Spending some time preparing for your new kittens' first night at home can help them feel as safe and secure as possible. From setting up a safe space, to making sure they have some familiar food and litter, we’ve rounded up some top tips to make that first night a little easier for everyone.
If you haven’t had a kitten before it can be hard to know what to expect as they settle into their new home. Setting aside some time over the first 24 hours to prioritise making your kitten feel as safe and secure will keep this transition as stress-free as possible.
Allow your kitten to explore their safe space
Before your new kitten arrives, you should already have set up a safe and comfortable space for them to spend their first few days. When you bring your kitten home for the first time, place their carrier in this room, and leave the carrier door open.
Your kitten will venture out of the carrier when they’re ready. Depending on their confidence levels, they may come up to you for a cuddle, or go and hide under the sofa or in another small and dark place. Allow your kitten the freedom to explore at their own pace. There’s a lot of new sights, sounds and smells for them to get used to.
Shut the door to the room to secure the area and allow your kitten some time to quietly get used to their new surroundings, making sure you’ve removed anything that could be dangerous to your kitten such as toxic plants or choking hazards. Make sure your kitten always has access to fresh water, some food and their litter tray.
Keep things familiar
Your kitten’s whole world has changed, but there are a few things you can do to retain some familiarity for them. If possible, use the same food and litter brands as your kitten’s breeder did. This can reduce the chances of gastrointestinal upsets and accidents.
You may also be able to request a blanket from your kitten’s old bed. The familiar scent can help offer a comforting place to curl up with a familiar, soothing scent.
Give your kitten some space
While your family and friends will all be keen to spend time with your new pet, this can be a little overwhelming for your kitten! A better approach is to limit visitors for at least the first 24 hours. Instead, allow each family member to spend some one-on-one time with your kitten as you get to know each other.
After your kitten's first night, you can start to introduce friends and pets. But remember to be led by your kitten’s reactions. If they seem a little more timid than outgoing, you might want to take things at a slower pace.
Time to explore
After the first six hours or so, your kitten may be ready to explore other parts of the house. Make sure all windows and doors are securely closed and any hazards are stowed away from curious paws before allowing your kitten to take a walk around the house. If they start scratching the floor, take them back to their litter tray! At night time, bring your kitten back to their allocated room.
If you have dogs, it’s best to keep them in a separate part of the house for the first 24 hours. You can then start to slowly introduce them to your kitten.
What to do if your kitten is crying at night
As you settle your kitten down for the night, remember this is probably the first time they’ve slept alone. Leaving their mother cat and littermates is a big change for your new kitten, so it’s almost inevitable that you’ll hear your new kitten crying at night. While it might be tempting to bring your kitten into your bedroom, this can be a hard habit to break once your kitten gets older!
A good idea is to help your kitten feel safe and secure by placing a hot water bottle in their bed, covered with a blanket. Just make sure to use hot, not boiling, water.
Cats tend to work on a ‘hunt, eat, groom, sleep’ cycle so before you go to bed, spend some time playing with your kitten then giving them a small snack. They’ll then be more likely to groom themselves before settling down for a nap.
Some kittens may respond well to white noise playing in the background. You can even get white noise using soothing, purring sounds! After the first night, your kitten will quickly become used to sleeping in their own cosy bed.
While every kitten is different, our tips for the first night should help your new friend feel at home in no time. In addition to preparing your home for your new kitten, make sure you’ve covered everything else on our Kitten Checklist, too.