle your new kitten and show them off to everyone, give them time to get used to you and their new surroundings first. Gradually, sit on the floor with them and allow them to approach you.
Speak gently to them and eventually they will begin to sniff around and become used to your scent. Only reach out to them when you are sure they are relaxed in their new environment.
If you have young children, ensure they are calm around the kitten and only allow them to stroke or hold them after they are settled – but still let your kitten make the first move to avoid scaring them.
Try to hold off on inviting lots of people to meet your kitten for at least the first few days. They will need time to become accustomed to their new surroundings before introducing them to new people and new scents.
Do you have a new kitten? Do you have any advice for anyone preparing to bring their kitten home? Let us know in the comments below…